This is the final episode of the 6 part series on the orchid show I attended in Wichita a couple of weeks ago. If you haven’t already, read about the exhibits, slippers and Vandas, Dendrobiums and Encyclias, and uncommon orchids I saw there. This last post will just feature any pictures that I have left that I wanted to share. There’s not a real unifying theme among them.
First, I’ll show off the two plants I purchased at the show that I haven’t already shown you. I purchased a Holcoglossum wangii from Oak Hill Gardens. I have been seeing this genus for a while and knew that Oak Hill had a couple species for sale as mounted plants, so this was on my want list before I went to the show. We picked out a nice, full plant to add to my terete leaved orchid collection.
I’m sad to report that Oak Hill Gardens, one of my favorite orchid vendors, is closing their doors soon. They are selling their orchids to another grower and selling their property to a non-orchid nursery company or something like that. I have purchased more plants from Oak Hill than any other grower and I wish they were still going to be in business. They have reasonable prices and grow a lot of species orchids. They will be missed.
The other plant that I purchased and haven’t yet shown off is not an orchid, but an aroid. It is Anthurium marmoratum and is a really nice plant (above). I have only seen this plant for sale on occasion on eBay and it is always much more than I paid. I purchased this plant from Prairie Orchids. They also had some really nice velvet leaf Anthuriums in their exhibit (pictured below).
The largest genus in the orchid family is Bulbophyllum. I am not particularly drawn to this genus, but there are a couple of species that I like. Below is a Bulbophyllum with rather large flowers (for the genus).
The picture below is fairly representative, but there is just no comparison to seeing this plant in person. This jewel orchid, Macodes petola, looks like lightning is running through the leaves. It is really something to see, and this particular plant was very healthy and larger than any I had seen before.
There are people who are absolutely fanatical about Neofinetias. It is a tiny genus of just three known species, and yet there are hundreds of cultivars and intergeneric hybrids, including the genera Darwinia and Ascocenda. The most common species, Neofinetia falcata, is known as the “Japanese Wind Orchid,” and these plants are displayed in artistic displays and beautiful Asian pots like bonsai plants through Korea, China and especially in Japan. The flower of the pure species Neofinetia falcata is white, but cultivars have light highlights of pink, purple or orange. Hybrids can result in muted solid colors, like the plant pictured below.
I have started growing several Cymbidiums recently, primarily because they were given to me. I would like to be able to grow these well, but the culture is different enough from my other orchids that I don’t know if I will succeed. All of my Cymbidiums produce their blooms on upright stalks. Other Cymbidiums have pendulous bloom spikes that hang down from the plant, making these plants best suited to baskets or some other set up where the blooms will not just be laying on the ground. There was a nice pendulous Cymbidium on display in Wichita (below).
I hope you enjoyed my orchid show pictures. Stay tuned for some photos from the orchid show I attended in Oklahoma City a couple of weeks later!
This is the fourth post in a 5 part series. Part 1 focused on the exhibits; part 2 on the Slippers and Vandas; and part 3 on the Dendrobiums and Encyclias. This time around, I’m going to show some pictures of some nice orchids you just don’t see every day.
Phalaenopsis is the most widely known orchid, the one that you can find for sale in grocery stores and hardware stores. So, I am kind of starting off this post of “uncommon orchids” with one of the most common orchids there is! They are so popular for a number of reasons, one being that they are not too hard to grow and to get to re-flower. Most orchid growers have some of these on hand in their collections because they know they bloom reliably each year.
Another reason they are so popular is because of the hybridization potential. It seems the hybridizers always have something a little new with these orchids – a new color combination or a new pattern. The Phalaenopsis pictured above is a fairly new pattern, with what looks like brush strokes near the edges. I remember a year or two ago I saw my first harlequin (patches of color) Phalaenopsis. This year, the pattern that was new to me is kind of hard to describe. It looks like some drops of color have been splashed onto the flowers and repelled other colors. There is a sort of white halo around these dots.
