November 2021



From Lynn Wiand:

All orchids grown outdoors, coastal southern California

Gongora cassidea


Miltonia candida

Brazil - very nice fragrance

Pleurothallis strupifolia




From Scott McGregor:

All orchids grown outdoors, coastal southern California

Catasetum expansum

Catasetums have sexually dimorphic flowers, which means that they produce flowers of different genders that can look dramatically different.  This year I got female flowers (above) and last year I got male flowers on the same plant (right).  I grow these outside in an area that gets several hours of full mid-day sun—despite the delicate-looking pleated leaves, the plants seem to like it.  I leave this one outside all year, but in a rain-protected space so it doesn’t get too wet in the winter.

Cattleya (Sophronitis) pygmaea

Appropriately named as one of the smallest of the Sophronitis species.  Sorry for the fuzzy pics-- this is a tough one to photograph with amateur equipment since most phone and consumer cameras boost the red and orange tones so people have more pleasing skin tones.  When you have a flower that is already fully saturated red/orange, it turns into somewhat of a blur.  I find Sophronitis species grow best for me mounted directly on the substrate (little or no sphagnum) with bright light and frequent water.

Ceratochilus biglandulosus

Here’s a better pic of C. biglandulosus—it decided to open a second flower after the first one has been open almost a month, so definitely an amazing flower-to-plant ratio on this cute mini

Oerstedella (Epidendrum) schweinfurthianum

I like this species so much I bought another one, even though my first is already a 4’ tall, 3’ around bush!  This mostly terrestrial species likes a few hours of full sun and a big pot, and rewards you with 12” x 6” bouquets of intense orange and magenta flowers at the end of each of many mature canes.  It begins to bloom in July or August and holds its flowers until November or even December some years.  See if you can spot the pollinated flower (it turns a uniform red/orange).

Cleisocentron merrilianum

Always searching for true blue orchids and this is one of the best—C. merrillianum is the terete species from Borneo (the semi-terete species is C. gokusingii).  These pics are straight out of the camera—no color editing, just cropping.


Miltonia moreliana

How can you not grow M. moreliana?  Easy and tolerant, rapidly grows into a specimen, large 4” purple flowers, fragrant flowers last a month or more-- what’s not to like?

Restrepia antennifera (spotted form)

One of the easier Restrepias—this one comes in spotted and the more common striped form.  I see two eyes and a big bulbous nose!

Restrepia sanguinea

With the cooler weather, it is Restrepia season!  This one is named for its blood-red color.

Restrepia contorta

With the cooler Autumn evenings, the Restrepias are starting to perk up and flower.

Schoenorchis juncifolia

I’ve really come to like this species—it flush blooms once per year or so, but sporadically blooms throughout most of the year so usually has a miniature wisteria-like pendant spike or two.  With the long, terete, pine-needle-like leaves, it looks nice even out of bloom.

Spiranthes odorata 'Chadd's Ford'

Commonly called “ladies tresses”, and native to the Southeastern US from Texas up through Delaware.  An easy terrestrial with fragrant white flowers.  If you let the flowers self-pollinate and go to seed, you’ll find this sprouting everywhere in your collection.

Sobralia (not) macra

Originally sold as S. macra, but now determined to be an unidentified species.  The plants are narrow leaved and quite small for a Sobralia, only about 14” tall.  It starts the flowering season with a few flowers emerging from the top of mature canes (above, like most Sobralias), but then does most of its blooming from short, leafless spikes emerging from the bottom of the plant (right) and probably resting on the ground.  Maybe supporting two different pollinators?

Ceratostylis retisquama

A new one for me and blooming for the first time with a few flowers.  The web says this grows “warm to hot” in the Philippines at altitudes less than 500 meters and Andy lists this as 58F minimum, so hopefully it will make it through the winter!


From Roberta Fox:


Outside in the Back Yard:

Cattleya labiata

A "family portrait". All in one month, I had the rubra, alba, and coerulea forms of this beautiful species in bloom. The alba is classic shape for the species, flowers about 5 inches. The coerulea was line bred from select parents, with 6 inch flowers, and wider petals. The rubra is smaller, flowers only about 4 inches, but very round. It has wonderful form from a human aesthetic point of view, but doesn't look like the species. I am sure that a pollinator would not recognize it. (It is a selfing of a cultivar with German and Brazilian awards, according to its tag) Or, it is mislabeled and is really something else. (Would not be the first time that has happened)

Coelogyne flaccida

As its name implies, the inflorescence is very soft and floppy. It is gracefully pendant. The lip has intricate keels, and also stripes on the side lobes. Both serve as guides for the pollinators.

