After a long winter and an unusually cold and dry spring, summer has finally come to Sweden! But there were times this spring when it felt like summer would never come. You can see scars from the drought and cold all over as many plants and flowers outside did not make it. Alas, one who waits for something good… Summer is here, we have about 18 hours of daylight now and the weather has been quite agreeable for several weeks. So, we decided to move out to the seaside cottage early this year and commute to work for a while. This weekend the first load of orchids made the journey out. Over the next few weeks I will shuttle the rest of them out as well. I usually bring a few selected orchids out with me for the summer (see 2012), but I still have to shuttle back and forth to the city every four days to water the rest. I always feel like I am missing a lot, and the longer we stay the more out of touch I feel with the orchids left in the city, especially the pleurothallids. But this year, that is all about to change… Right now I am in the process of building a fantastic greenhouse, so from now on I will be able to bring all my orchids out to the coast, and extend the season from (hopefully) early May through September. A very exciting prospect! I will share more on this as the project comes to completion in the next month or so. For the time being I just keep the orchids in a temporary location where they are sheltered from the wind next to the house.
This is a wonderfully vigorous plant with nice fleshy dark green leaves and intense chocolate colored flowers. It blooms every winter for me, and this year it started sometime before the new year and just now finished after almost five months of blooming on six inflorescences. The inflorescence grow out from the midrib at mid leaf and hold a long string of nodding flowers measuring about a centimeter tall. It is a small to medium sized, warm to cool growing growing epiphyte from Mexico to Northern Venezuela where it grows at altitudes ranging from 800 to 1800 meters. I grow mine potted, although not much media will fit in the pot anymore which instead is completely full of roots. It has an amazing root system! It enjoys humid but not wet conditions under medium/ low light in the cool vivarium. Accepted Name: Stelis immersa (Linden & Rchb.f.) Pridgeon & M.W.Chase, Lindleyana 16: 263 (2001). Synonym: Pleurothallis immersa Linden & Rchb.f., Bonplandia (Hannover) 3: 224 (1855).
In my mind this is always going to be a Muscarella, but Kew want to call it Specklinia, so I guess I will fall in line. At least for the title of this post. It is a miniature epiphyte from Mexico to Central America, found at altutudes ranging from 180 to 1 380 meters. So is actually a warm to intermediate grower that I am growing cool, but it seems to be doing alright with that too. It is a very small plant, the leaves measure only about 3 cm long. It produces a rather thin and long (50 mm), successively single flowered, inflorescence with a small (5-7 mm) flower dangling at the end like a tiny butterfly. Hince its rather apt common name ”the winged Pleurothallis“. It started blooming sometime this winter, I think I missed it for a long time because it is so small, and it is still going. I grow it mounted on cork in the cool vivarium, humid wet and breezy under medium light. Accepted Name: Specklinia alata (A.Rich. & Galeotti) Solano & Soto Arenas, Icon. Orchid. 5-6: x (2002 publ. 2003). Synonyms: Specklinia hastata (Ames) Pridgeon & M.W.Chase, Lindleyana 16: 258 (2001). Muscarella marginata (Rich.) Luer, Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 105: 111 (2006).
This wonderfully strange looking orchid hail from the mountains of Central America where they can be found at elevations from 1100 to 2000 meters. It is an intermediate epiphyte that usually blooms in the spring to summer in nature, but mine started around the new year and has been blooming all winter. The flowers measure about 1 cm wide and grow on a fairly long, single descending to horizontal successively flowered inflorescence. I love the provocative, phallic shape. It asks for no excuses, just being oh so orchid! I grow it mounted on cork in the cool vivarium, very humid with good air circulation, medium wet and fairly bright, about 20 cm from the light.
This is a small intermediate growing epiphyte from Central America. It can be found in mountain cloud forest from Costa Rica to Northwestern Venezuela at altitudes ranging from 400 meters up to 2500 meters. Flowers are small, only about one centimeter long, but the nice coloration makes up for any shortcomings in size. It usually blooms in the late fall/ early winter in nature, and it has been doing the same for me this year, blooming from October through most of the winter. I grow it mounted on bark in the cool vivarium, very humid but not too wet with good air circulation and under medium light. Masdevallia striatella Rchb.f., Gard. Chron., n.s., 26: 103 (1886).