So, the Dracula indulgence continues. Dracula sodiroi is an intermediate to cool growing terrestrial or epiphytic species named after Father Sadira who first discovered it in 1900. It grows in the northwestern regions of the Pichincha provice in Ecuador at altitudes between 1800 to 2300 meters. The bell shaped flowers form on erect racemes and the pendant growing style further enhances the bell connection. Apparently the characteristic to produce more than one flower at the same time on this erect raceme is rather unique within the genus. According to the book Draculas of Ecuador, the flowers of subsp. erytrocodon are bright red color in contrast to the orange color of the typical form. I rather prefer this lovely shade of red and I am glad mine turned out to be that of the latter. But of course Kew does not recognize the subspecies definition. It is quite sensitive to drops in humidity, last year the flowers would not open all the way, and this year the tips of the sepals have shriveled ever so slightly, but I am still very pleased as it is at least an improvement from last year. Besides, I am just happy that is is blooming. I lost more than 50% of the plant mass last year during the devastating fungus outbreak. I grow it potted in the cool vivarium under low light, rather wet and in high humidity with good air circulation. Dracula sodiroi (Schltr.) Luer, Selbyana 2: 197 (1978). Synonym: Dracula sodiroi subsp. erythrocodon Luer & Dalström, Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 64: 125 (1997).
I bought this lovely species from Ecuagenera under the name Dracula trichroma, which apparently is a synonym to Dracula iricolor. Regardless of the name, I love the soft color scheme of the flower in contrast to the traditional provocative Dracula shape. It blooms on an erect inflorescence, which is less common in this genus, with single flowers produced in succession. It is an eiphyte from the cloud forests of Colombia to Northwestern Ecuador where it has been found at a rather broad elevation span of 900 to 2600 meters which makes it fairly temperature tolerant. It traditionally blooms in winter to spring, so I guess we are finally in phase, this being the first bloom since I got it in may of 2011. I grow it potted in the cool vivarium, low light, high humidity, good air circulation and rather wet. I adore this genus and I am very happy to report that I have many more Dracula in bud or in flower, so more on this subject later. Dracula iricolor (Rchb.f.) Luer & R.Escobar, Selbyana 7: 65, 102 (1982). Synonym: Dracula trichroma Hermans, Orchid Rev. 105: 298 (1997), nom. superfl.
I love everything about Dracula orchids, and this species does not disappoint… I love the shape of the flowers, the awesome dark red to nearly black sepaline tails an the coloring – especially from the back. I adore the icicle looking texture of the flowers and the little monkey face in the middle of the flowers just makes me smile. Dracula velutina is a medium sized cool to cold growing epiphyte from Colombia. I got this from Ecuagenera in May, and this is the first time it is blooming for me. What a treat! I grow it in the cool vivarium potted in a wide mesh plastic pot with EpiWeb substrate, low light and very humid and wet with good air circulation. Dracula velutina (Rchb.f.) Luer, Selbyana 2: 198 (1978).
This narrow leaved medium sized cool growing epiphyte comes from Peru. It was registered by Luer in 2002, but other than that there is not much information to find about this species. No collection data exists and it is not very common in cultivation. I got mine from Peruflora last spring and this is the first time it is blooming for me. The flowers are light pink with purple spots and dark red tails and very shapely with a stunning profile. I just adore it!! The lip is hinged so it quivers at the slightest motion, it is quite sensual actually. I have read that this species bloom on an erect inflorescence, but mine bloomed in a semi-pendulous fashion. I grow it in a net pot with EpiWeb substrate on the floor in the cool vivarium, low light, rather wet and very humid. Dracula is extremely fuzzy about low humidity so I make sure I maintain a relative humidity of 80% or higher in the vivarium at all times.
This lovely Dracula has been blooming for me non-stop since last summer. The four flower spikes just keep on producing new flowers one after the other. You can see the next bud on deck behind the flower in the photos. I really love the classic Dracula “monkey face” along with the spiky hairs of the flowers… they look like icicles or tiny stalactites. The plant stands about 15 cm tall and the flowers measure about 2 cm wide with nice red tails adding an additional 3 cm in each direction. I wanted to share some new photos since I finally have some proper camera equipment to document the subtle details. Dracula rezekiana is fairly easy to grow – as far as Dracula is concerned. I grow mine cool, but it is tolerant to a wider range in temperatures since it grows mainly in lowland forest from 850 meters all the way up to 1700 meters throughout eastern Ecuador. As long as you can provide adequate humidity and medium to low light it should prove a prolific bloomer. I would recommend it to anyone curious about growing Dracula.