There were other nice hybrid Phalaenopsis with all sorts of different colors and patterns. There was a really neat specimen of Phalaenopsis deceptrix cornu-cervi (below) on display, too. The blooms from this orchid emerge from a weird, zigzag spike. When the flowers are finished, it looks like this plant has two distinct types of leaves. I don’t know what people normally do when they have this plant and it finishes flowering, but I would have trouble cutting off those weird spikes. I would want to leave them on the plant.
Eulophia guineensis is a really nice flower, which looks similar to some Encyclias, except that the lip is much larger than the petals and sepals, which are always pointing upwards. Also, the plant is different morphologically and is terrestrial, whereas Encyclias are epiphytic. Eulophias are native to equatorial Africa and this species is probably one of the more common ones to find in someone’s collection.
Grammatophyllum is the genus of “giant orchids.” These plants get really large and can become very heavy with time. I like how their roots point upwards (not shown in this photo). They have very neat blooms of brown and yellow. Usually they are pretty spotted, like a leopard. This particular plant was named Leopard and yet, the blooms weren’t really spotted. It was more like the brown had taken over all but the edge of the petals, which retained the yellow coloring.
The plant below belongs to the Mexicoa genus, which I had never heard of. It was a nicely grown plant with some neat little yellow flowers. I think that Mexicoa is a monotypic genus, because I can’t find any references to a species other than this one. Apparently, it used to be Oncidium ghiesbrechtiana, but has unique floral features that allowed it to be moved to its own genus.
My friend, Leland, who lives in Hawaii is on the brink of being sucked into the orchid vortex. The orchid of his dreams is Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis. (Why did they let someone give a genus name in place of the specific epithet?) The species gets very large leaves that look like those of the Phalaenopsis genus. You don’t even notice the psuedobulbs much due to the large leaves. When this plant blooms, it creates this hanging purple tongue of flowers that smell like a thousand dead elephants. Prairie Orchids had this plant for sale for $75, which is not out of the ordinary for this species.
The final two orchids are both Pleurothallis and were both for sale at vendor’s booths. I just have one little Pleurothallis and I really like it. They tend to be cool to intermediate growers and don’t need much light. I keep mine on the kitchen windowsill inside and it has been growing well for me. I probably need to fertilize it because it was blooming this time last year when I bought it and it is bigger this year and not blooming.
Pleurothallis ornata (above) has these cool little icicles (not the technical term) hanging from the blooms. Now the photo above doesn’t show scale, but these little flowers are smaller than a dime. Generally people that grow Pleurothallis and related genera are interested in miniatures and oddballs. I’ll be trying more of these in the future.
Now, prepare yourself. The photo you are about to see is amazing…
By far the most bizarre plant at the show was this Pleurothallis dilemma (above). Eat your heart out, cucumber orchid! This thing is like the “conjoined twin green bean” orchid. It was for sale at the Ecuagenera table and I really wish I had bought it now. Of course, my allowance is better off, but man, is this ever a neat little oddity! (There is a better photo here.)
I have a number of mounted orchids in my collection now, so I thought I would post about those orchids specifically, even if some of them have been shared before.
The first is my “cucumber” orchid, Dockrillia cucumeria, which I purchased in February. It started to get crispy outside in our scorching 100+ days from June to August. I brought it inside, where it seemed to be happier, but it couldn’t recover from the heat, and eventually died. I am finding that the mounted orchids (not surprisingly) dry out more quickly than the potted orchids. This is good and bad. It is more similar to the natural habitats of epiphytic orchids, but it also requires that I stay on top of watering. With these mounted orchids inside, it is pretty easy to do. I have been keeping a couple of these hanging in the bathroom window and the kitchen window, where sinks are readily available and where I am seeing them several times a day. I will try to obtain another of these little cucumbers, because it really was a favorite of mine.
