Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lepanthes, Jewels of the Orchid World

Lepanthes is a genus of orchids from Central and South America with well over 800 species in the genus. It is known for its colorful flowers, which are often very intricate, very odd-shaped and very colorful, though sometimes very small. The flowers can be several centimeters in size, but are often only a few millimeters. Even the tiniest flowers, however, are amazing when viewed under a magnifying glass, or photographed with a macro lens. They can well be thought of as the jewels of the orchid world.

L. escobarina

L. orion

L. niesseniae

L. ophioglossa and L. ingridiana

L. telipogoniflora

L. elegantula

L. caprimulgus

L. hirtzii

L. gargoyla

L. cochlearifolia and L. unidentified species

L. felix

L. discolor

L. pastoensis

L. velicata

L. stenophylla

L. agglutinata and L. meniscophora

L. calodyction

L. hirsuta

Note: the last two photos are not mine.  They are AOS awards photos and I have no idea who the photographers were.  If I am using them improperly I would be more than ready to apologize and remove them.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Talpinaria bivalvis 'Neal' HCC/AOS

This plant, recently reclassified, is from Ecuador.  Formerly classified as Pleurothallis talpinaria, it is now reclassified due to the breaking up of that massive genus, as Talpinaria bivalvis.  The plant is 11-12 cm tall and quite slow growing, producing only a few new growths each year.

The flowers are 1.5 cm tall and are produced singly or in pairs throughout the year, with a flush a new flowers in the spring.  The growth continue to produce flowers over a very long period of time.   When awarded this spring it had had thirty-three flower and nine buds on a relatively small plant.

This plant was awarded a High Class Certificate by the American Orchid Society at the Mount Baker Orchid Society Show this spring.  It has the clonal name, 'Neal,' for our handicapped son, and has a prized place among my miniature orchids.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Neofinetia falcata 'Gojyo Fukurin'

Neofineta falcata is a well known miniature orchid, both because of its lovely long-spurred flowers and because of its beautiful fragrance. It is another orchid that has been extensively interbred by the Japanese, producing many unusual (and expensive) varieties.

This variety is typical in size and leave shape but is known for its variegated foliage, green with creamy yellow margins.  It seems to have less scent also than the common variety of the species, but perhaps that is only my lack of ability to detect the scent.

It is native to Japan and is a part of the Vanda alliance though it is dwarfed by its larger cousins.  It has also been increasingly used in hybridizing with other members of the Vanda alliance to produce small plants with delicately colored flowers. 

Sophronitis coccinea 'Fourth Dimension'

About a year ago I received a division of a selected clone of Sophronitis coccinea from my good friend, Duane McDowell, who also gave it its clonal name.  It has finally bloomed on a summer growth, not its usual bloom time but welcome nevertheless.  It is a plant that seems to need to be established before blooming, but I have been waiting very impatiently for its first bloom.

The plant is typical for this species, 9-10 cm tall with leaves that are almost solid dark purple when grown under high light.  The flower is a bit smaller than other plants I've grown, 6 cm across, but is beautifully formed with very large petals, by far the best clone I've ever had.  I should add though, that the flowers continue to increase in size for quite some time after they open and perhaps this still has a ways to go.

Soph. coccinea is probably the most beautiful of all the cool-growing miniature orchids and has been extensively used in hybridizing Cattleyas to produce both miniature plants and sunset colors.  It has been much bred by the Japanese who have produced clones that are less temperamental and more warmth tolerant, but it remains some difficult to grow well unless its requirement are met exactly.

Mine never dries out and the temperatures never go above 80 degrees (27 Celsius), and are usually around 70 dropping into the 60's at night.  I grow it in live sphagnum in a clay pot (which, I believe, helps keep the plant cool through evaporation).  It produces mostly blind leads through the summer and never seems to bloom on every growth, but is a beauty nonetheless.

The species is native to Brazil but is increasingly rare in the wild due to over-collecting, most of it illegal.  It is one miniature orchid I would not be without and which I've grown now for many years, with varying success.  It is available from a number of dealers, often as seedlings from carefully selected crosses and can be quite expensive to purchase, especially in its rarer forms.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mystacidium capense

Mystacidium capense is a small orchid related to Angraecum and Aerangis and comes from the same general area, in this case from South Africa.  The plant is 8-10 cm across and the flowers are 2 cm tall, but have a very long, 6 cm spur on the back of the lip which is nearly transparent and in which one can see the nectar that attracts the pollinators, almost surely a night-flying moth of some kind.  The flowers have a crystalline texture that is visible in the photos and are sweetly fragrant as well.  The plant is best grown mounted to accommodate the pendant flower spikes and prefer warm temperatures, though I grown it cool to intermediate.

Dendrobium sulphureum

In a previous post I described this species which is almost always in bloom, and which like so many of the New Guinea Dendrobiums, has very long-lasting flowers: http://orchidsinbloom-ron.blogspot.com/2010/08/dendrobium-sulphureum-var-sulphureum.html.  The plant now has more flowers than ever and I thought I'd post some new pictures.  As the pictures show, the flowers are produced in pairs and usually stand side-by-side facing opposite directions.

Spilotantha amanda

Formerly Masdevallia amanda, this attractive miniature species comes from Ecuador and is well-named, since amanda mean "enchanting.".  The plant is 7-8cm tall and the small flowers, about 1.5cm, are held well above the foliage and come 3-4 flowers per spike.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Alaticaulia weberbaueri

 Alaticaulia weberbaueri comes from Ecuador and Peru and is a small size species, 18cm tall, with 2 cm flowers that open in succession, several to a flower spike.  The triangular (in cross-section) inflorescence is one of the distinguishing features of the group of plants to which this species belongs.  Formerly known as Masdevallia weberbaueri, it is named for its discoverer.