Pelatantheria insectifera

The Vandaceous plant has rambled around the mount. Usually the cute little flowers are tucked in the leaves but this group sprouted in a leafless area, making them much easier to photograph. This is a SBOE $7.50 special that has grown very vigorously.

Diplocaulobium (Dendrobium) stelliferum

Last year I got a nice flush bloom, this year only two flowers. It seems to bloom only once a year (unlike other Diplocaulobiums). What makes this species distinctive for the genus is the flower life. The flowers of most Diplocaulobiums last a day at best, usually less. If you blink, you have missed them. On this one, the flowers last 4 to 5 days. The photo on the left was taken on October 15, the one on the right (same flower) was taken on October 19. The next day the flowers just started to collapse, were done on the 21st.

Scaphosepalum gibberosum

My Scaphosepalums tend to not get into the monthly blog because they bloom on and off all year, and so get neglected. Most of the flowers are small, but they are extremely intricate. Sspm. gibberosum is one of the largest species in the genus, with flowers that are almost 3 inches across, with a 2 inch lip. It blooms sequentially on each inflorescence, which can produce flowers for two years or more.

Scaphosepalum merinoi

Similar in form to Sspm. gibberosum, but much smaller.

Scaphosepalum swertifolum ssp. exiguum

The scapes bearing the flowers are short, but still produce multiple flowers in sequence

Scaphosepalum verrucosum

This plant is perpetually in bloom. It's another $7.50 special that has done very well. It took awhile for it to get well established, but once it started producing multiple spikes, it has been going non-stop.

Trisetella triglochin

A miniature plant with miniature flowers. It produces the occasional flower much of the time, but here we have a flush bloom. This is a species that I saw along the Rio Negro in Brazil (hot ant tropical) , but it also occurs in Ecuador at higher elevations and does fine in my back yard. This is one very adaptable little species.

Barkeria lindleyana ssp. vanneriana

Native to much of southern Mexico and Central America. I have learned (the hard way) not to cut the spikes after the flowers drop - it is easy to cut too far down, into live tissue. I wait until the following year, when it is ready to bloom again, then the top dead part is brittle and snaps off easily. The photo on the right shows the copious root system. Originally it was mounted, but the mount eventualy rotted away. I just put a zip tie through the root ball to hang it. Barkerias need to have their roots free, they hate pots.

Barkeria scandens

Native to southern Mexico. I got this as a bare-root keiki a bit over two years ago. This is its second blooming, and gets better as it gets bigger. I love the brilliant color saturation.

Laelia pumila 'Black Diamond'

A two inch flower on a rather scrawny three-inch plant, so a great flower-to plant ratio. The plant grows very slowly... I hope for it to grow multiple leads, to get a better display.

Dendrobium virgineum

Native to the Himilayas, China, and southeast Asia. It is semi-deciduous, but I don't particularly dry it out, Being mounted, it dries quickly and that clearly is sufficient for blooming.

Pleurothallis strupifolia

Mine is blooming too... Here is a close look a the fascinating flowers.

Prothechea garciana

The flowers are non-resupinate (lip at the top). Flowers are long-lasting, but they fade as they age, so color saturation is best shortly after they open. The plant has many more buds, but seems to be opening them just a few at a time.

Stenoglottis longifolia

This African terrestrial is an extremely reliable bloomer. The rosettes of leaves emerge during the spring and summer, then the spike opens slowly from bottom to top. By the time the last flowers are opening, in about two months, the leaves are almost gone. It doesn't have much of a dormancy. The new growth starts very shortly after the spike and leaves die back, so I water it all year.

In the greenhouse...

Dendrobium auriculatum

Flowers are produced on and off much of the year, blooming from both leafed and leafless canes. It does need to grow on the warm side, so in the greenhouse.

Coelogyne monilirachis

Flowers are produced sequentially from each inflorescence (rachis). Each bump on the rachis was the site of an earlier flower. It is in bloom most of the time, but right now it is producing more of a flush bloom. Leaves are bronze, the red pigment almost hiding the green.

Phalaenopsis pulchra

Flowers have heavy substance and a glossy surface, looking almost like plastic.

Dendrobium cinnabarinum

In bloom again... the plant is producing several new canes. Flowers seem to mostly appear on old ones, but eventually I think this plant will be pretty spectacular if more of the growths start producing flowers.