Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Masdevallia lamprotyria

An attractive and small orchid species from Peru, the flower is approximately 3 cm and grows on a 10 cm plant with narrow leaves. It blooms in the spring and when it blooms produces many flowers if it is happy.  Mine is grown in a net pot in live sphagnum.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Phragmipedium Cardinale 'Birchwood' AM/AOS

Son Edward won this plant at our society's annual Christmas dinner.  Its tag identified it as Phragmipedium schlimii 'Birchwood', which it clearly is not.  We've identified it tentatively as Phragmipedium Cardinale 'Birchwood' but if anyone knows better we would be happy to be corrected.  Phragmipedium Cardinale is a hybrid of Phrag. schlimii and Phrag. Sedenii, but we've discovered that the hybrids in this group all look very similar and that has made us unsure of the correct id.  Unlike some of the Phrags, it is a relatively small plant and we are growing it on a bathroom windowsill with some Paphiopedilums.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Barbosella australis

Barbosella australis is a rather common miniature orchid species from Brazil (the name "australis" means "southern").  It should be grown on a mount and forms a creeping mat of small 1.5 cm leaves and produces flowers that larger than the leaves, about 2 cm long.  I received this plant as Barbosella cogniauxiana from a vendor who ought to know better and was a bit annoyed to find that it was not correctly identified, though the flowers are beautiful in their own right.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Orchidarium Changes

A few days ago I added two more fans to my orchidarium.  I was having problems with spotting on the leaves of some Masdevallias, and I have always been a believer in air movement - good air movement solves most problems with leaf drop and spotting if the humidity is high enough.  I added them at the top of the case near the front sliding panels and they already seem to be making a difference.  The case badly needed cleaning and I was able to combine the addition of the fans with a thorough cleaning, something I do two or three times a year.

This makes a total of six fans in the case.  Four three-inch fans provide air movement and two four-inch fans blow down into the water at the bottom of the case and provide both air movement and humidity.  The humidity in the case never goes below about 70 percent and rises to about 90 percent after watering.  With the air movement, the humidity and the cool temperatures the environment seems to be about as good as I can make it for Pleurothallids and New Guinea Dendrobiums.

Someone asked if I would post some pictures of the plants and flowers in the case. That was a tough assignment, since the combination of harsh light, dark and light subjects, and air movement made it difficult to get decent pictures. These were the best I could do and I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Masdevallia constricta 'Kailyn' HCC/AOS

This is the other plant I had awarded at the last session of the Northwest Regional Judging Center.  It was given a High Class Certificate for the size of the flowers which are substantially larger than any other clone that has been awarded.  They are given a measurement of 13 cm in the awards description, which reads: "Four large, well-presented flowers and six buds; sepals white, sepaline tube orange color deepening toward column; petals hidden; caudae medium yellow; substance firm; texture matte."  Some of the flowers have been larger, however, as much as 15 cm.  The species is from Ecuador and this awarded clone is named after one of our granddaughters.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Masdevallia decumana 'Nancy' CCM/AOS

I brought this plant to the Northwest Regional Judging Center in Seattle last Saturday and it was awarded a Certificate of Cultural Merit by the American Orchid Society (CCM/AOS), with 22 flowers and 7 buds.  I've posted pictures of this plant previously, and it always blooms profusely, but this was by far its best blooming to date.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Paphiopedilum helenae

This is the smallest species in the genus, Paphiopedilum, and also one of the most recent discoveries, having been found and described in 1996.  My plant has a span of a little over 12 cm and the height of the plant with the flower is only 8 cm, a charming little thing.  The flower is between 4 and 5 cm in height and spread.  The species shows considerable color variation and this plant has a darker pouch than most I've seen.  Since its discovery it has been used in hybridizing in an attempt to produce miniature Paphiopedilums, but none of the hybrids I've seen are as nice as the species itself.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Zootrophion niveum

The genus name, Zootrophion, refers to the cage-like shape of the flowers in this genus with their little "windows."  The species name, niveum, refers to their color or lack thereof.  This particular species is from Ecuador and is one of the smaller species in the genus.  The plant is less than 15 cm and the flowers are about 4 cm in size, usually two per growth.

Masdevallia coccinea 'Dwarf Pink'

Masdevallia coccinea is probably the most beautiful, the most sought-after and the most hybridized species in the genus.  Most plants are quite large with very long spikes, but this particular clone is smaller in size with much shorter spikes and therefore the only example of this species I am able to grow.  The plant is 15 cm tall with spikes that are another 15 cm and flowers 5 cm.  The species comes in a rainbow of colors, but this clone is pink, opening a deep pink and gradually fading to a very pale pink.  It is native to Colombia and Peru and grows at high altitudes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dendrobium agathodaemonis

This plant is often considered to be a variety of Dendrobium cuthbertsonii, which it does resemble in some respects.  It is different, however, in the fact that the growths are generally smaller and thinner than those of cuthbertsonii, and the flowers lack the dark coloring on the midlobe of the lip - they are pure white in this case.  My plant is 4 cm tall with flowers that are very close to that size and which dwarf the plant.  The plant is a prolific bloomer with long-lasting flowers and is in bloom nearly year around.  It is native to Papua New Guinea.  The flowers are semi-pendant and the plant, for that reason, is best grown on a mount.

Trisetella hirtzii

I purchased this plant as Trisetella nodulifera, which is definitely is not.  If my identification of it is correct, it is instead Trisetella hirtzii from Ecuador.  It is small plant, 3 cm tall, with flowers a little over 1 cm in size.  It is grown mounted with cool temperatures and blooms off and on throughout the year with a flush of flowers coming in the fall and early winter.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Triotosiphon gnoma

I purchased this plant as Masdevallia or Acinopetala minuta, but it does not appear to be that species and I am pretty certain it is Masdevallia or Triotosiphon gnoma instead.  The plant is only 2 cm tall and the flowers are nearly that long.  Because the plant is so small and the flowers carried on such short peduncles, they lie close to the surface of the moss in which the plant is growing.  Seen close-up the flowers are nearly transparent and the inner parts of the flower are visible through the sides.  My plant is still very small, since it was only a couple of leaves when I got it and nearly died subsequently.  The species is from Ecuador.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sophrolaeliocattleya Dream Catcher

This mini-Cattleya has everything going for it.  It is small plant, around 15 cm, with large 6 cm flowers that are of excellent shape and good clear color.  It blooms on every new growth, with two flowers per growth and the flowers are very long lasting.  They open a reddish-orange color, but quickly fade to a bright orange that is veined and lightly flared in red.  The lip, as can be seen from the photos is yellow with red veining and a red mid-lobe.  The difference in color in the photos, however, is due not only to the age of the flowers but also to the season.  The flowers that open in warmer weather are distinctly lighter and less deep in color than the flowers that open in cooler weather.