Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Orchidarium Update

It is amazing how one's collection grows to fill the available space.  My new orchidarium is pretty full, so full in fact, that I had to make some additional room for new plants.  I did that by hanging some wire mesh long the top of the sides of the case as can be seen in the first photo.  I had made this possible when I built the case, by making sure that the wood border at the top of the case extended down a short way into the growing area.  Since this is right below the lights, I've hung some plants there that need very high light,mostly New Guinea Dendrobiums.

Triotosiphon bangii 'John H' CBR/AOS

Masdevallia bangii is one of the smallest Masdevallias.  The plant shown is growing in a pot only 3-4 cm in diameter.  The tiny flowers are only millimeters in size and the plant only a few cm tall.  It is native to Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.  Actually, the plant is no longer classified as a Masdevallia, but as Triotosiphon bangii.  This particular plant was awarded as a Masdevallia, however, and given a Certificate of Botanical Recognition by the American Orchid Society.  It is supposed to be tolerant of a range of temperatures, but I have found it a bit finicky, dropping leaves when not happy.  I keep it cool and moist.

Masdevallia welischii 'Rip Hoff' AM/AOS

Masdevallia welischii is a small-flowered but very brightly colored pleurothallid.  The plant is about 20 cm tall and the flowers spikes a bit over 30 cm, with 5 cm flowers that are somewhat cupped.  This particular clone, name 'Rip Hoff' has been awarded by the American Orchid Society and is especially brightly colored.  The species is from Peru.

Masdevallia Ruby Slippers

Masdevallia Ruby Slippers is a hybrid of two species, coccinea and calura.  Both plant size and flowers seem more influenced by Masdevallia calura, since the plant is not large and flowers colored like calura, the plant being 6-8 cm tall and the flower spikes about 20 cm.

Acianthera bragae

This tiny orchid plant, also found under the names Acianthera sarracenia and Pleurothallis sarracenia, with its strange, slug-like flowers is from Brazil.  Its flowers are between a half and an inch long (1.5-2 cm) and the succulent leaves somewhat longer.  Actually the plant is named not for a slug, but for a genus of Pitcher Plants, called Sarracenia, which they also resemble.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Masdevallia decumana

Masdevallia decumana is a species from Ecuador only discovered in the early 1980's.  It is one of the smaller species of Masdevallia and is very floriferous.  My plants bloom several times a year with occasional flowers produced between times.

The species name, decumana, means "large flowered" an apt description of the size of the flowers in relations to the plant.  The plant itself is only about 4 cm tall and the flowers are at least that large when measured from the tips of the tails: a very desirable species.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Porroglossum teaguei

In bloom now and almost always in bloom is another miniature orchid, Porroglossum teaguei.  This small plant is another in the Pleurothallid group of orchids, a group of mostly smaller species from Central and South America, many of them from high altitudes.

Porroglossum teaguei, described for the first time in 1980, is from Ecuador and is named after Walter Teague, its discoverer.  The plant is about 4 inches tall and the flowers about 1.5 inches, blooming successively on 7 inch inflorescences.  The flowers are translucent and have very long "tails."

The Porroglossums are very interesting for their mobile lip, which is on a kind of hinge and swings up when touched, trapping small insects against the column and thus pollinating the flowers.  The mechanism seems to work repeatedly as long as the flower is not pollinated and the lip, after springing up stays in that position from a few minutes to an hour.

The following photos show: (1) a close-up of the flower; (2) the flower with the lip in the ordinary position; (3) a flower with the lip "sprung;"; and (4) a single flower with the plant in the background (this flower happened to open upside down, but this has no effect on the mechanism that springs the lip).

Macroclinium aurorae

This tiny orchid is from Peru and is named for a Peruvian orchid enthusiast, Mrs. Aurora Bennett.  The plant is a small fan of thickened leaves less than 3/4 inch tall with a pendant spike of flowers which are each nearly 3/4 inch tall.  The flowers, as can be seen in the photos, form a kind of spherical starburst.  It related to Oncidium.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dendrobium pentapterum

Dendrobium pentapterum is a small orchid species from Papua New Guinea, belonging to the section Oxyglossum, which contains a large number of miniature Dendrobiums with very large, very beautiful, and very long-lasting flowers.

