June 2021

Show and Tell



From Lynn Wiand:

All orchids grown outdoors, coastal southern California

Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum f. album
('SVO' x 'Superb)

A seeedling, when mature will have multiple flowers on a tall spike.

Epidendrum parkinsonianum

Native to Mexico. Purchased as a basket contianing multiple seedlings, all have grown well. Grows easily outside.


Cymbidium tigrinum

A cute miniature, one of my favorite Cymbidium species.


From Scott McGregor:

All orchids grown outdoors, coastal southern California

Ansellia africana
'Kenya Dark' (left) and Orchid Zone Z3034 (right)

Ansellias are easy outdoor orchids from West Africa that like full sun and a loose basket (half lava rocks and half coarse bark) as a base so the upward-growing stiff roots can catch leaves and other debris for nutrients.  You’ll get plenty of fragrant yellow and brown flowers that emerge from the top of new growths and from the middle of older canes and last for a couple of months.  These plants are about 3-4’ tall and love fertilizer.

Capanemia superflua (uliginosa)

A terete-leaved, twig epiphyte from Brazil, this mini has sprays of 1/4" crystalline white fragrant flowers.  Some are reported to have a pink tinge (like this one) and others are pure white/yellow.  I’ve killed a number of these over the years, but think I now know how to keep them happy—mount them on a twig or piece of broken clay pot, grow them bright and cool (I grow them outside), water frequently but allow to dry out completely between waterings.

Cattleya (Laelia) harpophylla

From Brazil, this species is often listed as a “warm” grower, but does fine mounted on a stick outside for me (since 2012).  2-3” flowers than pin the “orange-o-meter”!

Ceratochilus biglandulosus

A tiny plant from Java with (relatively) huge crystalline white flowers that last a month or two.  Blooms 2-3 times per year.

Diplocaulobium arachnoideum and
Diplocaulobium aratriferum 'Watermelon Rind'

Supposedly two different species, but they seem identical to me (the one labelled arachnoideum on the left).  These are amazing Dendrobium cousins from New Guinea that not only manage to flush bloom at the same time across a plant, but also bloom in synch with their peers—sort of like quantum entanglement!  These two plants were on the opposite side of the shade house, ~15 feet apart and always bloom at the exact same time.  What makes that more unusual is that the flowers last less than a day and are closed by sundown.  I’ve been tracking graphs of temperature, humidity and barometric pressure and I can’t find a triggering event, so must be “plant ESP”.  They make up for the short flower life with multiple flush blooms per year and an intense scent of watermelon rind.  I highly recommend the genus for species lovers.

(Ed. note: My Diplocaulobium aratriferum bloomed - but not as well as Scott's - on exactly the same day. That's more like 30 miles away. The mystery deepens...)

Dockrillia pugioniformis (Dendrobium pugioniforme)

From Australia, this species has inverted flowers that remind me of birds in flight.

Euchile (Encyclia, Cattleya) citrina

Like a downward facing, intensely lemon-scented daffodil, this Mexican species likes it bright and cool. Must be mounted because of the downward growing leaves and flower spikes. These are rumored to be somewhat tricky and hard to flower—I have two of these, side-by-side in identical conditions and one flowers reliably every year and the other grows just as happily but hasn’t flowered a single time in almost ten years (virus clean).

Epidedendrum lacustre

Widely distributed across Central and South America, this large species has star-like flowers in the Spring.  From a division made last year, courtesy of Roberta Fox, who suggests growing it wet and in full sun. This is the purple variety, specifically from Panama.  The typical variety is green and white.

Himantoglossum jankae (caprinum)

From Greece and surrounding countries, the “Lizard Orchid” is not the prettiest flower out there, but certainly unusual.  The Hyacinth-sized tuber puts up a rosette of leaves 10” in diameter in the winter, a 2’ talk spike of flowers in the Spring, and then dies back to a dormant tuber in the Summer.  I’ve read that the flowers smell “like goats”, but fortunately mine do not!

Holcoglossum flavescens

A mini from China with needle-like leaves and 3/4" flowers.  It is tougher than it looks and needs very bright light to flower.  I had it somewhat shaded and it sulked for 7 years until I moved it to vanda-bright light and now it is happy and has resumed flowering.

Porroglossum meridionale

An interestingly colored mini (flowers just under an inch) from Peru.  This is the easiest species of a challenging genus—I grow it outdoors, mounted, with medium light and daily R/O water during the summer.

Schoenorchis juncifolia

This graceful species from Java has hanging needle-like leaves and looks nice even when not in bloom.  The flowers are like miniature Wisteria.  Easy outdoor grower.


From Roberta Fox:


Outside in the Back Yard:

Vanda barnesii

Purchased as V. javierii. When it bloomed, it turned out to be a new species from the same highland area of the Philippines. The batch, from a nursery in the SF Bay area that no longer exists, got written up in Orchid Digest. I was delighted to be in posession of something that was new to the orchid world.

Vanda cristata

Small flower, with a very distinctive lip that is prominent in its hybrids, It is very cold-tolerant. Native to highland areas of much of southeast Asia, southern China, and the Himalayas.

Epidendrum lacustre 'Wow Fireworks' AM/AOS

See Scott's section for some great photos of another piece of the plant. It is super-vigorous so divisions are getting around. Here are closeups of the flowers of two of my divisions, growing in the same area. The one on the left hangs with the L. anceps high above the Cymbidiums. The one on the right has been on the ground next to the Cymbidium benches, with light that is just a little bit less intense. The colors are accurate. I have found that to get the strongest purple on the flowers (and the leaves as well) the light has to be really bright - in my yard, hanging as high as possible. The culture for this plant is, to quote Harry Phillips, "Full sun, sopping wet". The plants live in 2-gallon pots with a big clump of sphagnum moss in the middle, filled in with small bark.


