Archive for the 'Fragrant Orchids' Category

‘Like Finding Life on Mars’: Why the Underground Orchid is Australia’s Strangest, Most Mysterious Flower

Friday, February 19th, 2021

If we find life on Mars, will it be as strange as Australia’s Underground Orchids? These bizarre plants, also known as Rhizanthellas, live their whole lives below ground. They even bloom underground, and smell like vanilla. Known to science since 1928, there are now five identified species around the continent. All five are endangered, and […]

The Streaked Rock Orchid: A Tough Mini from Down Under

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

The Streaked Rock Orchid is a wonderful Australian native. Its strange flowers resemble elaborate birds in flight. Its little, pencil-like leaves turn purplish-red in the sun, making it look like a pointy, colorful hedgehog. In the wild, Dendrobium striolatum lives attached to rocky cliffs in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania. Our […]

A Beautiful Laelia Orchid Species

Sunday, November 29th, 2020

I love this gorgeous Mexican species, Laelia gouldiana, but our garden pests annoyingly love it, too. The first row of photos above shows happy, uneaten flowers from recent years. In contrast, the three rows of photos below show damaged flowers, the worst from this year, and some milder damage in 2016 and 2018. Whatever chomped […]

Summer Orchid Blooms

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Summer brings plenty of blooms, including these four orchids which live outside in our back garden. In the first row of photos, there’s a mini Sarcochilus hybrid with deep red flowers. Hybrids like these have been popular in Australia for years, and lately I’ve been seeing more of them available in the USA. It’s less […]

Thunia Orchids Grow Fast and Tall

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

Thunia flowers may resemble Cattleyas, but they are very different orchids. Thunias grow tall canes that look like cornstalks, and their 5 inch (12.7 cm) blooms hang in clusters from the tops. They may be the fastest growing orchids. New canes can reach up to 4 feet (1.2 m) tall in only a few months. […]

The Deceptive Ways of the Calypso Orchid

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

In Defense of Plants exposes The Deceptive Ways of the Calypso Orchid. This dainty, charming species grows in northern forests of North America, Europe, and Asia, where it’s pollinated by bumblebees. The bees are attracted by the orchid’s sweet fragrance, yellow hairs on the flower lip which mimic pollen, and nectar spurs. But the yellow […]

Angraecums, the Shining Stars of the Orchid World

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

Sparkling white flowers make Angraecums look like shining stars. This fascinating genus is native to Madagascar, tropical Africa, and islands in the Indian Ocean. They are sometimes called Comet Orchids, because thin nectar tubes hanging from the backs of their flowers inspire thoughts of comet tails. The most famous is Darwin’s Orchid, Angraecum sesquipedale. It’s […]

Samurai Orchids Fight to Survive in the Wild

Sunday, June 7th, 2020

In Japan, BotanyBoy describes the plight of the Samurai Orchid. Cultivated for centuries, they’re now endangered in the wild. Populations have shrunk as native habitats have been destroyed or altered by humans. Old growth forests only remain in small, disjointed pockets. They include areas around temples, shrines, rivers, and the very tops of mountain ridges. […]

The Delights of Orchids Indoors

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

As we continue to shelter at home, it really helps to be surrounded by our indoor orchids. A few of my plants have been putting on great spring shows. The Mexicoa species in the first row of photos above has already been blooming for two months. Now, it’s put out five new spikes of brilliant […]

A Big Season for Cymbidium Orchids

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

The California coast is already a beautiful place, and Cymbidium orchids make it even better. Since we moved to Pacifica several years ago, we’ve acquired more of them. Dave occasionally brings a nice one home from the grocery store. Usually they bloom in different seasons, but this year they all decided to flower over the […]