Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Some flowering Phals

True to the blog, I have been keeping a close eye on the multitude of particularly Phalaenopsis spikes that are developing in my greenhouse. I have been patiently anticipating the first flowering of P. "Brighton belle" that I had bought more than a year ago from Michael Tibbs but had used two previous spikes for cloning. I actually had not seen what the flower looked like until now. It is a beautiful large pink with dark pink venation. Incidentally, I have two stem prop clones available soon for purchase if anyone is interested...

I have included some photos of some of the flowering Phalaenopsis currently in my greenhouse.
Phalaenopsis Brighton belle
Light pink with spots
Light pink with spots
Harlequin (nice form)
Close-up large white
Red harlequin (art shade)
Red harlequin (art shade)
One of my favourites!
Very large pink
Psychedelic pink
In addition I re-potted some rapidly growing Disa bracteata yesterday because the medium I had them in became too water-logged (sand most likely became compacted). I have placed the majority of them into a shallower tray (large seedling tray) to see how they perform here. The others I have placed into a deeper pot to see how they do. I hope they all flower this year.

Disa bracteata (shallow pot)
Disa bracteata (deep pot)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Terrestrials are pushing through

I thought that a post on some more terrestrial orchids that have broken dormancy and growing well this winter,would be a good follow up on Davids post.

We have had more rain than usual here in Worcester and the temps have been a bit warmer for winter. My South African winter growing orchid species have started popping up a little early it seems. I am not complaining! I am a little excited about this years Satyriums that are going to flower as I am planning on making a few crosses. I have seen one or two Satyrium crosses at one or two orchid shows but I think there is plenty of room for hybridizing and cultivation for our local South African orchid species and share the spot light with the more well known Disa species.

Here are some pics of the Satyriums that are growing well. The first is Satyrium erectum the second is Satyrium carneum. I will be crossing these two species and selfing a few as well. Hopefully they will be available from David in the near future.

                                                    Disperis sp.                                                     
Holothrix aspera

This little orchid is already spiking and produces very intricate little flowers. Im hoping to make a Holothrix hybrid one of these days just need a suitable mate.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Satyrium princeps and the friendly staff at New Plant Nursery

It is so nice when you meet people that are friendly and so helpful! I recently spoke with Luise from New Plant Nursery in George and had put in an email request for any local terrestrial orchid species that they might keep or sell. I was most fortunate that she had some Satyrium princeps and some Eulophia parviflora available and she promptly organised these to be sent along with a shipment of other plants to Kirstenbosch gardens for me. All I had to do was collect them (thank you Luise!). All of the plants arrived safely and in very good condition. The S. princeps are growing rapidly and I can see a difference almost on a daily basis in the size of the leaves. The E. parviflora have nice plump pseudobulbs but they are not active now in the cold weather. The new Satyriums made me re-visit my other potted satyriums that I had planted last season. These too are coming up now.

Satyrium princeps is a beautiful plant. I am hoping that the plants that I have acquired do well with me and that they flower so I can set some seeds. I am very keen to try some seeds of this species and if I can get it right and get some seedlings through I am sure they would be snapped up be keen hobbyists and collectors. This species is found on the southern Cape and grows often on coastal dune sands and is pollinated by sunbirds. It is closely related to S. membranaceum with which it also naturally hibridizes (citation). There is a lovely paper by S. D. Johnson on the sunbird pollination of Satyrium species in South Africa entitled: Bird Pollination in South African Species of Satyrium (Orchidaceae) published in 1996 by The Journal of Plant Systematics and Evolution 203: 91-98.

I have atttached a few images below of my Satyriums.

Satyrium princeps

Satyrium sp. emerging

Friday, June 3, 2011

Angraecum pollination

Hi all!

My Angraecum eburneum var. superbum has been in flower for the last month now. I pollinated it as soon as the flowers had started opening. I only selfed three of the nine flowers as Im waiting for my other Angraecums to flower so I can cross pollinate.
This particular Angraecum must be one of the most adaptable species that I have. In every shade house in every garden that I have had, this orchid has not let me down and flowers every year for about four months.

People probably think to them self's why would they call this the king of Angraecum's when compared to an orchid like Angreacum sesquipedale? It is the size of the orchid plant, and it can grow into huge specimens if well maintained.

OK! lets get down to the pollinating business! I have taken some pics of the pollination and some progress of the maturing seed pod.

This is how I pollinated my Angraecum. I first removed the anther cap to reveal the pollen. Then I secure the pollen on a sterile needle. The stigmatic surface is just behind where the pollen is stored. I inserted the needle in the V shaped groove of the anther and lifted the back of the needle so the point is facing down towards the stigma, then I gently secure the pollen and pull the needle back through the V groove and the pollen stays behind.

The first signs of a successful pollination is a swollen column and sometimes the flower seems to close back onto itself. Also the ovary will start to swell in a few days.

This picture illustrates a normal ovary that has not been pollinated on the left, and one that is just over a month old. This is the first time I have pollinated this orchid and will have to wait and see how long it takes for the pod to mature. I suspect it could take 350 days or more. I'm hoping to get a good yield from this seed for future flasking.

Here are also some Stenoglottis longifolia that are a month old. These are a bit more difficult to pollinate as the reproduction organs are super small. I will blog about this one when I can take photos with a telescope! No I don't mean microscope!!