I have one other of these small, succulent type orchids, Dendrobium lichenastrum v. prenticei. This one is also mounted on a piece of small cork bark. Where as the previous plant looked like little cucumbers, this one is smooth and has yellow flowers when it blooms. So far it has been doing well in our kitchen window, with about 5 other mounted orchids. I see this constantly and water them when I am washing dishes.
My Dendrobiumpachyphyllum is a new addition that is mounted on a compressed fern slab. This stringy glob of orchid won me over on three accounts: 1. It has that stringy, “don’t try to tame me” look. 2. It is kind of woody, which has a permanence and toughness that I really like. 3. It’s a Dendrobium species. While Dendrobiums are one of the more common orchids you can find (2nd to Phalaenopsis in terms of grocery store prominence), there is a HUGE variety of Dendrobiums and I am collecting some of the more obscure ones. The flowers of this Dendrobium are discrete little short-lived light pink blooms that come along the stems all over the plant – a prolific bloomer. They are supposed to smell sweet.
These next two plants (above and below) were the first mounted orchids I purchased. Both are mounted on a simple slat of wood, with sphagnum moss wrapped around the roots. The plant above is the first Encyclia in my collection. It hasn’t bloomed yet, but it has been growing steadily this summer and I understand that it blooms from fall to early spring. So I am hoping to keep it happy in the coming months and be rewarded with the first blooms.
This is one of the few fragrant orchids in my collection. Sedirea japonica is noted for it’s really unique small white blooms with purple bars. These blooms tend to hang below the plant and are supposed to smell amazing. My plant didn’t bloom this summer when it should have, so I am hoping for a bloom next year.
The genus Panarica is closely related to (often tagged as) Encyclia. So I actually bought this plant with the name Encyclia brassavolae. This one is mounted on a heavy and thick piece of wood that the seller called a “cedar plaque.” There is some media that might be coconut fiber/husk or something like that, so that some water can be absorbed and held near the roots whenever I water this one. I might have to modify this and add some sphagnum moss since I suspect my humidity is too low to keep the plant happy with this mount. The flowers of this species are really cool. Picture an anorexic yellow starfish wearing a white hat with a pink feather in it. Or just look at this picture and make up your own analogy.
The plant pictured above was on my want list for a while. I kept seeing really nice specimen-sized (large) plants available on eBay and they would go for big bucks (>$40). I held out until I got a smaller plant for about $10. This is a neat plant because of how it wanders and the blooms are born all along the creeping rhizome, unlike most Bulbophyllums which have long blooms spikes with lots of blooms clustered together. I also like the woody look of the stems. My plant is a collection of 2 or 3 cuttings tied to a twig raft.
The orchid pictured above was actually collected in the jungles of Belize years ago (when it was legal to do such things). It is a common orchid among collectors, Brassavola nodosa and is mounted on a slab of cypress wood.
This Cattleya pictured above is the one orchid I have which I mounted myself. I received the orchid as a gift when I joined the Oklahoma Orchid Society. It was a tiny little plant. To be honest, I’m not a big Cattleya guy myself. It was a little plant and I had a piece of drift wood that I wasn’t using, so I thought, “What they heck! Let me give it a try.” It has been doing pretty well on the driftwood. It survived our scorching summer heat, so that’s a good sign.
While we were in Florida, I was on a mission to purchase some Encyclias, especially the well-known Florida-native “Butterfly Orchid”, Encyclia tampensis. I saw many of these growing wild in the Everglades and then I found a really nice one mounted on tree fern at Ruben in Orchids. It looks as though it had bloomed on at least 3 different spikes recently and it was well rooted into the mount.
A good friend of mine attended the recent American Orchid Society show in San Antonio at the end of October. While he was there, he scoped out the available stock of orchids and aroids and sent me some information on plants I like to grow. He was generous enough to purchase two Encyclias for me and drop them by my house on his way home to Arkansas. Both of these little Encyclias are fragrant when in bloom and mounted on little wood planks by Oak Hill Gardens – one of my favorite orchid sellers.
