Thursday, April 21, 2011

Grammatophyllum stapeliiflorum, flowers that look like the result of a night of drunken carousing between an orchid an a bat


A close up of the flower showing the lip


Unlike other Grammatophyllum, the inflorescences of stapeliiflorum grow downwards and are strongly pendent.


This small Grammatophyllum can be found in the forests of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Phillipines.  It grows under hot to warm conditions.  In my garden it grows well alongside my other Grammatophyllum and thrives under the same care.  How to care for Grammatophyllum is described elsewhere in this blog, the plant gets the same care as elegans.  Originally this plant was grown shadier than the other of the same genus because I got it as a seedling.  But as it reached adult size it failed to bloom.  


I moved it to brighter light with a few hours of full sun in the morning and the plant bloomed in its season that year.  In 2011 the plant started blooming in the first week of April.  The flowers last well and unlike other orchids they have not been damaged by local insects or birds.  The flowers are said to produce a foul odor but my plant only produces a fairly innocuous resinous fragrance that is not strong.  This plant has proven to be problem and pest free but unfortunately the high light conditions needed to promote good flowering don't help with having a spotless foliage.


Although this is a highly desirable orchid it seems it has only become available to the average hobbyist in recent times.  I have not seen it exhibited locally perhaps because its blooming season falls between the mayor spring and autumn  orchid shows.  This plant has been variously classified as a Grammangis, a Cymbidium and Sadokum.  I would recommend it for people that want to cultivate a member of the Grammatophyllum tribe but lack the space for the larger species.

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