Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A toadstool in the pot of Miltonia Earl Dunn

Early in the year, during the local dry season, I put a few pieces of very dry horse manure on top of the media of a Miltonia Earl Dunn.  I wondered if the addition of manure would have a positive influence on the growth of the plant.  When the rainy season arrived, the Miltonia started growing but the manure didn't seem to make any difference in its growth rate or the size of the pseudobulbs that were produced.  About two weeks ago tropical storm Bertha passed close to the island of Puerto Rico, it brought with it copious rain.  In two days 7.30 inches of rain accumulated, which is roughly about the same quantity of rain we would get in the months of June and July.  The heavy rainy spell stimulated many plants, Dendrobium crumenatum plants in bloom were everywhere in the island, my Dendrobium equitans plant is full of buds and Stanhopea panamensis developed two inflorescences.  But orchids were not the only ones to react to the increased humidity.

This morning I saw this delicate toadstool growing out of the pot of the Miltonia Earl Dunn.  The toadstool was very delicate, I am sure simply touching it would have damaged the cap.  The toadstool was in pristine condition during the morning before the day got hot.  Today was a singularly hot and dry day.  When I checked the toadstool it had become dehydrated and had collapsed.  My suspicious is that the addition of manure allowed this fungus to colonize the media of the Miltonia.  I occasionally find toadstools in the pots of other  orchids but usually they are quite small and inconspicuous.  This is the largest one I have ever seen.

The Miltonia doesn't show any sign that the fungus is harming it.  Given the warm, tropical conditions that are the norm in my garden, fungus are everywhere.   Even thought themedia has been colonized by this fungus, it doesn't look too decayed and the Miltonia roots seem healthy.

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