Sunday, September 4, 2011

My little Auzzie Greenhoods (and flowering Aerangis modesta)

I have been looking forward to writing this article for a few weeks already and I have been closely watching my Pterostylis X furcillata growing and spiking. The first of the flowers opened recently. The inflorescence is thin and about 30cm tall and carries a single flower.

This little Australian terrestrial Greenhood or snail orchid is considered a natural hybrid between P. ophioglossia and P. alveata and grows in New South Whales. Like many of our South African terrestrials it is dormant in Summer. Mine have probably flowered a bit early (or late) since I got them from a friend of mine from the Netherlands. They will probably adjust to the Southern hemisphere as time progresses. I grew mine from dormant tubers. The tubers are tiny, about the size of a large pea. I potted them up in a pot of Fynbos mix (from Stodels) that I have mixed with leaf litter compost from under a patch of Eucalyptus trees that grow on the farm. I initially left the pot outside in the cold for about two weeks before transferring it into the greenhouse. About a week later the tiny shoots had begun to emerge and thereafter the plants grew very quickly. These plants form compact colonies relatively quickly so in time I hope to have an impressive display. In the mean time I could not pass off the opportunity to dissect a flower or two to polinate. I hope that the pollination will be successful although I am not sure if this natural hybrid can produce viable seeds? I have included an image of the dissected flower to show its internal structures.

I must say that I find some of the terrestrial orchids very appealing. They are a  lot more demanding in some ways to some of my epiphytes and watering certainly seems to be a double-edged sword. I am slowly learning as I work with different terrestrials through trial and error.

Pterostylis X furcillata side profile
Another view
Dissected and pollinated flower
Also, I thought I would squeeze a few images of my flowering Aerangis modesta into this post. The first flower opened yesterday afernoon with more opening by evening. The greenhouse is filled with the wonderful scent of the flowers at night! I will self some of these and will also try some intergeneric crosses as well.

Aerangis modesta in bud
Aerangis modesta first bloom

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