Monday, August 27, 2012

Platyrhiza quadricolor

Platyrhiza quadricolor is micro-miniature species from Brazil, the only species in its genus.  The plant is only 4 cm tall with tiny pea-shaped pseudobulbs and the flowers are 1 cm in size, carried six to eight flowers on a semi-pendant flower spike.  The species name means "four-colored," an apt description of the green, yellow, white and purple flowers.  The plant belong to the Ornithocephalinae, a family of mostly miniature species, many from Brazil.  This is species, however, is more colorful than many others in the family which tend to come in shades of green and white.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dendrobium hellwigianum

Here is another Dendrobium from the Oxyglossum section, a group of mostly high-altitude, miniature Dendrobiums from Papua New Guinea, that have some of the longest lasting flowers in the orchid world, some of them lasting six months or more.  I have often wondered if this is due to a lack of pollinators at those high altitudes, but have never seen an explanation.

This species is named after a German orchid collector and blooms profusely when well grown.  My plant, still rather small, has around 50 flowers on it at present.  The distinctive white, purple and orange coloring of the flowers is concealed by the foliage to some extent since the flowers appear, three or four to a growth, among the leaves at the top of the small pseudobulbs.

The plant is 10 cm tall and the flowers are 3 cm tall.  Each growth produces four or five deeply channeled and nearly terete (pencil-like) leaves.  The flowers have a long spur at the base of lip that is nearly transparent and in which drops of nectar can be seen.  My plant is grown on a mount which is nearly covered with moss and which keeps the plant constantly damp.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dendrobium malvicolor

Dendrobium malvicolor is a miniature species from Sumatra.  It's name means "Mallow-colored Dendrobium," and it is only 10 cm tall with 3 cm flowers.  The growths are very thin at the base, thickening at the end.  The flowers come in clusters of three to six near the end of the growths.

My plant is grown mounted.  It is supposed to be temperature tolerant, but I grow it cool, watering it every day.  It is supposed to have a two to three month drier rest in the winter with less water and fertilizer, but my plant does fine without a rest and blooms faithfully every spring.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Angraecum didieri

Angraecum dideri is one of the smaller Angraecums with very large flowers for the size of the plant, but it is by no means a miniature, and for that reason I have sold my plant when it was finished blooming.  It also puts out roots everywhere which attach to everything, at least in my conditions and was taking up way too much room in my plant case.

The plant grows to 20 cm tall and carries one or two 6 cm flowers per spike.  The flowers are even larger if the 10 cm spur is included in the measuring.  The flowers have a beautiful crystalline texture and a strong, sweet scent.  They are best grown mounted and are tolerant of cool to warm temperatures, blooming once a year for me in early summer.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Effusiella cypripedioides

Effusiella cypripedioides, or as it is still sometimes known, Pleurothallis cypripedioides, is an amazing orchid.  It comes from Ecuador and Peru and ts flowers are similar in some ways to Effusiella amparoana, which also has "hairy toilet-bowl" flowers.  The plant is 10 cm tall, much shorter than E. amparoana, and the leaves are "paddle" shaped rather than long and narrow.  The flower spikes are pendant and produces a series of flowers with two or three open at the same time.  It is supposed to be warm to hot growing and comes from lower elevations, but it does well for me under cool conditions and is grown mounted.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Promenaea stapelioides 'Ozone'

Both my Promenaea species were in bloom recently, this and the species shown in the previous post.  That species is more beautiful, this more interesting, in my opinion.  Like the other, this is from Brazil and has a similar growth habit, so much so that it would be difficult to tell them apart when they are not blooming.

The plant is 10-12 cm and the flowers are 5 cm and are produced singly or in pairs on semi-pendant stems about 5 cm long.  For that reason the plant is best grown in a small basket or a net pot.  I grow mine in a net pot in live sphagnum moss and give it rather low light and cool conditions with good air movement.

The species name of this plant, stapelioides, was given on account of the flowers' resemblance to the flowers of the genus of succulents, Stapelia, with their fleshy star-shaped flowers.  The purple, almost black color of these flowers is especially reminiscent of those succulent flowers.