Friday, April 29, 2011

Dendrobium malvicolor

Dendrobium malvicolor is another delightful miniature orchid.  It is native to Sumatra and is reputed to be very tolerant of different growing conditions.  I grow it cool but it is supposed to tolerate warm temperatures as well.  It is best grown mounted and is supposed to have a dry rest in the winter.

The growths are about 5 cm long and are thin and wiry at the base, thickened towards the top rather like a club.  It flowers in late winter or spring after dropping its leaves and the flowers come in clusters of three to five.  They appear to be white but actually have a pinkish blush especially at the base of the flowers.

The tip of the column is also bright purple, adding interest to the flowers.  Its name, malvicolor, refers to the supposed resemblance between the color of its flowers and those of the mallow plant.  It belongs to the section Pedilonum and has long-lasting flowers, that have a sparkling, crystalline texture, eviden especially in the last photo.

Schoenorchis seidenfadenii

Schoenorchis seidenfadenii is tiny but charming orchid related to the huge Vandas.  It grows in a little fan of thick fleshy leaves and produces an abundance of tiny pinkish flowers in the spring.  The individual flowers are less than 1 cm in size but are born on densely flowered sprays.  It is native to Thailand and Vietnam and is best grown mounted.  It is supposed to be warm growing, but I have it with my cool growing plants where it does very well, growing and blooming reliably.

Masdevallia filaria

For some reason I am especially attracted to the flowers of the Saltatrices group of Masdevallias, perhaps because their flowers are so odd.  The flowers in this group are all tubular, many with a kind of bulging "belly": at the base of the flower.  The flowers often are bug-like or slug-like.

Masdevallia ventricularia is usually much more bright colored.  This is a very pale form, but its 7 cm flowers, large for the size of the plant, have the typical tubular shape and "belly" of the group.  It is from Colombia and Ecuador and is a small plant of about 10 cm.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Masdevallia welischii 'Rip Hoff'

Love that clonal name.  Whoever used it had a since of humor - maybe paid too much for the plant.  Hard to imagine that, though, since this is a spectacular Masdevallia species from Peru.  It has 15 cm narrow but thick channeled leaves that take a bit more light than some plants in the genus.  The flower spikes are 35 cm and stand well above the plant.  The flowers are 7 cm from tip to tip, somewhat small for the size of the plant, but remarkable for their color and glandular hairs.  Unlike other Masdevallias with these "hairs," however, these flower have them mainly on the dorsal sepal, which appears to be much darker than the rest of the flower as a result.  The striking orange and red flowers are also darker on the exterior than the interior.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Masdevallia datura

One of my favorite Masdevallias, this species from Ecuador has huge flowers on a small plant.  The plant is about 12 cm tall, but the flowers are nearly the same size from the back of the flower to the tip of the tails, and even larger, 15 cm, from tip to tip.  The name, datura, refers to the flowers' resemblance to those of the Moonflower, Datura inoxia, which they do indeed resemble both in color and form.  The plant flowers primarily in the spring, and the flowers have a faint, lily-like fragrance.