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Plant of Interest
September, 16, 2021

Caleana Major

(The Flying Duck Orchid)

This very unique orchid is native to Australia growing in the Eastern States, South Australia as well as Tasmania.
The plants grow to 50 cms in height and grow from tubers. There has been studies as to how to propagate these from
seed but apparently without success. The reason for this is mainly due the fact they are only found growing in
association with native eucalyptus trees.  There is a soil fungus in these situations which enables the orchids to grow
in tandem with the eucalypts.  The plants are a protected species and for this reason they cannot be grown commercially
or by orchid hobbyists.The orchid has an intricate pollination feature, when an insect lands on the column the labellum
drops down and traps the insect which then has to find it’s way out via the pollinia and stigma subsequently pollinating the flower.
They can be quite difficult to find as they grow among dry grasses and are not easily seen.

 

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Plant of interest
April, 24, 2021

Catasetum fimbriatum.

 

Photos courtesy of Gary Yong Gee.

 

This unusual looking flowered plant is endemic to South America’s Tropical regions.
The fringed blooms flower in late Spring an early Summer from the Pseudo bulb on a raceme about forty centimeters in length.
It flowers both male and female blooms (as pictured above) which is quite unusual.
It is a very hardy plant but just takes a little understanding of its cultural requirements.
It enjoys warm conditions of tropical to temperate climate and medium to high humidity and  good light conditions.
It has a dormant period after losing its leaves leading up to and during winter where water should  be given if there is signs of acute dehydration.
The plant becomes active again in early Spring where new growths appear and develop quite quickly, normal watering should commence when the new bulbs are actively in growth.
Potting should be done at least every two years when the plant is at the stage where the new shoots are about six centimetres in length.
A mix of medium bark and charcoal is satisfactory as the plants don’t mind drying out a little between watering.
Any well balanced fertiliser is suitable.

 

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Plant of interest
March, 21, 2020

Ludisia discolour

Ludisia discolour

 

This delightful little plant is a favourite among orchid and exotic plant enthusiasts.
It is commonly called the jewel orchid and grown for its foliage in preference to its
flowers.

 

The foliage is very attractive with its contrasting deep background and the
pin stripe white leaf veining.

Ludisia in flower

The leaves are soft and lush which is an indicator it prefers bright light but not
full sun so a shaded area is a must for these to do well.
It comes principally from south east Asia and
therefore enjoys warm growing conditions with higher humidity.

 

The plant is well suited for  growing indoors  enjoying a position of bright light.
It needs to be kept moist but  it is susceptible to rot if kept continually wet.
It is easy to cultivate by taking a stem cutting and planting it in moist potting mix.
Fertiliser applied each two to four weeks is beneficial for good growth.

 

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Plant of interest
November, 18, 2019

Rhyncolaelia digbyana.

Rhyncolaelia digbyana

Photo courtesy D. Nitschinsk.

This delightful epiphytic plant is endemic to Mexico extending down to Honduras
and enjoying the hot humid climate of those areas. It is recognised as the national
flower of Honduras.

 

It grows very well in high light but does not like full sun.To enable it to be grown in
 these conditions the plant is very robust with heavy textured flowers, leaves
and pseudo bulbs.

 

Flowers reach up to seventeen centimetres in width and have one flower per stem
and a feature is the heavily fringed labelum . Flowering  in late spring to summer
 a most likeable aspect is the flower has a wonderful intense lemon scent moreso at night.

 

Cultivation is the same as that for cattleyas but while it enjoys plenty of water in
summer, this should be restricted to reduced watering in winter.

 

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Plant of interest
August, 20, 2019

Phaius. australis.

 

Photo courtesy of Gary Yong Gee.

This genus is the largest of our native orchids with racemes growing to
one metre in length bearing up to sixteen blooms. The colours range from
yellowish green to a rusty brown shade. Ten to fifteen centimetre flowers are
borne in spring to early summer and are seen to last for weeks as they flower sequentially.

 

Distribution is along the coastline from central New South Wales to peninsular
of north Queensland and also in the Pacific Islands, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
The habitat preferred is moist to wet ground hence the orchid is sometimes
referred to as the swamp orchid.

 

The plants can be grown easily in orchid house cultivation provided it is kept moist in a semi shaded situation.

 

Phaius. australias var. bensayii

Photo courtesy of Gary Yong Gee.

 

 

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Plant of interest
June, 17, 2019

Dendrobium capituliflorum.

