Sinister Draculas

How can an orchid be sinister? Orchid descriptions usually include words like beautiful and elegant, hardly the stuff of Halloween. Ghost Orchids, dead orchids, and weird orchids can spook you, but it’s the creepy Draculas that can scare you. Some Dracula varieties have a strange flower lip which looks, well, fleshy. You almost expect it to start breathing. It lends these orchids a sinister air.

Dracula flowerDracula flower close up of lipDracula flower

These creepy flower lips look and smell like mushrooms, and attract flies as pollinators. (Sorry, link no longer works.) Many Dracula varieties have hairy or warty flowers, adding to their creepiness. Some appear to have triangular faces, with tiny petals inside the blossom which look like eyes. There’s even a species with nearly black flowers, appropriately named Dracula vampira.

Dracula flowerDracula flowerDracula flower

These Draculas aren’t from old castles in Transylvania, but from cloud forests in the Andes. Most come from Ecuador and Colombia, with some species ranging to southern Mexico. Like bats, Dracula flowers enjoy hanging upside down. Although this makes perfect sense for epiphytes in the wild, it presents a challenge for cultivation. Orchid growers usually keep them in hanging baskets or mesh flowerpots to allow flowers to descend from base of the plant. Upside down flowers also present a challenge when taking photos. I know Dave’s superb skill at photography is matched by his dedication when I see him laying on the floor at an orchid show to capture the best shot.

Dracula flowers hanging below potDracula flowers, view from underneathDracula flowers

It’s no surprise that Draculas hate direct sun. They like shade, and can grow under fluorescent lights like their Masdevallia relatives. They need constant high humidity, good air movement, and cool temps. Many varieties cannot tolerate the chemicals in tap-water, and need purified water or rain for daily waterings. That’s why my Red Bell Dracula is enjoying today’s rain. Hey, those flowers are looking more blood-red than before…

Dracula flower and budDracula flower viewed from underneathDracula flower bud

Explore posts in the same categories: Cool Growers, Growing, Photos, Watering

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7 Comments on “Sinister Draculas”

  1. Brian (aka temperance) Says:

    Nice post! Have you visited the Orchid Karma blog? Karma is a genius with the Pleurothallids and she recently had a great piece on Dracula culture.

    Orchid bloggers unite! Up with flower count! Down with spider mites!

  2. Hanna Absom Says:

    Howdy, the flowers are very very weird indeed. I still don’t get for sure that they are real. They are very intersting flowers.

  3. House Plants Care Says:

    […] AboutOrchids Blog Archive Sinister Draculas[…]

  4. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Oakland Orchid Show Says:

    […] We also found a fascinating Dracula […]

  5. wxu Says:

    Hi there, I found your blog via Google while searching and your post looks very interesting for me, I definitely enjoy your photos here! I am a fan of the material you post and the quality information you offer in your blog!

  6. lmn Says:

    Astonishing pictures! Thanks you

  7. Hillary Says:

    That is f*ckin’ awesome AboutOrchids . Very good and interesting article and pictures.