Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lepanthes manabina

This species, synonymous with Lepanthes mastodon, is from the cloud forests of Ecuador and Colombia, and is in many ways a very unusual species.  It is pendant and has two different kinds of leaves.  The larger, flowering leaves are on stems 10 cm or more in length, the leaves themselves a bit longer than 5 cm.  These leaves are covered with coarse hairs on the upper surface and bear a succession of unusually shaped and colored flowers on ever lengthening thread-like inflorescences.  The other leaves are smaller, only about 3 cm, and are borne on stems only 3-4 cm long.  These leaves do not have the coarse hairs of the blooming leaves.

Each new growth has the typical sheathes of the genus Lepanthes.  All the leaves are a dark reddish-green and are very attractive in their own right, but the flowers are the real attraction.  They are a little over 1.5 cm tall and are an attractive reddish mahogany color with touches of yellow, red and green.  The flowers not only bloom successively on their spikes, but each leaf will continue to produce new spikes so that each may have several flowers open and so that the plant is never out of flower.  The name manabina refers to a western Ecuadorian state where this plant is found.

Dendrobium masarangense var. masarangense

The name of this tiny species is bigger than the plant or the flowers.  The plant is a tiny cluster of thin pseudobulbs and needle-like leaves about 7 cm tall and the flowers are about 1.5 cm, growing in pairs and showing themselves just above the pseudo-bulbs.

The plant is from New Guinea and is another one of the Oxyglossum Dendrobiums.  It is a lowland species and somewhat warmer growing than many of the others.  It varies some in color from white to pale yellow, green, or orange, the flowers in every case being nearly translucent.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lepanthes ingridiana

This is one of my favorite Lepanthes with its colorful and unusual flowers.  It is also one of the larger plants in the genus.  The plant itself is about 15 cm tall, though my plant seems to get taller with each new growth.  It bears a single 5 cm leaf on an upright stem with the typical bracts of a Lepanthes.  The plants are native to Ecuador and comes from higher elevations.

The bright yellow spidery flowers are huge for the size of the plant.  Fully extended they would be around 7 cm long, but they tend to hang in a kind of half-circle under the leaves.  The flowers appear successively with a new bud forming as the previous flower opens.  The plant is almost always in flower, therefore, with each new growth adding its succession of flowers to those already blooming.

Dendrobium sulphureum var. sulphureum

This is another miniature Dendrobium from section Oxyglossum and from New Guinea.  My plant is about 6 cm tall and produces 3-4 cm flowers.  As with all the flowers in this section they are very long-lasting and the plant seems to be always in bloom.  I grow it mounted and give it as much light as I possibly can, keeping it just inches below the HO lights in the orchidarium in which it grows.

Scaphosepalum anchoriferum

Scaphosepalum is a genus related to Masdevallia and Pleurothallis and belonging, therefore to the Pleurothallid alliance. All the species in the genus, a total of about 15, have very unusual flowers. This species comes from Costa Rica and Panama. It is around 8 cm tall, with pendant spikes about 5 cm long that bloom repeatedly, one flower at a time. The flowers themselves are 1 cm long and very intricate and highly colored. The plant likes cool and moist conditions and because it spikes are pendant needs to be mounted or grown in a small mesh basket.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trisetella klingeri

I purchased this plant as Trisetella sororia, which it most definitely is not.  I believe instead that it is Trisetella klingeri, from Ecuador.  The plant is tiny, like all Trisetellas, only about 3-4 cm tall, and the flowers, born on 6 cm spikes are about 1 cm in size.  This plant was at one time classified as a Masdevallia, but was separated into its own genus in the 1980's.  It is named after an American orchidist.

Platystele ovatilabia

This tiny species is native to Mexico and all of Central America.  Very widespread, it is also tolerant of different temperatures, though it needs good humidity.  The plant it self is about 3 cm tall and grows as a mat of narrow leaves.  The flower spikes, which are about the same length as the leaves, carry 4-5 flowers at a time and continue to bloom for a lengthy period.

Trisetella dressleri

Trisetella is a small genus of tiny orchids that used to be classified as Masdevallias, and the resemblance is obvious.  Trisetella dressleri is from Panama and is named after an American botanist, Robert Dressler.

The plant is only 3 cm tall and the flowers about 1 cm in size.  The plant will do well either in a small pot or mounted, but needs cool temperatures since it is from the high cloud forests.

Acronia stricta

Acronia stricta, formerly Pleurothallis stricta is from Colombia and Ecuador and is a cool-growing miniature orchid.  The plant is about 15 cm tall, around 22 cm with the flower spikes.  The individual flowers are very nearly 2 cm tall.

The plan seems to have no regular bloom season but blooms on each new growth and does so from the axil of the leaf and stem on upright, wiry spikes that carry about 10 flowers.  It is easy to grow and bloom, a good plant for beginners who are interested in this sort of thing.

Neocogniauxia monophylla

This exquisite species is from Jamaica. It belongs to a genus that includes only one other species. The plant is about 12 cm tall with inflorescences about 9 cm that carry a single 4 cm tall flower. The plant likes cool temperatures, good air movement and high humidity.