Den. capituliflorum               

This delightful small growing orchid is endemic to the Pacific area where it thrives in the tropical to subtropical climate of New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and adjacent areas such as Queensland.

 

It requires high humidity and a high light level and is relatively easy to grow. It has been referred to as the White Bottle brush Orchid due to the shape of the inflorences. Flowers are are creamy white with a green centre.

 

As the plant in nature is both epiphytic and lithophytic it can be grown either potted or on a medium such as cork but would require daily watering if grown on the latter.

 

It is a high feeder and should be fed weekly in the growing season but should be eased back in autumn and sparingly in winter. Likewise watering in winter  should be sparse allowing the plant to dry out for short periods but not to the detriment of the plant, recommencing when new shoots appear.

 

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Plant of interest
April, 17, 2019

 

Aerides lawrenceae

Aerides lawrenceae Aerides lawrenceae

This delightful and different orchid is favoured by orchid enthusiasts but unfortunately only seen occasionally on the show benches.

 

It is a slow grower to flowering stage but the reward is worth having one in a collection.

 

They are relatively easy to grow requiring intermediate to warm conditions with very strong light and an open medium which is free draining.

 

In the warmer months watering can be done daily particularly if the plant is chosen to be grown without medium .

 

They enjoy free flowing air movement preferably hung and the roots exposed to air.

 

The leaves grow to about thirty centres long and a width of about four centimetres.

 

The flowers have a waxy look, grow to about four centimetres wide, are of heavy substance and are highly perfumed..

 

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Plant of interest
February, 25, 2019

Grammatophyllum speciosum

Gram. wallisii

The genus Grammatophyllum is often referred to as the giant orchid

or tiger orchid. This is due to the massive size it can grow to or the

colouration of the flowers. Pseudo bulbs grow up to three metres in

length. The plant is a vigorous grower which can double in size after

just one year and has a very strong root system and it is known as

the largest orchid in the world.

It is endemic to south east Asia where it prefers warm to hot conditions

and grows in full sun or strong light. The multi flowered arching

racemes display waxy blooms are green, yellow or brown flowers covered

with purple spots.

Gram. wallisii.

 

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Plant of interest
November, 27, 2018

Dendrobium Bush Pansy

The dendrobium pansy orchid  is quite different in form to the regular phalaenthe type dendrobium which is its relative.

The diference between the two  is the lip on the pansy type is substituted by  another petal and the sepals tend to be broader which gives an overall  flat round shape not unlike a normal  garden pansy flower. This peloric shape gives it the name ‘ The Pansy Orchid ‘

This hybrid form was registered in 1988 by the D’Bush Orchid Nursery. Subsequent breeding has led to little success as the perloric form regress in the prodigeny .

 

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Plant of interest
October, 10, 2018

Angraecum. sesquipedale

( Photos courtesy of Gary Yong Gee)

This beautiful orchid is native to Madagasca and is very spectacular when in flower. The better the growth you are rewarded with more flowers. The plant can grow to about one meter in height and about sixty centimeters  wide.

Flowers are very waxy and as a consequence  can last for a couple of months. There are not a lot of roots compared to other monopodial orchids but they are usually quite thick and consequently draw moisture from the atmosphere.

The plant objects to instability and should not be repotted unless absolutely necessary, so culture should be in either large media or preferably attached to a permanent base.

High humidity is preferable and intermediate to subtropical climate is good conditions to grow this orchid. Watering should be abundant in summer but lesser in winter.

Fertilizer is preferred in the growing cycle but seldom during winter.

The interesting aspect of this orchid is the long nectar bearing spur which can exceed thirty centimeters in length which requires a special moth with a long proboscus to pollinate the flower.

 

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Plant of interest
August, 16, 2018

Warczewicella amazonicia

 

 

(Photo courtesy Gary Yong Gee.)

This delightful orchid species is native to South America growing principally

in Brazil, Equador and Peru. The plant enjoys high humidity, suitable for

temperate to hot climates but prefers shady conditions. It has no pseudo bulbs

so requires moisture at all times but not soggy plant mix. A medium of

sphagnum with an addition of perlite to keep the mix a little more open is

desirable. Flowers are about  five to six centimetres wide and about eight

centimetres high. The clear white segments are contrasted by purple striations

in the labellum. Fertilize lightly but withhold when the plant is resting.

 

 

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Plant of interest
July, 24, 2018

Thelymitra

Thelymitra

 

The Theymitra orchid is sometimes referred to as the Sun Orchid, this is because the flowers have a tendency to close up on cloudy day and at night.

