I really like Encyclias. They have become my favorite orchid genus for a number of reasons. They have interesting, colorful, but not overly showy flowers. There is a wide variety of species and colors produced by these species. They grow well in my climate and with my care. They are decently attractive when not in bloom.
I have collected quite a few species and hybrids over the last few years, but I have only brought a small group into bloom. I have had multiple flowerings of Encplicata since I purchased it three years ago. Otherwise, my plants have been growing, but not blooming. This year has been an exception.
These flowers look very different from the ones that were on the plant when I purchased it two years ago. The pot is large, with many bulbs, so I am thinking that it is possible I have two separate plants and the one that bloomed this year is not Gay Rabbit. Hopefully next year I will have multiple spikes and we can see if there are different plants in this pot.
These were my first blooms from Enc seidelii. I wasn’t expecting any since this is a small plant. The flowers themselves are small very striking. The pictures don’t really do them justice.
These are also my first flowers for Enc belizensis. They are primarily a creamy yellow with a white lip and touches of pink here and there. These are the largest flowers of the species I have currently in flower.
Since I had several species in bloom at the same time I decided to try my hand at hybridizing. I did it a little haphazardly right before leaving town. I just used my finger to remove pollinia from one species and move it to the next. It looks like some of the crosses are taking and seed pods are forming. If all goes well, I will send my pods off to an experienced hybridizer to germinate them and grow them out.
This is a really neat flower, due to the unique shape and colors, as well as the fragrance. I am told the regular species, Enc ramoense, has blooms that smell like Dr. Pepper. This particular cultivar was labeled ‘Dr Pepper’ so I guess it has a marked fragrance like that favorite beverage of mine. Anyway, we discovered something interesting about this plant. I couldn’t smell any fragrance from the flowers in my greenhouse. I brought the plant out to the picnic table on our back deck and smelled it a little later and – voila! It smelled like Dr. Pepper! I took the plant inside for Christie to smell: nothing. I took it back outside with her and the scent returned! It seems to be triggered by sunlight. I don’t know if this is a known phenomenon or not, but it sort of makes sense that plants could regulate a chemical reaction by sunlight.
My other Encyclia in bloom right now is a primary hybrid between Enc tampensis and Enc plicata. It has dainty blooms that are lightly fragrant with a chocolate smell.
Last, but not least, I want to show off some beautiful leaves. Encyclia guatemalensis hasn’t flowered for me yet, but these leaves are just amazing.
I imagine the colors would vary based on light conditions. I hope my leaves stay this color and I get some blooms next year.
As usual, my Enc plicata is now producing a bloom spike, so I should have flowers in August and September.
This time last year I purchased my Encyclia plicata from Ruben in Orchids on my Florida trip. At that time, it had just a couple of flowers left on its bloom spike.
True to schedule, my Encyclia plicata has been blooming for the past several weeks and this time I have gotten to enjoy the wonderful fragrance of these blooms. I don’t really buy orchids for their fragrance, but this one would be worth it. This just might be my favorite color combination of any of the orchids I own. All things considered, this is pretty much a perfect orchid in my book.
I have already posted about a dozen photos from the OKC Orchid Show, so check those out, if you haven’t already.
Just like there are “Vanda People” and “Slipper People,” there are “Catt(leya) People.” I have to say that I am not one of those people. Cattleyas tend to be large flowers that are kind of frilly like bearded Irises, and they just don’t appeal to me that much. That being said, I do enjoy some Cattleyas, mainly the spotted ones, and I am posting photos of those.
Brassavola nodosa is a popular orchid that is known for its fragrance, but only in the evening. There are several cultivars or hybrids made with this species, including Brassavola Little Stars (below).
By far the coolest thing I saw at the show was the Dendrobium Black Spider. I haven’t ever seen a black Dendrobium, or really anything close to this dark. When I was helping tear down the exhibits on Sunday I complimented the grower on her black Dendrobium and she kind of shrugged and didn’t say anything. I guess some people are less interested in discussing their plants than others. Or maybe she was just tired from the weekend…
I don’t know whether Encyclias are more popular around here than I had previously thought, or if I am just paying more attention to them this year, or if this is just a really good blooming year for them. Whatever the case, there were many Encyclias on display in Wichita and in Oklahoma City.
The plant above is the species Encyclia alata and the plant below is a primary hybrid of Encyclia alata and Encyclia mooreana. Both are awesome plants.
The large primary hybrid above and the species below were both featured as the centerpiece of their respective displays. In fact, that photo above was taken before any of the rest of the plants were in place. (I wouldn’t have been able to get such a picture of just this plant once the exhibit was assembled, because many other plants were crowded around it.
Don’t you just love the colors of the Encyclia hanburii (below)? Just awesome!
The odd ball Encyclia at the show is one of those that keeps getting shuffled around taxonomically. It has been in several different genera, including Encyclia, Anacheilium, Prosthechea and, of course, the original catch-all genus Epidendrum. According to orchidspecies.com, which is what I normally consider the authority, it is currently classified as Anacheilium radiata.