Bifrenaria harrisoniae

Native to Brazil. My plant has been a somwhat reluctant bloomer. It seems to need very bright light. Possibly it would do better warmer, but at least this year I did get flowers. I love the fuzzy lip.

Coelogyne nitida

Native to an area similar to that of Vanda cristata. The crystaline flowers almost glow. The plant is fairly compact, with flowers about 1 1/2 inch wide. They are quite long-lating - the plant has been in bloom for about 6 weeks, still going strong.

Maxillaria coccinea

Native to several islands of the Caribbean. Flowers peek out from the base of the leaves.

Barbosella cucullata

Native to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. It's a small plant wit a lot of flower-power even though the color is subtle.

Diuris drummondii

The last of the Australian terrestrials, this one from western Australia.

Dendrobium fimbriatum v. oculatum

Sharing habitat with V. cristata and Coel. nitida, I am starting to get lots of action from several deciduous Dendrobiums. This one has a fantastic lip. I didn't particularly dry it out, and that seems to have not mattered at all. It may well be that temperature is more of a trigger for blooming than the often-prescribed dryness.

Dendrobium dickasonii

Leaves just starting to emerge while the blooms are ablaze. At first glance this looks like the more familiar Den. unicum, but it has narrower segments and more saturated color. Den. unicum is just getting started, so you'll have it next month for comparison.

Dendrobium aphyllum var. latifolium

Delicate flowers come from bare, dead-lookng canes. Don't cut old canes until they are brown and shriveled (preferably for a year) to be sure of not harming the coming blooms.

Dendrobium regium

Flowers have a slight pearlescent luster. I got this about two and a half years ago, as a small division. it has been growing well. I am looing forward to next year being even better.

Wildlife in my back yard

Dendrobiums come from the Old World, hummingbirds only in the Americas - maybe that just makes them more curious.

Dracula benedictii

Small flowers, but lots of them, and more keep appearing. This native of Colombia seems to be particularly tolerant of warm weather. Where the larger-flowered Draculas tend to collapse during the heat of the day, only opening fully in the morning coolness, these flowers stay open. That's a 4-inch basket. It has been in bloom for nearly 6 weeks, and is still producing new flowers. It only blooms once a year, but does so copiously.

Angraecum germinyanum

Wild, curly segments characterize this one. The plant is very vigorous.

Angraecum arachnites

This lives up to its spidery name. Leaves are small but grow on elongating stems, making for a very cute plant.

Telipogon astroglossus

I would love to be able to grow the full-sized Telipogons, but they wouldn't do well in the heat of summer. This relative comes from lower elevations in Ecuador and Peru. It is a relatively recent acquisition, I hope that I am correct about its needs. The flowers are only about 1/4 inch, but with equisite detail that pushes my camera to the limit. Flower is non-resupinate (lip upward), and clearly mimics a hairy bug.

Condylago (Stelis) rodrigoi

These flowers are about 1/2 inch, maybe a little less. It blooms sequentially on each inflorescence.

Trichopilia tortilis

This is native to southern Mexico as well as Central America. I find the genus tricky to grow, but this one does better for me than most. Their ideal temperature range is somewhat narrow, not liking either heat or cold. But the flower is worth the effort!

Epidendrum parkinsonianum

Last year I got a good bloom out of my "compot" basket of Epi. parkinsonianums, this year was less good. But this individual plant put on an excellent show, with big flowers that were a bit over 6 inches. I got it on a small cork mount, and it struggled for a long time. When the roots started to grow off the mount, I tied it to a larger piece of cork, with sphagnum around the roots and between the two pieces of cork. That did the trick, keeping the plant hydrated better.

Epigeneium triflorum var. orientale

A native of Java, at elevations from 1000-1700 m. It blooms at least twice a year. I grow several members of the genus, and find that all do better after climbing out of their basket or off their mount.

Maxillaria scalariformis

This native of Panama comes from elevations of 1000-1300 m according to so should tolerate cool temperatures. Andy Phillips grows it in an unsheltered area in Encinitas. However, I have killed several, getting crown rot during the winter. They need to stay very wet. For the last seveal years, I have moved it to the greenhouse during the coldest winter months, and it has thrived. So while it should grow well outside all year, for me it seems to need a little pampering. It definitely blooms bettter being outside most of the year, blooming at least twice a year.


Specklinia endotrachys

This brilliant little Pleurothallid is a sequential bloomer. When I got it, about 10 years ago, it bloomed regularly for about 3 years, then the spike dried up and it looked like it might be dying. However, it put out new growth, and at last, it has started to bloom again. The flower is only 1/2 to 3/4 inch, but the color makes it very visible among all of its bench-mates.

Arpophyllym giganteum

This grows in, and somewhat out of, a 10 inch basket. The flowers are hummingbird magnets - it's been awhile, but I did capture a photo of a hummingbird sampling it, which I have on my website.

In the greenhouse...

Gongora scaphephorus

This is capable of getting a LOT bigger, but after some years of languishing, is finally growing better and blooming nicely. A close relative of Stanhopea, it has a similar bloom habit. To me, the flowers almost look ready to bite. It grows in Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru at around 1000 m or below, so is a relatively warm grower.

Encyclia randii

Native to the state of Amazonas in Brazil. This is the first time that it has bloomed for me.

Zelenkoa onusta (Oncidium onustum)

The flowers almost glow. It blooms several times a year, and the flowers are quite long-lasting. It is native to coastal Ecuador and Peru, in an area with humidity but scant rainfall. My plant gets more water than it needs, but since it is mounted it dries quickly and that seems to be sufficient.