April 2020

Show and Tell


From Scott McGregor:


Anacamptis papilionachea

The typical form. Compare with the var. expansa, to the right.

Anacamptis papilionachea var. expansa

A pretty European meadow terrestrial.  I didn’t notice the small aphid until looking now at the pic!



Angraecum conchoglossum

A cool-growing mini Angraecum from Madagascar with 1.5-2” flowers and a very long nectary.  The Spanish moss provides extra humidity near the roots.

Thelymitra glaucophylla x Thelymitra crinita

This is a primary hybrid of two blue species. This was treated with acid media, acid fertilizer and a bit of Al3SO4.

Finally got enough sun for my first blue Thely to fully open flowers.  I’d say the acid/Al3+ did the trick and I got a decent blue color.  These are straight out of the camera and I deliberately included things like my hand (no, I didn’t mess with the tint) and some blue bachelor buttons in bloom.


Bulbophyllum tingabarinum

Outdoor-growing mini that blooms a few times per year.

Ceratochilus biglandulosus

Mini with 1” crystalline white flowers that dwarf the plant, and blooms a couple times per year.

Coelogyne mossiae 'Mendenhall'

One of my favorite Coelogynes—compact plant, fragrant flowers and floriferous!  A good show from a 4” pot.

Comparettia macroplectron

One of the most frustrating things growing orchids is when you carefully nurture and watch a spike develop on a challenging plant, only to have disaster strike.  Comparettias are twig epiphytes that need to grow mounted with frequent high-quality water and bright light.  I was happy with the multiple bud spike, only to have it break and hang limply when I moved the plant to look at it more closely.  Very sad.  I broke off the spike completely and put it in a small glass of water and a week later, got at least a one nice flower.  Next year…

Dendrobium papilio (large form)

This is one of my favorite Dendrobiums for outdoor growing, displaying large crystalline-white flowers with magenta/red markings on the ends of long, wispy, leafless canes.  It comes in two forms—floriferous and large, and this is the latter.  Usually I only get one or two flowers with this form, but this year two have opened already and another bud is coming along any day now.

Dendrobium speciosum ssp. pedunculatum

D. speciosum varieties can be quite large—the pedunculatum subspecies stays compact and has very fragrant (grass-like) white flowers on long arching sprays.

Diuris amplissima

The first of my Diuris to bloom this year.  These are winter-growing and summer dormant “donkey orchids” from Australia.

Epidendrum marmoratum

Easy outdoor-growing, long-lasting flowers, and compact growth.  What’s not to like?

Dockrillia linguiforme

Easy-growing Australian species named for its tongue-like leaves.

Laelia anceps var. dawsonii

One of the many spring-flowering varieties of Laelia anceps

Maxillaria dillonii

Bullet-proof with long-lasting and relatively large (3”) flowers.

Maxillaria schunkeana

A hard one to photograph—this is often described as having a black-colored flower, and appears nearly so to the eye, although the camera captures it as dark purple.  The 1” glossy-lipped flowers appear over the year and so a large plant is nearly always in bloom, with a larger flush in the Spring.

Scaphosepalum swertifolium

This mini from Columbia is a specimen plant in a 3” pot, seemingly always in bloom with many 1” oddly shaped and colored flowers.

Oerstedella (Epidendrum) tetraceros

With thin canes and narrow leaves, this Epidendrum relative gets lost in my other plants until it blooms with lots of pretty 1” flowers, scattered across new growths.

Ophrys cerastes

This highly variable species from Greece and nearby countries is small but cute.  This particular one has brightly colored, but reflexed petals that highlight the “bee” part.

Serapias cordigera

A pot of S. cordigera in bloom.  This is my favorite Serapias with deep color and a distinctive hairy lip.

Serapias lingua

A pot full of this easy and variable European terrestrial just beginning to flower.

Orchis italica (plain leaf)

Orchis italica, nicknamed the “Italian man orchid”,  is my favorite European terrestrial.  It has amusingly shaped and very fragrant flowers, and has proven relatively easy to grow.  It comes in a plain leaf variety and another form with purple-brown spots on the leaves, which are natural but alarming when you first notice them.  Here’s a pic with the elongating spike just beginning to open—should be perfect in another week or so.


Osmoglossum pulchellum

Osmoglossum pulchellum Is a fragrant bloomer that will perfume your orchid area for a couple months while in bloom.  Grows well outdoors.



From Roberta Fox:


Outside in the Back Yard:

Bletillla striata

This hardy terrestrial can grow in the ground as well a in a pot. This one, in my horrid clay soil, is doing better than the potted ones.

Maxillaria variabilis

These bloom several times a year. It lives up to its name. In addition to this yellow form (left) and red with bronze tips and a yellow tip on the lip (above), there is a range of color from almost black through various shades of red, to white.