I hope you enjoyed your virtual participation in the Oklahoma Orchid Society show. If you’re in the area, you should try to attend in person next year. We always have our show on Mother’s Day weekend at the Will Rogers Garden Center in Oklahoma City.
This is part 3 of the 5 part series known as “Orchid Show in Wichita.” If you missed the first or second post, check them out here and here.
First, you might be wondering what Dendrobiums and Encyclias have to do with one another.* The truth is just that these are two of my favorite orchid genera. There were lots of plants from these two genera at the show and I took lots of photos of them. So they grouped themselves well for a blog post. Now you know.
Sarah Pratt is the owner of Timbucktoo Orchids and has come to speak to our Oklahoma Orchid Society in the past year. She had a large, walk-through exhibit that featured four different very tall Dendrobiums from section Spatulata, which means they have the tall “antlers” or “antennae.” I know that I’m not a very tall guy, but still! Those plants (above) are sitting on the ground and easily two or three feet taller than I am. The sheer size of the plants can be overwhelming such that you miss how cool the individual blooms are. But I took the time to stop and smell the roses photograph the flowers (below), for your enjoyment.
I didn’t see the labels on these two orchids (below and above). The one above could possibly be Dendrobium aries. It might also be a hybrid with or without D. aries as a parent. The one below is almost definitely the species Dendrobium discolor. [Update: I contacted the owner of these plants and got both of the names. The plant above is Dendrobium Exotic’s Spiral, which is D. Palolo Rainbow x D. strebloceras. The one below is what I was thinking, the species Dendrobium discolor.]
I recently bought a Dendrobium kingianum. My plant is a little clump of green. This one (below) that was for sale at the Andy’s Orchids table has very dark leaves of a purple/red shade. It is a really nice little plant.
I purchased a really nice miniature Dendrobium Micro Chip, also known as Dendrobium Aussie Chip, because apparently there was something invalid about the name “Micro Chip.” [Correction: The hybrid Dendrobium Aussie Chip is a cross between Den. aberrans and Den. atroviolaceum.] Micro Chip is a primary hybrid of Den. aberrans x Den. normanbyense. It is covered in little white flowers that are peppered with black specks.
There are several species of Dendrobium that are similar to my Dendrobium anceps that bloomed recently. One of these has dark pink blooms that are much more attractive than my little green blooms. That species (Dendrobium rosellum) also has more coloration in the leaves themselves. There was a nice specimen (shown above) in the gigantic display at the show.
When I walk into an orchid show I am in shock for a couple of minutes. I hope that as long as I live, and as many orchid shows that I attend, I never get to the point where I don’t have that experience when I first walk into one of these shows. When we got to this show, I paused momentarily and tried to get my bearings, before diving right in to look as closely as I could at the vendor tables, trying to not miss anything important. On the first table we looked at there was a large and flowering Encyclia that smelled wonderful. It was priced so reasonably we immediately agreed that it would be going home with us. But seeing as it was the first table of plants, we were patient and decided to just keep an eye on it while we scoped out the other vendors. We ended up going back to buy it not long after, before even finishing looking at the other vendors.
Christie carried this orchid around with us for most of the show. It was a bit heavy since it was a large plant, potted in a clay pot, so I joked that she was my orchid pack mule. She was a pretty happy pack mule though, because we had this awesome aroma following us around as we looked at the plants. I would relieve her for a little bit and carry the plant while pointing at plants that I wanted her to photograph for me. The plant is Encyclia Gay Rabbit, which is a 2nd generation hybrid, including E. cordigera and E. alata.
I was tempted to purchase one of these hybrids with bractescens parentage, but I got another one from Michel (below). It is Encyclia profusa x E. fowlei. The species E. profusa has been on my want list and I also really like E. fowlei. It should be neat to see what this plant looks like when it blooms, and I shouldn’t have to wait too long since it is in bud. E. profusa has dainty, creamy white flowers with a little bit of pink on the lip. E. fowlei has a creamy yellow flower with some brown streaks. The petals of fowlei flare out a little, so there will probably be some variation in the form of the flowers. The color could be anything from white to brown, possibly with some pink on the column or lip.
Michel Orchids had a lot of primary hybrids of Encyclias and other interesting plants. The plant pictured above was one of these. I can’t remember what the other parent was for this particular hybrid, but the Enc. bractescens is pretty apparent with these tiny flowers and the thin leaves.
The plant above is probably Encyclia cordigera v. rosea, but I didn’t take a picture of the label so I can’t be sure. Either way, it’s a nice orchid with fragrant flowers.
The plant above is another primary hybrid that was on display and had received several awards. It is obviously being grown well considering the number of flowers.
* If you’re curious about how closely related the Dendrobium and Encyclia genera are, they are both within the same subfamily, Epidendroideae. That doesn’t say too much though, considering there are only five subfamilies in the Orchid family, which is hugely diverse. Also, the Epidendroideae subfamily is the largest with 576 genera and more than 15,000 species.
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.