Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dendrobium Bohemian Rhapsody, Den loddigesii x Den cucullatum

A beautiful form with heart shaped lip

A smaller clone with poorer flowers and an oddly shaped lip

This Dendrobium is a hybrid of the species loddigesii and cucullatum.   In my experience Dendrobium loddigesii will grow well under warm conditions but will bloom poorly or not at all.   Dendrobium cucullatum will grow and bloom well under my conditions.  This hybrid has been a disappointment for me, it grows relatively well but blooms with few flowers.  This plant is capable of producing a good display of pink flowers.  I have seen a plant grown by Ed Merkle that produces a breathtakingly beautiful display of pink flowers.
My suspicion is that my conditions are just too warm for this plant to perform at its best.  I cared for this plant in ways that elicit abundant flowering from its pendent Dendrobium relatives with little to show for the effort.   Surprisingly the flowers of my two plants are very different.  One has big flowers with wide petals and sepals and a wonderful heart shaped lip.  The other one has narrow petals and sepals and a strange trumpet shaped lip.  Why these two plants of the same hybrid are so different is a mystery to me as primary hybrids tend to be quite similar, perhaps different forms of the species were used to make the two of them.  Since they bloom weakly I keep them mainly as curiosities.  Perhaps growers that can supply the proper seasonally cooler temperatures will probably be able to enjoy really good blooming from this orchid.

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