Thursday, June 30, 2016

Unknown Sobralia species in my garden

I brought this Sobralia a few years ago as a small, two cane plant.  It has been growing slowly but steadily since then.  It now has several canes which I expect will bloom in the coming months.  It is growing at an altitude of about 1,000 feet above see levels in the mountains of Puerto Rico.  I find this plant easy to care for and it has not given me any problems.  I only water it during the dry season, the rest of the year the local rainfall is enough to cover its needs.  The flowers last only a single day.  If the day is particularly hot and dry this will make the flowers wilt sooner.  The flowers are fragrant.  I keep the plant close to main door of the house so that I don't miss the flowers when I leave the house in the morning.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bulbophyllum Lovely Elizabeth, this clone would produce large pink inflorescences, sadly I lost it. From losing this plant I learned the wisdom of always having more than just one division of your most prized plants.

This clone was beautiful and a vigorous grower.  Sadly I lost it because it was one of my firsts Bulbophyllum and I was still learning how to keep them well in the long term.  I have brought other clones of this hybrid but they all have been smaller and redder, favoring the rothschildianum parent.

Bulbophyllum lasiochilum Parish & Rchb.f 1874, the yellow form, easy to cultivate and and a vigorous grower under my local climatic conditions

This species grows quite well in my locality.  This is the yellow form.  You can also see the "red" form which also goes by the name of Bulbophyllum breviscaphum.  The only problem this species poses for the average hobbyist is keeping the plant under control as the long internodes can result in the new growths being produced in the air instead of attached to the mount.  If well cared for this plant can produce an untidy mass of small pseudobulbs, some of which will be entirely detached from the mount.  I have written several articles about this plant and they can be found elsewhere in this blog.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Dendrobium tortile Lindley 1847, twelve years from keiki to bloom!

In April 2004 my friend Caridad brought a plant of this species in bloom to a meeting of the Mayaguez orchid society.  I admired the flowers and she gave me a small keiki that was growing on one of the canes.  I was wildly enthusiastic about this plant and quickly potted it and gave it the best care possible. In about two years it already had fully adult sized canes plump and healthy.  But then, it kept growing, but not blooming.  I tried everything, shade, full sun, semi shade, bone dry rest periods, different fertilizers in fact all the things that are said to trigger blooming in recalcitrant adult Dendrobium plants.  None made the plant bloom.  Eventually I put it under the Dendrobium anosmum plants in a place that gets scorching hot sun, and forgot about it.  The plant kept producing normal sized canes even thought it was getting absolutely no fertilizer except those that dripped from the Den, anosmum plants above it.  It spent about four years in this location growing apparently contentedly and unremarkably.   Then last most as I was checking the new season growths of the other Dendrobium, I came face to face with not one but three developing inflorescences, two on canes and one in a keiki.  I was surprised, elated and puzzled as I have no idea what triggered blooming.  Last year's dry season was exceptionally harsh, but this year's dry season has been considerably milder.  The flowers are a bit floppy and tend to go limp in the afternoon and then perk up again in the mornings.  I almost missed the opening of the flowers by dint of being in the hospital, but was lucky enough to get back home in time to see the first flowers open.  Hopefully it wont take twelve more years to bloom again.

Friday, May 6, 2016

These colonies of Sphatoglottis plicata and Spa. plicata var. alba were obliterated when the road was repaired from damage

These orchids were growing on a fern prairie next to highest point of highway 10 in Puerto Rico.  Unfortunately, the road on this spot, started cracking and slumping.  A massive rework of the down slope side of the road was done to protect the road from further damage and to repair it.  The whole area was denued and reshaped.  Some day I will return to see if the orchids have returned.  However these particular orchids are abundant in the extreme in certain estreches of this road.  In this places even constant removal of plants by people that stop to uproot them, seems to make no dent in the populations.

Tetramicra elegans [Hamilton] Cogn. 1910, here I show the flowers of a plant from cultivation, origin unknown and two flowers from plants "in situ" in the Sierra Bermeja, Puerto Rico

Cultivated plant
Cultivated plant
Cultivated plant
"in situ"
"in situ"
Tetramica elegans is an orchid that is native of Puerto Rico and can be found in dry forests in the southwest of the island.  Because it has showy flowers it also cultivated by orchidists.  The photos of the plant in cultivation are from a specimen plant that produced large, many flowered, even branched inflorescences, something I have yet to see in the wild where most of the plants I have found are small and have few flowered inflorescences none of which has been branched.  The flowers of the cultivated plant are fuller, larger and more numerous than those of the wild plants.  I cannot say that this is due to some genetic condition or caused by optimal care for the cultivated plant.  The lip of the cultivated plant seems to have a pure white central stripe, but it does have a faint yellow spot in the middle.  Sadly, the friend that cultivated this plant died some years ago I can't ask him where he got the plant.  The plants from the wild are part of a large population on the Sierra Bermeja hills in Cabo Rojo.