About a month ago my parents-in-law returned from a trip with a couple of orchids for me and one that my mother-in-law was keeping for herself (or so I thought). In actuality, she was keeping the last orchid for my birthday. But she showed it to me at the time – in bloom – and held on to it until my birthday to give it to me. I’m glad I took a nice picture of it in bloom at the time! This is a really neat TINY hybrid with the name Ornithocephalis iridifolius x Zygostatus alleniana. That “iridifolius” part means that the foliage looks like an iris. It has that characteristic fan appearance, but on a very tiny scale.
Jason gave me a division of his Maxillaria variabilis a couple months back. I decided to try mounting it on a section of bark I had from a local tree. I don’t know of anyone doing this. My guess is that the people don’t do it because you need a really durable bark that won’t break down over time, so there are only a few options available. This mount will probably not last a long time, but it’s worth a shot, in my opinion. For now, the orchid is just laying on top of the bark, with a wad of sphagnum moss on top of the roots. Hopefully in a couple of months the roots will have bitten into the bark. My favorite thing about this little orchid? It has been blooming non-stop, since I got it.
Now we make it to the fifteenth and final mounted orchid in my collection. Last, but certainly not least. This is Dendrochilum stenophyllum, one of the “chain orchids.” According to the wikipedia page, “These orchids are popular among fans of non-traditional orchid curiosities.” I guess that sums up my interest, huh? Anyway, this species is notable for it’s very grass-like foliage and it’s miniscule flowers which grow on a stem about the length of the leaves. My plant is mounted on a piece of canvas wrapped around a section of PVC pipe. I think it’s a curious mounting system. The really good part is that the PVC holds up over time and won’t be slowly breaking down. However, the canvas has long since broken down, leaving the PVC very exposed. I don’t mind the white showing, but I might try to cover it up at some point in the future.
My parents-in-law were out of town for a month while my father-in-law was cycling from Seattle to Los Angeles. While they were away, we were in charge of keeping their pups and orchids alive. Mission successful: all survived.
One of the orchids came into bloom just before they came home, Eulophia streptopetala. My mother-in-law bought this orchid while she was in California last year at Santa Barbara Orchid Estate. She purchased this particular orchid because of it is native to Ethiopia, the country from which we are adopting.
While I was excited about the orchid blooming for the first time, they were back at the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate again. They brought home three new orchids, two for me, in thanks for taking care of the orchids!
The first orchid has a really unique growth habit. It is a species orchid, Lockhartia oerstedii, from central America. When I looked up the description of this plant I learned a couple new botanical vocabulary words. The first is imbricate, which refers to the overlapping leaves which look like roof shingles or reptile scales. A second word is caespitose, which means densely clumped.
The second orchid is the species Cirrhopetalummakoyanum. The Cirrhopetalum genus is closely related to the Bulbophyllum genus, and many of the plants are still labeled with that genus name. It has a very distinct inflorescence, which is made up of several flowers arranged in a semi-circular pattern that look like half to 3/4 of a daisy. You can see a picture here.
The last orchid is one that my mother-in-law bought for herself. It is a tiny miniature (Yes, I think it is appropriate to use both words) mounted on cork bark. And it’s even in bloom. Check out the penny for size comparison. Pretty incredible, isn’t it? I’m really liking these little mounted orchids. They are easy to care for – assuming you don’t mind watering them regularly. You don’t have to worry about the roots rotting. And since everything is right there on display, you can tell if the roots are healthy or not. Also, it’s more appealing to me than a plant in a pot. And you can hang them in all sorts of places. The list goes on and on. Can you tell I like these things? I have a post on my mounted miniatures coming soon. This hybrid is known as a “primary hybrid,” which means both parents of this plant are pure species. Anyway, if you’ve read through this entire paragraph hoping to learn the name of this plant, here’s your reward: Ornithocephalis iridifolius x Zygostatus alleniana. If you were reading the paragraph hoping for some other reward: sorry, that’s all you get.