They are terrestrial, perennial, sympodial and deciduous plants which are endemic to Australia and grow in the southern and eastern seaboard of the continent.

The growth emanates from tubers which have very fine roots to produce a raceme of many flowers which are quite different to other orchids. This is due to almost all segments being the same size.

Plants can be grown in a very free draining mix of compost in very bright warm sunny conditions, flowering occurs in spring to summer. Colours range from pink, blue, purple yellow and red, some have small spotting.

 

 

 

 

 

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Plant of interest
July, 3, 2018

Den. bracteosum

This plant is native to New Guinea and while it prefers a very warm climate with high humidity

it is quite comfortable growing in an intermediate to temperate area. The flowers are borne in clusters

close to the pseudo bulb as illustrated in the photo. Colours are white, off white or pale purple with

an orange labellum.

The blooms are very long lasting, can remain for months, are perfumed and are heavy to waxy substance.

The plants like plenty of water in summer, drying out between watering and tend to like less water in the

colder months.

Plants can be either potted or grown on a mount.

 

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Plant of interest
May, 19, 2018

         Ansellia  africana

Ansellia africana

 

Photos courtesy of Gary Yong Gee

These African species are quite interesting and tend to differ somewhat in cultivation from other orchids. One point of note is that if the plant is getting adequate nourishment caused by the fertilization of nitrogen then it looks like any other orchid in growth. But if it gets insufficient nourishment then it will develop roots that grow upright and tends to form a catchment area for plant litter which in turn decomposes and subsequently feeds the plant.

It is a very hardy grower and can grow pseudo bulbs up to nearly a meter in length and if left will form into a very large plant. It is so hardy that it can stand long periods of drought and in domestic cultivation if grown in pots it should have at least one to two months of no water during winter so as to prepare the plant for its next flowering.

The plant demands very high light and will grow well outside in a subtropical climate. The flowers are very attractive and the spotting can be quite varied, hence the reference to the plant sometimes called ‘ the leopard plant ‘.

 

Ansellia africana mature plant

 

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Plant of interest
April, 22, 2018

 

Bulbophyllum. grandiflorum

This unusual shaped flower is quite varied to the generally accepted form of orchids which makes it different. It is a warm grower as it comes from the tropical regions of Sumatra and New Guinea and likes to be kept quite moist.

The large hooded dorsal sepal tends to cover the tiny labellum and petals,  the ventral sepals twist below from the centre of the flower. Although the flower looks somewhat ungainly it is unique and interesting.

The plant prefers somewhat shaded conditions and does not seem to have a resting period. The flower has an unusual scent which some people do not enjoy.

 

Photo courtesy Petrens Orchids.

 

 

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Plant of interest
March, 27, 2018

 Arpophyllum giganteum

Arpophyllum giganteum is one which emanates from an area stretching from Mexico to Venezuela  and as a consequence prefers a mild to warm temperate climate.

It prefers to grow in a bright position but does not like full sun and enjoys being kept moist but not wet. The plant blooms in late winter to spring displaying a long conical head of small purple flowers neatly displayed fully around the tall central stem.

The pseudo bulbs are thin and reedy, topped with long strappy leafs. Potting mix can be varied but as a general guide bark and perlite, straight bark or even spaghnum moss are acceptable growing mediums.

The plant is considered to be quite easy to grow and because of its unusual compact perfectly aligned floral  head display it is sought after by orchid enthusiasts.

 

 

 

(Photo courtesy of Gary Yong Gee)

 

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Plant of interest diuris longafolia
March, 10, 2018

 

Diuris longifolia is an Australian native (more commonly known as the donkey orchid) which is endemic to the south east area of west Australia. I derives the common name due to the shape the petals which appear to look like donkey ears.

It is a terrestrial orchid and seems to prefer sandy loam soils but it is known to grow in heavier soils throughout its habitat. It is a tuberous perennial which grows approximately fifteen centimetres with the flower extending to about the same height.

Due to colouration on some flowers people refer to this as the pansy orchid because of the purple overlay over the yellow segments.

It is a very interesting plant but can be somewhat difficult to grow in bush house cultivation.

 

 

 

(Photo courtesy of Gary Yong Gee)

 

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Plant of interest
November, 19, 2017
Bulb. medusae

( Photo courtesy of Gary Yong Gee )

Bulbophyllum medusae

This beautiful species orchid from South East Asia is admired by all who see it for not only its beauty but its fascinating long pendulous tendrils which makes it quite unique in the orchid world.

