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 had this little mounted miniature Dendrobium for 10 months, so this is the first time that it has bloomed for me. There are about 20 flowers that are smaller than a penny.
When you look at them up close you can see how neat they are, even though they are tiny. They are also really pleasantly fragrant. Christie said they smelled a little like honeysuckle. I was thinking I smelled some mint.
I’m going to interrupt my spree of Florida trip posts (yes, there are more coming) with a quickie of one of my orchids in bloom.
This is Oeceoclades maculata, which was given to me by my friend Jude after he traveled to Florida for the IAS show last year. He said that he found them growing all over the place. They are not native to Florida, but grow very well in the south Florida climate.
The plant itself looks much like a Sansevieria – dark green leaves with some lighter green mottling. The leaves also have thick sturdiness of a Sansevieria. I know the blooms are small, on top of a tall spike, but I think they are really quite cool looking and have some neat colors to them.
I purchased an octopus orchid (labeled Encyclia cochleata, but actually Anacheilium cochleata) on eBay back in January. At the time, the plant had a bloom spike. However, the travel was too taxing on the plant and the spike quickly withered, so I didn’t get to see the weird little blooms.
However, the seller did mention that this orchid blooms on each new growth (pseudobulb). What I didn’t notice was that the largest growth on my plant was actually the “new” growth that hadn’t yet bloomed. When a newer growth started recently I got excited, thinking that a couple months from now, it might start to bloom. But then shortly thereafter I noticed there was a bloom spike growing out of that larger pseudobulb!
Doesn’t this orchid have the coolest flowers?
I was operating under the assumption that the genus name Encyclia was correct for this plant, but I was surprised that the bloom shape looks so different from the other Encyclias. Then I found out that this and a couple of other plants have been tossed around among a couple of different genera over the years – including Prosthechea, Encyclia, and Anacheilium. For now, the taxonomists seem to have settled on the last one. Many people in the orchid world just refer to this plant by it’s species name (cochleata), since that is the only part of the name that has stayed consistent.
There are a total of 5 buds on my orchid right now, so hopefully I will have a little “school” of octupi soon. I don’t know if “school” is really the right word. There might not be a correct word for a group of octopus, since I don’t think they are social creatures, by nature.
One reason the blooms of this orchid look different from many Encyclias is that they are resupinate, which means they are upside down from the normal orientation. Regardless of whether this is an Encyclia or not, or has the same orientation of normal Encyclias, I seem to be drawn to plants which have had the name Encyclia attached at some point or another. I think one thing that attracts me to many Encyclias is the color combinations in the blooms. Many of them are kind of a brown/mauve background, sometimes with a splash of color, sometimes not. Some of them almost look like dirt. Sounds pretty cool, huh? A flower that is the color of dirt. Anyway, I like them. Check out these Encyclias!
I have one true Encyclia in my collection – Encyclia polybulbon. It is a mounted specimen that has neat, yellow brown blooms. One really nice thing about Encyclias for me is that they are mostly small, so I can have quite a few of them without taking up too much space. Some people would consider their small blooms to be a downside, but I like their size – and their dirt brown blooms.
Christie and I visited one of our favorite local nurseries recently and were surprised to find an orchid mixed in among the usual flower garden plants. Although this nursery has very good quality plants, they don’t have houseplants or generally anything too unusual.
The Nun’s Orchid or Nun’s Cap Orchid (Phaius tankervilliae) is so named because if you look up into the flower tube you will see this (below).
See the nun with her head bowed down in prayer? It’s actually not easy to see in person. You have to look up into the tube, which is quite long (as you can see in the next picture). The camera flash really helps illuminate the feature.
You might just look up and see this.
This is a truly beautiful plant and makes the 2nd giant terrestrial orchid in my collection now. I haven’t had any experience with terrestrial monstrosities like these before, but I’m hoping that they will be happy in my greenhouse, being treated much like my other tropicals. I guess we’ll know this time next year, if they decide to bloom again.