Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Bletia patula Graham 1836, a vigorous plant with cerulean flowers

This plant is a variant of the normally pink flowered species.  It was found in a vacant lot that was going to be cleaned along with plants of the typical form.  It has proven to be a floriferous and vigorous grower.  This species is not difficult to grow as long as you replicate the way they grow in the wild.  They grow in places where, when it rains, the water percolates quickly and the ground doesn't stay soping wet.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Epidendrum lacerum Lindley 1838, it is always a treat to see species from Cuba.

In Puerto Rico, the orchid market is dominated by hybrids due to their availability and relative ease of cultivation in comparison with orchid species.  However there is a small number of growers that cultivate mostly species.  Finding Cuban orchid species in cultivation is not common so it is always a pleasure to find one in bloom.  This is a species from Cuba, it is related to Epidendrum secundum but the flowers are different and they are also oriented differently in the inflorescence.

Epicatarthron Hilo Adventure (Cattleya Motte Spot x Epiarthron Kebing Mark Ragbir)

I saw this plant growing in a garden in the mountains of the west side of the Island of Puerto Rico, close to the town of Lares.  Local conditions appear to be very favorable to its growth.  It rains often, sometimes daily for weeks or even months.  Temperatures are lower that in the coast of the island.  The plant combines the genus Cattleya, Epidendrum and Caularthron.

Laeliocattleya White Spark 'Panda' a Cattleya hybrid that deviates from the norm.

An unusually shaped Cattleya tribe hybrid.  In Cattleya a flat presentation of petals and sepals is considered the most desirable configuration.  This plant is certainly not like that.  However the bright color and the curled frilly petals are very eye catching.  I like it.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ponthieva ventricosa (Griseb.) Fawc. & Rendle, a few close ups of the flowers of this Caribbean endemic

The group of plants of this species that grows near my house suffered greatly during the drought of 2015.  This year has been much wetter which has allowed he clump to recuperate somewhat.  However it is still smaller than when I first found it due to the stress it underwent during the long dry spells of last year.  It only has a fraction of the inflorescences that it used to produce.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Rhyncholaelia digbyana [Lindley]Schlechter 1918

This orchid grows well in the coast of the Island of Puerto Rico.  Warm temperatures, high humidity and plentiful sunlight are well suited to its cultivation.   

Monday, December 19, 2016

Oncidium cebolleta (Jacq.) Sw. 1800

I saw this orchid growing in an airy and sunny location in a garden near Isabela in the north coast of Puerto Rico.  Although it is a plant that does well in the hot and humid conditions of the coast of Puerto Rico, it seems to be rare in cultivation.  This is the only plant I have ever seen of this species in our Island.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Laelia anceps var. veitchiana

This plant is cultivated close to the coast in the town of Isabela, in the north coast of the Island of Puerto Rico.  It is grown in a shadehouse near the top of a hill, with plenty of air movement and humidity.  

Brassolaeliocattleya Rustic Spots

A variable and colorful hybrid that grows well in the hot coastal lowlands of Puerto Rico.  The plants show their Brassavola nodosa ancestry both in their plant and their flower form.   

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Bulbophyllum (annandalei x frostii)

This orchid is growing will in the very heart of the metropolitan area of the capital of Puerto Rico.  It is a hot and humid place and it seems to suit this hybrid well.  The flowers form is intermediate between that of the parents.

Epidendrum schlechterianum Ames 1924

This species seems to offer no challenges to cultivate in Puerto Rico.  I have seen it growing well both in hot coastal lowlands and in the cooler mountainous interior.  It needs regular watering particularly when grown in the coast where wind and high temperatures dry up fern mounts comparatively quickly.  This orchid eventually covers its mount with a mass of growths.  I photographed this plant in the garden of one of my cousins.  As you can see he grows the plant in fairly high light which causes the new growths to develop a reddish tint.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Dendrobium Andree Millar (Dendrobium atroviolaceum x Dendrobium convolutum)

I photographed this one in the 2004 Mayaguez orchid show.  The flowers are fragrant and long lasting.  Grows and blooms well in Puerto Rico.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

This is a Catasetum Jumbo hybrid, unfortunately I could not understand the second half the name in the tag.

