Archive for the 'Cool Growers' Category

Dragon Discovery: The Dracula Smaug Orchid

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

RBG Kew reports on Dracula smaug, a newly discovered orchid. This orchid isn’t named after the vampire legend; “Dracula” means “little dragon” in Latin, and “Smaug” is the name of the fire-breathing dragon from JRR Tolkien’s classic, The Hobbit. The species was discovered in cloud forests of northwestern Ecuador, near the Colombian border. Even though […]

More Native Colorado Orchids

Saturday, September 14th, 2019

It’s always a pleasure to see orchids growing happily in the wild. During a recent family hike in Colorado’s San Juan National Forest, we spotted a couple of native orchid varieties. The first three rows of photos show the charming Goodyera oblongifolia, or Western Rattlesnake Plaintain. It’s named for its reticulated leaves which resemble snakeskin. […]

Deceptive New Zealand Orchids Pretend That They’re Mushrooms

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

Radio New Zealand exposes a tale of botanical deceit. Corybas, also known as Spider Orchids, are strange little plants which inhabit the New Zealand forest floor. Humans can’t smell their mushroom-scented blooms, but fungus gnats can. They’re tricked into pollinating the flowers. To study how that works, orchid researcher Carlos Lehnebach converted his bathtub into an […]

Stay Cool with the International Odontoglossum Alliance

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

The International Odontoglossum Alliance (IOA) is a great resource for everyone who loves this family of cool growing orchids. Odontoglossums, called Odonts for short, are native to high elevations in the Andes. There are many popular varieties like the species and hybrid in the photos above. Foggy climates, like the San Francisco Bay Area, suit […]

Native Colorado Orchids in Bloom

Saturday, August 17th, 2019

Orchids are not just denizens of the tropics; they live almost everywhere in the world. Even the high elevations of Colorado’s Four Corners region host many native species. Two of them are shown here: the Fairy Slipper, or Calypso bulbosa, and the Bog Orchid, or Platanthera. My mother-in-law took these photos in early July while […]

Orchid Post Mortem: Queen Victoria’s Dendrobium

Saturday, July 6th, 2019

Sadly, I lost this beautiful Dendrobium victoriae-reginae, or Queen Victoria’s Dendrobium, in a heat wave. I blogged about this plant a few years ago. Living outdoors, it’s been a tough orchid and a reliable bloomer, surviving numerous travails to flower again. But during a heat wave that went up to 95°F (35°C) over several days, […]

Orchids for Summer

Friday, June 21st, 2019

Celebrate today’s summer solstice with this wonderful Irish Marsh Orchid, blooming last week in County Kerry. This species is native only to the Emerald Isle. In the Irish language, it’s called Magairlin gaelach. The intense colors and spotted patterns on the flower lip rival the showiness of many better-known tropical cousins. These European terrestrial species can […]

Orchids Living on the Coast

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Life is great on the Northern California coast, but it can be tough for plants. Strong winds and chilly fog can be big challenges for our garden. Fortunately, the vast and diverse orchid family provides lots of choices. Here are three tenacious orchids that are happily living just 1/3 mile (0.5 km) from the ocean. […]

Orchids in Our Spring Garden

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

After a rainy winter, our spring garden has burst into bloom, with orchids and more. The first two photos are not orchids: a very tough red rose and a brilliant yellow and white Tidy Tips. We didn’t know the rose was in our backyard for a few years, since it was completely encased by a […]

An Orchid Phantasm in a Pennsylvania Forest

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Why is a weird, parasitic orchid from Japan growing near Philadelphia? The Asian species, Cyrtosia septentrionalis, has popped up on the grounds of Longwood Gardens, and nobody really knows why. This strange orchid is a parasite on a soil fungus, and is considered impossible to cultivate. It could be that some seeds hitchhiked with other […]