Categories: Growing, Intermediate Growers, Mini Orchids, Photos, Watering
This orchid doesn’t win any points for being showy. Nobody gasps in delight when they see its flowers, or gushes over its colors. Epidendrum peperomia is a mini orchid species with flowers that remind me of beetles. It’s quite distinct from its larger orchid relatives, like the reed-stem Epidendrums, which flaunt tall clusters of brilliant blooms.
Despite this apparent lack of glamour, this species has its charms. The flowers are relatively large compared to the leaves, and the flower lips feature a rich maroon color. It’s known as an easy grower and easy bloomer, and it can form an impressively large mat of leaves with masses of 1 inch (2.5 cm) flowers.
This Epidendrum is native to a wide area from Mexico through Central America, and south through the Andes to Bolivia. It grows well mounted or in shallow pots. Provide morning sun, regular water, and winter dormancy. Scientists have debated where this species fits in the orchid family tree, so it sometimes appears under older names like Epidendrum porpax or Nanodes porpax. No matter the name, there’s more to this little orchid species than meets the eye.
Categories: In the News, Mini Orchids, QuickPost, Warm Growers
The Manila Bulletin highlights some of the delightful color variations found in a favorite local orchid. Phalaenopsis equestris is a Moth Orchid species which is usually white and pink. However, many other color forms exist in white, yellow, orange, or purple. Scroll through their photos to explore the color array.
Categories: Cool Growers, Growing, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos
We moved from San Francisco to Pacifica over two years ago, and ever since, I’ve been learning how to grow orchids next to the ocean. Since I keep my cool growers outdoors, they’re subjected to all the elements which Mother Nature can throw at them. These outdoor orchids prove their toughness day after day, and Pacifica has taught me to appreciate them even more.
Our home is less than 1/2 mile (0.8 km) from the ocean, and we’re on a hill, about 360 feet (110 m) above sea level. We occasionally get a light coating of salt, but, surprisingly, it hasn’t damaged the orchids, or any other plants in our garden. Maybe it’s infrequent enough, or a light enough coating, so it doesn’t cause problems.
The wind is another story. We sometimes experience 50 mph (80 km/h) winds, and gusts which are even stronger, and they can do a lot of damage to any outdoor plants. Despite this, it’s surprising how many orchids are fine with strong ocean winds. The Cymbidiums, Sarcochilus, and Epidendrums live fully exposed on the back patio, and brave the strongest winds without much problem. The Masdevallias, Zygos, and Odonts grow right next to our house, and enjoy some shelter from a wall. However, even there, strong gusts can damage leaves and flowers, knock over flowerpots, and blow debris around. Despite this, you can see from these photos that many of these orchids survive and thrive.
Not all the orchids have escaped the wind. The Cyrtochilum which thrived in our San Francisco garden didn’t do so well here. The first year, it put out a much smaller flower spike than usual, and then continued to decline until it was gone. On the other hand, I brought my Sobralia inside to stop its slow decline. It was probably at the limit of its cold tolerance growing outdoors in San Francisco, and couldn’t handle the chilly winds here. It’s putting on nice new growth indoors, and I’m hoping to see its big purple blooms soon.
See more great cool growers loving life in Pacifica in my previous posts about a Tough Masdevallia, Pacifica Blooms, the Blue Orchid, the Giant Hyacinth Orchid, Orchids on the Coast, and Orchids Love Fog.
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events
September is a busy month for orchid shows around the world. Along with active schedules in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and South Africa, there are also shows far to the north in Sweden, Norway, and Lithuania.
Categories: Events, Photos
Are they birds, planes, or alien spaceships? No, they’re just more photos from last month’s Orchids in the Park show in San Francisco. They include a few which are bizarre or otherworldly, and others which just don’t look like flowers. With fantastic shapes and brilliant colors, some seem to stretch the boundaries of what flowers can be.
Orchids in the Park is San Francisco’s smaller annual orchid show, dwarfed in comparison to the enormous Pacific Orchid Expo at the end of winter. Yet, even with fewer plants, there are always lots of spectacular orchids. In addition to previous posts about the show, and a very tiny Platystele bloom, these incredible flowers demonstrate how impressive any small orchid show can be.
Categories: In the News, QuickPost
Frozen inside ancient amber from Mexico and the Dominican Republic, tiny beetles are carrying orchid pollen. Their modern beetle relatives are not known to help pollinate any orchids, but 20-million-year-old amber proves that they once did. Some of the amber may be 45 million years old, stretching their connection back even further.
Categories: Cool Growers, Orchids in the Wild
Check out the blog of nature writer and photographer Jon Dunn, featuring lots of great photos and stories of native British orchids in the wild. Some of his recent posts include “Epipactis Heaven and Helleborine”, “Orchids of the Highlands and Islands”, “To Bee or Not Too Bee”, and “Lady, Man, Monkey and Chimaera Orchids”, and many more from the British Isles. Though they’re not as brilliant as their tropical cousins, these native UK orchids are tough. Some even survive in Dunn’s home in Scotland’s chilly Shetland Islands, which is much better known for warm Shetland wool than for orchids. Dunn’s writings demonstrate his extensive knowledge of his wild photo subjects, which helps him find these remarkable orchids in unexpected places. Find more of his work at jondunn.com.
Categories: Mini Orchids, Photos, Warm Growers
This isn’t just a miniature orchid — it’s a micro orchid! When we went to Orchids in the Park a couple weeks ago, nobody was expecting to see one of the tiniest orchid flowers in the world. Dave didn’t have his macro lens, but he did pretty well with his regular camera. This mini Platystele flower is only 0.1 inch (2.5 mm) across! For a little perspective, that’s about the size of a flea, or the head of a pin.
This Pleurothallid, Platystele jungermannioides, isn’t even as big as its name. For comparison, the entire plant is smaller than a US dime, which is about 0.7 inches (17 mm) across. This species was thought to have the tiniest orchid flowers, but a species with smaller flowers was discovered in 2006. This is certainly one of the tiniest orchid flowers Dave has ever photographed, and he’s tackled miniatures like Trichosalpinx and many more. Contrast these micro orchids with floral giants like a 9 inch (23 cm) PK or a 2 ½ foot (76 cm) Phrag, These size differences again demonstrate the incredible diversity of the orchid world.
Categories: Conservation, Fragrant Orchids, In the News, Photos, Warm Growers
Scientists are working to restore wild populations of Florida’s native orchids, including the famous Ghost Orchid. Seedlings grown in labs are being transplanted in the Everglades. So far, results have been promising, with many young plants surviving the move. For most of the year, these bizarre, leafless orchids are simply masses of roots attached to trees, sharing the swamps with alligators, mosquitoes, and leeches. But for a week or two in summer, they bloom with exquisite white flowers which seem to float in the air. Habitat destruction, poaching of wild plants, and pollution have decimated wild Ghost Orchid populations. Fortunately, restoration projects like this and the Million Orchid Project are bringing hope that these rare treasures can be saved.