Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Tolumnia variegata (Sw.) Braem 1986, with flowers that appear to lack anthocyanin, these flowers are unlike any I have ever seen in the wild.

Photograph with flash

Photograph with natural light

Tolumnia variegata is one of the most common orchids in Puerto Rico.  It is often found in association with coffee plants, so its common name is "little angel of the coffee plantation".  Over the years I have seen, hundreds, maybe thousands of flowers of this species, in inflorescences of plants growing in the forest in Rio Abajo and in other types of habitats, from dry coastal scrub to moist karst forest.   The flowers usually have the same colors although they vary in size and number of flowers in the inflorescence.   A friend showed me this plant.  The flowers seem to lack anthocyanin, the pigment that produces purple and red color in the flowers.  My friend, who has seen even more Tolumnia flowers than me agrees that this plant is unique.  Sadly because it has been raining copiously in the last two weeks, only one of the flowers was in good condition.  The others were spotted or had sooty mold over them.  I am not sure what is the way to describe this variant of the species.  But it reminds me of an alba type flower.  There will be an effort to self the flowers so that seed might be collected.  Hopefully it will be successful so that the genetics of this variant might be preserved.

Typical Tolumnia variegata from the locality this plant was seen

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Den. Ueang Pheung (Den. jenkinsii x Den. aggregatum) cultural notes

This hybrid is the product of the cross of two similar especies.  The species are so similar that some consider them the same species.  Dendrobium (aggregatum) lyndleyi produces long inflorescences of yellow flowers.  Dendrobium jenkinsii produces one or two flowered inflorescences of relatively large flowers that can rival the size of the cane that produced them.  The culture for both species is identical.   I decided to grow this plant in a wire basket instead of the usual tree fern trunk due to the fact that the warm and wet weather of my locality tends to speed the bacterial decay tree fern to such an extent that in a few years. if it is subjected to a steady stream of fertilizer, it becomes soft and begins to break down.  

The only differences I have noted between the hybrid and the species Dendrobium lydleyi is that the species needs a stronger, longer exposure to the sun to bloom well.  And that the species will sometimes bloom poorly if it is watered during the coldest driest part of the year.


Light: Bright light, a few hours of full sun in the morning, but the plants are protected from the midday sun.  The rest of the day it is shaded by trees. 

Temperature:  In my climate, the temperatures are the lowest in February when they go down to 14 C.  From June to October the high temperatures are 32 C.  The plant grows well in this range.

Watering: The plant is watered every three to two days, when the basket is approaching dryness.  It is only watered in the dry season, the rest of the year the local rain pattern gives it enough water to sustain growth.

Fertilizer:  It is given a 20-20-20 fertilizer but only if it is showing new growths.  When the plant starts a growth cycle, a small quantity of manure is put over the potting material.

Potting:  In a wire basket, in medium bark.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Cattleya nobilior Rchb.f 1883, grown near the town of Lares, Puerto Rico

The interior of the island of Puerto Rico is mountainous and because of this the temperatures are cooler than in the coast and environmental humidity is higher.  This produces favorable climatic conditions for the successful culture of many types of orchids.  This plant was grown near the town of Lares.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Sarcoglottis sceptrodes (Rchb. f.) Schltr. 1920,

Photographed in 2019 at the 70 annual Puerto Rico orchid society show in the Jardin Botanico de Rio Piedras.