Saturday, May 9, 2015

Epidendrum jamaicense Lindley 1853, in la Sierra de Luquillo

On the fourth of May, I went on a long hike in El Yunque national forest.  I wanted to see if there were orchids blooming in the elfin woods forest.  I was stunned by what I found.    The elfin forest is located in one of the wettest spots in the island of Puerto Rico.  But on this visit I found that the forest was dry.  Normally every surface in the forest is either wet or sopping wet.  But no this time, the tree trunks were dry.   For the first time on one of my visits I could not find a single Lepanthes orchid with open flowers.

The forest was windy and cool.  When you walk in this forest usually the soil is wet and puddles are ubiquitous.   In this date the soil was moist and there were no puddles on sight.  Some of the creeks had so little water flowing that you had to get close to them to see it.

There were very few orchids with flowers, among those was Epidendrum jamaicense.  I had never seen this orchid with flowers before.  In fact if it hadn’t had flowers I would have thought they were plants of the ubiquitous Epidendrum ramosum.   The plants were growing in a tree along with Epi. angustifolium and Epi. ramosum.   They were the only Epidendrum that I saw with flowers, all others had seed capsules.  A single plant of Epi. angustifolium had a bud close to opening.

Unlike its relative, Epidendrum boricuarum, Epi. jamaicensis, as far as I now is not in cultivation locally.  It is probable that this is due to the fact that it is not as common as boricuarum and few people are familiar with it.   It produces only a few nodding flowers in a hanging inflorescence.  

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