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|
|Dissected and pollinated flower|
|Aerangis modesta in bud|
|Aerangis modesta first bloom|