The name is derived from the Greek legend of Medusa as the flower shape appears to represent her hair which was snakes.

It can be grown very successfully in warmer temperate climates where it enjoys higher humidity, good air circulation and moderate light. It does not like to dry out so should be kept mist and sphagnam moss would be an ideal growing medium.

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Plant of Interest
October, 20, 2017

Plant of Interest

( Photo courtesy of Gary Yong Gee)

Dracular  dalstromeii

The plant is native to Mexico and Central America including Columbia Peru and Equador and has an unusual flower sometimes referred to as the monkey face orchid due the shape of the flower which resembles the face of a monkey. It is one of the Pleurothallids, (Pleurothallis, Dracula and Masdevallia) which are quite spectacular in both their colour and shape and are favourites among orchid growers, the reason being the variety of colours including black, orange, white. brown,pink and can be a solid colour or have spots or stripes.

Housing

Light should be restricted to similar conditions to that of Phalaenopsis or Paphiopedulums as too much light will show yellowing of the leaves. Good air movement is required as well as humidity but not warmth as they prefer cooler conditions. Plants can be repotted at most times during the year and they like to have moist conditions rather than be allowed to dry out as in other orchids. Sphagnum moss is an ideal media to grow them in. They are not heavy feeders and fertilizer should be used at half the rate on a monthly basis.

General comments

The individual flower make up is quite different because the sepals are dominant and have long tails while the petals are rather small and somewhat insignificant. Plants grow from a small rhizome but do not have pseudo bulbs which is the reason they require moist but not wet media to grow well. If you are fortunate and live in a less than temperate climate you should be able to grow and flower these unusual  and fascinating orchids.

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Plant of interest
September, 24, 2017

Photo courtesy of Gary Yong Gee

Stanhopea tigrina

This orchid is uniquently different in that it must but grown in a basket or slatted wooden pot as the flower spikes grow down in the media and protrude through the bottom of the container as illustrated in the photo. Many years ago it was not understood why the plant in Kew Gardens never flowered. One day the pot was accidently broken and the flower spikes were observed trying to penetrate  unsuccessfully through the pot.

Housing

The Stanhopea genus is native to South America and consequently likes to grow in tropical conditions. Given warmth and humidity it is relatively easy to grow and flower but likes to be moist and not dry out in summer. Grown under fifty to seventy percent shade cloth with good air movement would be ideal for these to do well.

Fertilizing

Any general purpose balanced fertilizer applied fortnightly in the growing warmer months would be adequate.

General comments

Unfortunately the flowers last just for a few days and are renown for their strong perfume which some find unpleasant. But they are quite spectacular and colourful and are worthy of a spot in the greenhouse.

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Plant of interest: Maxillaria schunkeana
August, 13, 2017

Maxilliara schunkeana

Max. schunkeana was placed on the species bench and although not usually seen at  meetings is one of interest because of its unusual colour.

It is really dark purple-red but to the eye it looks black which is highly unusual in the very colourful world of orchid flowers.

Housing

As it originates  from Brazil in South America it prefers warm to cool conditions, higher humidity and likes to be kept moist but not wet.

Flowers are approximately one centimeter wide and appear from the base of the pseudo bulbs in spring to summer.

Fertilizer

A general all purpose fertilizer is satisfactory every couple of weeks throughout the year.

Potting

Can be grown successfully in sphagnum moss or a finer bark mix but not over potted bearing in mind they tend to spread out in growth.

General Comments

This fascinating orchid is not difficult to cultivate and get to flower. If you can procure one from a nursery you will have something uniquently different in your collection.

 

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John Oxley District Orchid Society
Plants of Interest May 2017
May, 13, 2017

PLANT:           Bulb. Wilmar Galaxy Star

GROWER:     C. and H. Baker

HOUSING:    Grows well in a shade house with seventy percent shade cloth cover. Enjoys good ventilation and air movement.

FEEDING:    Could be described as a heavy feeder, fertilize weekly with alternate applications of higher nitrogen and potassium fertilizer in summer and monthly in winter.

POTTING:    Tends to have a spreading growth and easily outgrows normal pots. Does better if potted in shallow saucer shape pots where it will multiply as it spreads. Can grow into an attractive specimen with many flowers.

COMMENTS: This would be an ideal plant for new growers to have in their collection as it is hardy, grows well in tropical and subtropical climates.

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