This large and floriferous plant was shown in a local orchid show in September of 2004.  Unfortunately I have never seen it again to get the right name.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dendrobium auriculatum Ames & Quisumb. 1932, a bushy untidy small plant that produces solitary flowers from summer to winter

Although in the wild, in Philippines it is reported to grow from 900 to 1000 meters of altitude, this particular plant is doing well at sea level near the north coast of the Island of Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean.  The area where it is grown is characterized by constant wild, humidity and high temperatures that for months fluctuate between 85F and 95F, only going lower in the dry season which correspond to the temperate winter and early spring.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Dendrobium delacourii Guillaumin 1924, this is the first plant of this species that I have seen blooming in Puerto Rico

Many years ago I tried to grow this species.  In spite of my best efforts, it eventually left my garden for the great, happy, terracota pot in the sky.  I regarded it as a cool grower that would slowly shrivel and die if cultivated in the sweltering climate of coastal Puerto Rico.  But it is now clear that this plant will not only grow and thrive in the hot coastal lowlands of the island but also bloom.  My friend Karlo Javy allowed me to photograph the flowers of its plants.  The true Dendrobium delacourii is a miniature plant with canes that are quite small and measure only a few inches, between four and six.  There are other species with similar flowers but in those, the canes are larger than those of delacourii.  This orchid is in a garden in the very heart of the metropolitan area of San Juan, the capital of the Island of Puerto Rico.  The coastal lowlands of Puerto Rico can get pretty hot, with temperatures reaching into the high nineties.  On windless days it can feel as if the whole island had been dropped into an oven.  But this plant is doing well and has bloomed repeatedly.
I find the flowers of this orchid particularly interesting due to their ciliate lip, a feature that is not common in the genus Dendrobium.  

Monday, December 12, 2016

In 2004, I moved many of my orchids indoors because tropical storm Jeanne was menacing the island. It passed over Puerto Rico and went on to became the deadliest hurricane of 2004

In September of 2004 the island of Puerto Rico came under a tropical storm warning.  I was so concerned my plants would get damaged by the winds and falling branches, I moved a lot of them indoors.  The storm made landfall in the south east of the Island near Maunabo at midday September 15, it exited the Island through Mayaguez at 11 pm.  The strongest winds measured over the island were 117 km/h in San Juan, in the north of the island.  Rainfall fluctuated between 152mm and 610mm.  My location experience only light defoliation to the canopy, and very little damage to the houses.

The orchids I left outside were unharmed.  However, after I took the plants outside, I spend the next week finding frogs, spiders and cockroaches that had come in to the house hidden in the orchid pots.  It was the last time I brought such a large number of plants indoors.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Dendrobium amboinense, a closer look at the lip

The most interesting feature of the flowers of Dendrobium amboinense is their lip.  The flowers in this blooming were relatively small and the plant produced only two.  But as the plant matures and grows taller, I expect it to produce up to four large flowers.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Paphiopedilum Lady Isabel 'US Botanical Gardens' AM/AOS CCM/AOS, seen in the National Conservatory, in the summer of 2004

Dendrobium amboinense Hook. 1856, The flowers are ephemeral and highly beautiful.

I grow this plant outside in a spot where it gets a few hours of full morning sun and shade for the rest of the day.  The plant has thrived in my garden which is located at an altitude of 300 mts in the central mountains of the Island of Puerto Rico.  This is the first time it has bloomed and it is clear it still has quite a bit to grow to achieve full sized adult canes.  In the last few months it has been raining almost every day but this has not bothered this plant at all.  The flowers last a single day, but I don't mind, there are many things in life that are like that.