Friday, February 13, 2015

Psychilis kraenzlinii (Bello) Sauleda 1988, from the north coast of Puerto Rico

This is Psychilis x raganii, sometimes shown as Psy. kraenzlinii Note the different coloring

These are the first flowers of Psychilis kraenzlinii I have been able to see in its native habitat.  These flowers are from the north coast, near the town of Isabela in Puerto Rico.   It is not easy to see these plants in the wild, the habitat they favor, near the coast, is also a favorite of humans, which means where there were strand of native vegetation there are now vacation homes near the beach.  Also people will collect these plants from the wild, which means that if you are in a place where humans have easy access the probability of seeing these plants in the wild is essentially nil.

I had seen these plants previously in orchid shows but never in their natural haunts.  Unfortunately these plants almost always die in captivity, due to the lack of knowledge of their cultural needs buy the people that collected them.  Paradoxically, all the ones I have seen that survived in captivity where in the hands of people that just tied them to a tree and essentially ignored them. 

There are exceptions to this rule as I have seen one or two large specimen plants in local exhibitions.  However I have been unable to talk with the owners of the large plants, so perhaps they way they cultivated the plants was to give them careful neglect.  

Psychilis kraenzlinii is sometimes confused with Psy. x raganii.  The two orchids are similar, their main difference is their color and in technical details of the callus of the lip.  Psy, raganii has a reddish color as you can see in the photo.

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