Cattleya (Laelia) jongheana

The flowers of this Brazilian species are bigger than the plant 4-6 inches across. The species belongs to the group Hadrolaelia, in which the buds are enclosed within the developing new leaf (rather than in a sheath.) Therefore they can seem to appear rather suddenly.


Epidendrum trialatum

Flowers are fragrant. It is spilling out of a 4 inch basket, the medium is pretty much gone, but it is growing well that way so I have no intention of disturbing it.

Maxillaria densa

Individual flowers aren't spectacular, but there are lots of them. Pseudobulbs just continue to grow higher. Don't remove sheaths in the internodes between pseudobulbs - the roots run through them, all the way down to the pot. Eventually those sheaths fall off by themselves, and the elaborate root system is visible.

Dendrobium tetragonum var. giganteum

Scott had one of these last month. It can bloom several times a year, often on old, leafless canes. The canes are distictly four-sided, as implied by the name. Any of the Australia Dendrobium hybrids with narrow segments and red color are very likely to have this species in their background.

Ophrys speculum

I love this perfect little bug. It grows throughout the Mediterranean area.

Serapias lingua

There is a lot of variation in this species. My photographer friend, Ron Parsons, assured me that these were the same species. I ordered three tubers of Serapias lingua, got these two very different ones, and two Ophrys as well (based on the leaves, one bloomed)

Ophrys fusca

My "bonus plant" with the Serapias. Ron Parsons provided the ID.

Ophrys lutea

Distinctive color on this one. The leaves are already showing signs of dormancy as it blooms.

Serapias bergonii

This has the largest flower of any of my Serapias. It is native to the eastern Mediterranean.


Serapias cordigera

This one is big, and very reliable - one of the first of the Mediterranean terrestrials that I bloomed, several years ago.


Diplocaulobium (Dendrobium) aratriferum

Light scent of watermelon. These flowers are very ephemeral - if they last a day you're lucky. I have had at least one "attempted" blooming before this, nice buds but they never opened (and I do look at this one every day) Finally, it rewarded me. Taxonomically it has been lumped into Dendrobium, but it certainly looks and behaves differently than any Dendrobiums that I know about.


Campanulorchis globifera

Closely related to Eria, but at least for now, a separate genus. It is fragrant, and the buds (and backs of the opened sepals) are fuzzy. And I love fuzzy flowers!


Maxillaria bradeorum

This was a cutting, mounted on a large piece of tree fern. As it has matured, it has become more floriferous. I can see where it has the potential to be quite large, but for the moment is growing mostly vertically, keeping the footprint rasonable.

Brassia (Ada) rolandoi

Color isn't dramatic, but lots of long-lasting flowers.

Sarcochilus falcatus

A miniature Sarcochilus with pristine white flowers. It grows well mounted on a small stick.

Laelia superbiens

These usually bloom in November. This one is late, but a nice blooming. Spike is about 4 feet, on a fairly young plant.

Eria amica

Grows shady and damp.

Cattleya (Sophronitis) coccinea and mantiqueirae

The S. coccinea is a tetraploid, with 3 inch flowers (much bigger than the plant). S. mantiqueirae is almost as colorful, but flower is only about an inch. It's fun to see them side-by-side.

Rhyncholaelia glauca

Sweetly fragrant in the evening. This one came from Richard Hess. Thanks, Richard!

Thelymitra x-macmillanii x Thelymitra glaucophylla

Not species, not even quite a primary hybrid (a red natural hybrid crossed with a blue species) but it looks like this is going to be the only Thelymitra that I get, unless something spikes really late. I looked up the photo of Thel. x-macmillanii, and I have Thel. glaucophylla (which put on a good show last year) and I don't think the combination is an improvement on nature but it's a Thely.

In the greenhouse...

Sarcoglottis sceptrodes

This species has beautiful leaves, so it is attractive when out of bloom. To me the weird flowers look in profile like seahorses, or maybe dragons. When it finishes blooming, the leaves die back but new rosettes start right away. It doesn't need much light, so I think it would make a nice houseplant in the absence of a greenhouse. It grows in well-drained potting soil (like cactus mix with some fine perlite mixed in).

Ascocentrum christensonianum

This plant grows in a basket with minimal medium.

Cattleya lueddemanniana f. coerulea

This is one of the few Catt species that I can't grow outdoors, but it is so pretty that I am willing to give it a bit of greenhouse space.

Dendrobium auriculatum

This one is mounted, and blooms occasionally, on bare, leafless canes. My potted one is more prolific, but this one is also lovely, with flowers coming out of almost nowhere.

Baptistonia echinata

Flowers look vaguely like bees. The plant is in a 2-inch basket, which I placed in a 4-inch wood basket to give the roots some growing roon without disturbing them.