Last Sunday, our Oklahoma Orchid Society had its annual potluck, raffle, greenhouse tour and open house at the house of a couple of members. This was the first meeting where Christie has come along and gotten to meet some of my new orchid friends. We got to eat some good food, enjoy a greenhouse tour and we even came away with the door prize, a gigantic blooming Phalaenopsis!
The greenhouse is a really nice size – probably 15 feet by 30 feet, as a guess. About 2/3 of the space is occupied by orchids and the other 1/3 is empty for now. As with any collector, I imagine that vacant space shrinks on a regular basis. The first plants you see when you come in are the Vandas, which Lowell, the owner, grows hanging without any substrate or pots. They seem to be doing really well for him.
Lowell has a lot of Dendrobiums in his collection. Two really neat ones were in bloom, the species Dendrobium antennatum, and a hybrid which has Den. antennatum as one of it’s parents. It was surprising how close the hybrid looked like the parent species, in this case. I couldn’t see any differences in the flowers themselves.
Another Dendrobium that was in bloom is Den. bifalce, with a weird little flower coming out of the top of the characteristic Dendrobium canes.
The most unusual Dendrobium in the collection is a very large and old plant which has grown from the basket to form a sphere. Apparently it just finished flowering, so we didn’t get to see the flowers. But the plant, Dendrobium anceps, is really cool. Lowell is justifiably proud of this one.
There are probably 5 or 6 different pots of Vanilla planifolia growing in the greenhouse and the plant is climbing up the supports and running all over the place. This is the plant that produces the vanilla flavoring used in cooking, which is an extract from the beans that form after a flower is pollinated. Lowell was kind enough to give me a piece about a foot long, so I have it in some soil and am trying to root it now. Lowell grows his in regular potting soil, not an orchid mix. He said his Vanilla orchids flower regular, but he has yet to get one to pollinate.
Lowell grows most of his Bulbophyllums in coconut fiber baskets now. He said it contains them well and they seem to like it. One exception was this little Bulbophyllum which was mounted and in bloom.
There are also quite a few slipper orchids, Paphiopedilums and some other genera I am not familiar with (not Phragmipediums). I have to admit that the patterned leaves of these orchids are enticing to me – more so than the big, odd flowers.
Some tree frogs (Hyla versicolor) have taken up residence in the greenhouse and one was perched out on an orchid leaf for easy photographing.
Next are the two largest plants in the collection (not counting the Vanilla orchid): Sobralia and Grammatophyllum. The tall Sobralia decora was about 4 feet tall with beautiful stems. I really liked this plant and would be happy to grow it without any blooms. Apparently the blooms are very short lived, though, as expected, a mature plant does produce a plethora of them when it is in flower.
The genus Grammatophyllum is referred to as the “Giant Orchid.” It has a very tall, long-lived bloom spike. Lowell’s Grammatophyllum plant is not all that big, but the bloom spike was a good 4 feet tall. We saw a huge Grammatophyllum at the Foster Botanic Gardens in Hawaii a couple of years ago.
I think the one plant I came away from the tour thinking I had to find is Maxillaria lankesteri. This is a weird one that in many ways doesn’t look like an orchid. Maybe that’s why I like it. It’s a fringe orchid. The flowers, from what I’ve seen online, are unmistakably that of a Maxillaria, but the stems are wandering and woody looking – not like other MaxillariasI know. Looking around online a bit I see that there is another species with similar woody-stems, Maxillaria microphyton. I’ll be looking for these plants.
Another oddity in the collection is a Habenaria which has really neat foliage and interesting looking buds. Apparently the flowers are very colorful. The buds look more like seed heads of a spent flower.
Lowell brought his beautiful, large Dendrochilum to the last OOS meeting when it was in bloom. It had finished by the time of the greenhouse tour, so I just have a picture of the plant with spent blooms. But it’s still a beautiful plant.
There are a number of different jewel orchids which look similar. Lowell is growing the common Ludisia discolor, as well as something that looks nearly the same, but is from an entirely different genus. (Sorry, I didn’t write down the name.)
Well, that’s your virtual tour. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did the live tour.