Interestingly, this genus has recently been moved from the Cattleya alliance to the Pleurothallid alliance, a move I and others find difficult to accept, though I believe the change was made on the basis of DNA analysis. Perhaps in switching it a more pronounceable name could have been given it.

Specklinia montezumae

This plant has recently been reclassified as part of a reworking of the massive genus, Pleurothallis.  While I agree that the genus Pleurothallis, to which it originally belonged, was far too large and included too many dissimilar plants, I have trouble remembering all the new names.  By any name, however, this is a lovely little plant.

This orchid is native to Costa Rica and is tolerant of a wide range of temperatures.  The plant is 12 cm tall and the flowers which hide down at the base of the leaves are a little over 1 cm long.  The plant seems to bloom several times a year for me.  I have it growing in a specially thrown clay pot with extra drainage and in live sphagnum moss.

Lepanthes ophioglossa

Lepanthes ophioglossa is a miniature orchid from Ecuador.  The plant grows to about 4 cm tall and the flowers are over 1 cm in size, very large proportionally.  The species name, ophioglossa, means "snake tongue" and refers to the forked appearance of the bottom of the flower.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Condylago rodrigoi

This species is from Colombia and was first described as Stelis rodrigoi.  The flowers, as can be seen from the photos, are very unusual.  They are only about 1 cm tall, but each spike produces a succession of them, so that the plant is seldom without flowers.  The plant itself looks like a Pleurothallis and is around 8 cm tall.  The flower spikes are unusual in that they are flattened at the ends

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Restrepia cuprea

This lovely orchid is from Colombia and is typical of the genus both in plant habit and in form and colorfulness of its flowers.  The growths are approximately 15 cm long with a 6 cm heart-shaped leaf on a stem that is wrapped in flattened bracts.  The flowers appear out of the topmost bracts from the joint of leaf and stem and each growth flowers successively over a long period of time. They are close to 6 cm tall.

The flowers are the typical Restrepia shape with a narrow dorsal (upper) sepal and very thin, spidery petals.  The most prominent parts of the flower are the joined lateral (lower sepals which are a bright coppery orange, to which the name cuprea refers.  The flower, head on, looks like the face of little gnome with the dorsal sepal looking like a tall hat, the column a long nose, the petals two long eyebrows,the lip a long beard and the spots at the top of the lateral sepals two eyes.

Interestingly, Restrepia is on of the few orchids that can be grown from leaf cuttings.  Indeed, new plants will sometimes spontaneously begin to grow at that point on the mother plant.  If the leaf with a bit of stem is placed in moss or something similar a new plant with eventually start from the juncture of leaf and stem.  They seem to do best for me in small pots and are not at all difficult to grow.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Epigeneium nakaharaei

Related to Dendrobium, this wonderful little plant is easy to grow, easy to flower and very floriferous with amazing translucent yellow flowers and a shiny brown lip.  The flowers are very large, too, for the size of the plant, approximately 2.5 cm tall and 3 cm wide.  The plant has a rather curious growth habit, each new growth beginning near the junction of pseudobulb and leaf of the previous growth, so that the plant has a creeping habit.  For that reason, it is best grown mounted, but even then tends to wander off the mount.  Each growth is about 6 cm long, the flowers arising at the juncture of pseudobulb and leaf.  The plant is native to Taiwan.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Panmorphia sanchezii

This little plant, also known as Specklinia sanchezii or Pleurothallis sanchezii, is from Ecuador.  The Masdevallia-like leaves are about 5-6 cm tall and the flowers about 1 cm in size and are born at the base of the leaves.  It is named after the man who first collected it.  The color of the flowers apparently varies considerably, from a bright orange to brick-red.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lepanthes niesseniae

This miniature species is from Columbia.  It grows about 5-6 cm tall and has flowers that are quite large for Lepanthes, a little less than 1 cm in size.  The single leaves are held on wiry stems and the flowers arise from the base of the leaf on short, thread-like spikes.   Under good light the leaves are have a reddish color with darker veining, forming a very attractive little clump..

Lepanthes belongs to a genus of orchids called Pleurothallids, many of them high altitude plants.  This plant, therefore, does best in cooler temperatures and high humidity and since it continues to produces flowers from the same leaf it is almost always in bloom.  The plant was described for the first time and is named for Andrea Niessen, a Colombian collector and grower.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dendrobium Hirota

Dendrobium Hirota is a hybrid of Dendrobium biggibum and Dendrobium Somsak and is one of the few hybrids I grow.  These parents would ordinarily produce large plants, but this is smaller than most, only about 12 cm tall, with flowers of the "Dendrobium phalaenopsis" type that are about 4 cm across, usually five or six per spike.  It needs high light and a bit of dry rest when finished growing and blooming, but is not overly finicky and blooms every year for me.  It is shown here with two flower spikes and ten flowers.  It is potted in a small bonsai pot in a coarse mixture of bark and charcoal.