Monday, May 28, 2012

Masdevallia dalessandroi

Named after its discoverer, Dennis D'alessandro, this Masdevallia species is a small jewel.  The species is from Ecuador and belongs to the section Masdevallia, the section to which many of the more colorful and spectacular species belong.  Though not as spectacular as some, the flowers have a quiet beauty of their own.  The plant is only 5 cm tall and the flowers are as tall as the plant and are carried on erect stems which hold them just above the leaves.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Masdevallia Ruby Slippers

Masdevallia Ruby Slippers is a hybrid of Masdevallia calura and Masdevallia coccinea.  I have two plants of this cross - they came together as one plant.  One has flowers that are rather light colored.  This clone has a flowers that are a deep reddish purple, a color that I find very difficult to capture with a camera.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Masdevallia Redwing

This excellent hybrid is a cross of Masdevallia coccinea and Masdevallia (alaticaulia) infracta with some of the best features of each parent.  It has flowers that retain much of the size, flat shape and color of Masdevallia coccinea but the plant is far more temperature tolerant than that parent and is more like Masdevallia infracta in that respect.  The cross varies in color depending on the color of the coccinea parent and the size of the plant and length of spikes are also more like that parent, though the flower spikes are more manageable.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lepanthopsis astrophora 'Stalky'

This species is grown by everyone who is interested in miniature orchids and by many who don't ordinarily show much interest in miniatures.  It is popular for its easy culture - it grows like a weed - and for the clouds of tiny purple flowers it produces in the spring, though it will continue to produce flower spikes throughout the year.  There seems to be only one clone of this plant in existence, since every plant I've seen is a division of the plant with the clonal name 'Stalky,' which I believe came from the collection of Phil and Anne Jessup.

The species comes from Venezuela and Columbia.  Lepanthopsis refers to the similarity between this genus and the genus LepanthesAstrophora, refers to the star-like shape of the flowers, which are indeed like little purple stars.  The flowers are 4 mm in size and the plant about 8 cm tall.  The plant is tolerant of a wide range of temperatures and will soon grow into a specimen with hundreds, even thousands of flowers.  When I received a cultural award on this plant it had 650 flowers and 70 buds on 70 flower spikes.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Masdevallia mendozae

Masdevallia mendozae is a species I've posted before.  It belongs to the Saltatrices group in the genus Masdevallia, which includes my favorite Masdevallias..  The plants in this group generally have tubular flowers and are brightly colored.  This species is no exception.  It comes from Ecuador and is supposed to be very temperature tolerant, growing in warm as well as cool temperatures.  The bright orange flowers are 3.5 cm long and the plant itself is only about 10 cm tall.  The plant is a prolific bloomer and has been reputed to bloom itself to death.  Thankfully that has not happened with my plant.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Porroglossum hirtzii

I am so far behind with posts that this is now finished blooming.  I had hoped to get a picture of the plant in bloom and missed that as well.  The species is from Ecuador as the name would suggest (Alexander Hirtz was a well known German orchid collector in Ecuador in the late 1900's).  The plant is 4 cm tall and the leaves are a dark green with a lightly pebbled surface.  The flowers spikes bear only one flower and are 10 cm long and tend to be pendant.  The flowers are 1.5 cm long and have the typical hinged lip of this genus, a lip that swings up when the flower is disturbed by a pollinating insect, trapping the insect against the column of the flower.

I found this a rather frustrating plant.  Most of the flower spikes aborted again this year even though the plant is well established, and the flowers that did open were very difficult to photograph.  As soon as the plant is moved the lip to swings up and takes forever to come down again and I wanted pictures of the flowers with the lip in both positions.  I grow the plant on a block of tree fern so that the spikes have space to grow downward and keep it in quite low light.  It is watered frequently and as with all my orchid receives just trace amounts of fertilizer (a pinch in two gallons of water every two out of three waterings).  The first three photos show the lip "down" and the last photo shows it "up."