This species ranges in size from 10-15 cm with narrow pseudobulbs and thin, grass-like leaves.  The flowers are about 3 cm in size, last for months and the plant is seldom out of bloom.  I find it very easy to grow alongside Masdevallias and other Pleurothallids.

It grows as a much more compact plant under higher light and seems to bloom more prolifically as well, producing three or four flowers per growth.  This plant was at one time awarded a Certificate of Cultural Merit by the American Orchid Society.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lepanthes orion

The plant is one of the largest of the genus Lepanthes.  Its growths are around 45 cm tall and the individual leaves about 8 cm long.  the name orion refers to a mythical giant, but the reference is not to the size of the plant but of the flowers, which are quite large for a Lepanthes, about 2 cm, though rather small in relation to the leaves.  The flowers are very intricate and colorful.

Each leaf continues to produces flower spikes and flowers over a very long period of time, so that the plant is almost always in bloom.  It is native to Ecuador and Colombia and requires cool and moist conditions not unlike its native habitat. Given these it is easy to grow and flower.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Masdevallia constricta

This fabulous orchid species is from Ecuador and Peru.  It has flowers that are as big as the plant and beautifully colored.  The name, constricta, refers to the tubular part of the flower which is constricted in the middle.  The plant is three to four inches tall and the flowers about three inches from top to tip of the tails.  It is a prolific bloomer and on close inspection it is obvious that the interior of the flowers are covered with tiny hairs or glands.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Schoenorchis fragrans

This tiny orchid species is an immediate favorite of everyone who sees it.  The plant itself looks like a miniature Vanda, with alternating strap-shaped leaves.  The individual flowers are less than 1cm, but it produces numerous (as many as 25) very colorful flowers on each flower spike and often produces many spikes.

The species comes from India, Myanmar, Thailand and China.  It is supposed to be warm-growing, but I grow it with Masdevallias and other cool-growing plants, giving it as much light as I can, and it grows and flowers well for me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Trichoceros antennifer

I purchased this plant as an unidentified species from Peru.  The consensus seems to be that it is Trichoceros antennifer.  All the Trichoceros species are insect mimics, most of them mimicking some kind of fly.

This plant produces very hard 2 cm pseudobulbs with a tiny leaf at the top.  The long flower spike, about 30 cm, rises from the base of the pseudobulbs and produces its flower in succession, so that usually no more than one is open at the same time.

The flowers are non-resupinate, that is, they hold their lip uppermost, unlike most orchids which twist their flowers around before opening so that the lip points down.  The picture of the flower that I've posted,  therefore, is not upside down.

Brassavola nodosa 'Mickey Mouse'

Brassavola nodosa 'Mickey Mouse' is a miniature version of a species that is normally much larger.  Brassavola nodosa ordinarily has terete (pencil-like) growths that are around 15 cm long and has flowers about 9 cm in size.  This clone is less than half that size.

Brassavola nodosa ranges across Mexico and Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America.  It is very fragrant at night , hence the nickname, "Lady of the Night."  It is often used in hybridizing and imparts both its spidery shape and good color to its offspring.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Masdevallia angulifera var. flava

This small orchid species is the yellow variety of a flower that is more commonly a rusty red color. It is from the cloud forests of Colombia and is from the group of Masdevallias classified as Saltatrices. The flowers are about one inch tall and the plant about three to four inches tall. The name angulifera refers to the sharply angled ends of the sepals.

Zootrophion vulturiceps

This orchid species is from Costa Rica and, like all the Zootrophions, only opens a small window in the side of the flower for the pollinating insect.

This particular species is name for the "vulture-headed" appearance of the flowers.  The plant is about 15 cm tall and the flowers about 3 cm in size.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Masdevallia Falcon's Gold

This small Masdevallia is a hybrid of Masdevallia Falcon's Sunrise and Masdevallia glandulosa, a purple species whose color, very obviously, is recessive.  The flowers are large and are held well above the foliage.