Monday, October 24, 2011

Orchid Walks

Besides the walk David and I had done near Worcester, I have been to some other locations as well to photograph some orchid species in situ. I had been to Gansbaai a few weeks back and found some good colonies of Satyrium carneum and Bonatea speciosa. Unfortunately the B. speciosa had already flowered and was starting to die back and I did not get any pics.

Satyrium carneum

S. carneum colony on the dunes

S. carneum

I had also been to Klienmond a while back and went to explore a recently burnt area near the Palmiet river. I had found some species but the photos are not that great as my camera lens was a little dirty.

Disa conferta

D. conferta close up.

Holothrix sp.

Disa bracteata
Satyrium sp.
Satyrium parviflorum
Disa atrorubens
D. atrorubens var. unknown
This past weekend David and I went for a walk in the local mountains here in Worcester and got some good photographs of orchid species.

Ceratandra sp.

I first thought this was Ceratandra bicolor. I have not been able to identify this species.

Ceratandra colonies.
Colony close up.

Pterygodium acutifolium
P. acutifolium close up.
Satyrium bracteatum

We had seen many other species that where not in flower yet. Hopefully I will be able to get up there and take some pics of them in a few weeks.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gorgeous flowers and a walk over the mountain

Many of you who know me will know that I have never really had much enthusiasm for the Catlleya alliance. I "inherited" some seriously large and old specimen plants when I purchased the greenhouse from an elderly gentleman earlier this year. The plants were unfortunately neglected but after some loving care they recovered well and many of them have rewarded me with some exotic and very beautiful flowers. I have a new-found fondness for these flowers... and they are growing on me :). I have attached images of flowering Laeliocattleya Tropical Pointer "Galaxy" and Rhyncholaelia digbyana X (Cattleya Snowdrift X C. Eucharis). The latter gives off a very strong fragrance in the morning which fills the entire greenhouse.
Laeliocattleya Tropical Pointer "Galaxy"
Rhyncholaelia digbyana X (Cattleya Snowdrift X C. Eucharis)
This weekend I was invited to visit Bradley in Worcester for a hike up the mountain looking for any local species that might be in flower that we could photograph. We were keen to see if any Disa species were flowering. Apart from the odd Satyrium species that had already finished flowering and had set seeds, we came accross some very interesting species. The Disa atricapilla were out in force and we discovered quite a number of them just about to flower. Unfortunately we could not find any with open blooms. We also found a curious little yellow Ceratandra species. Bradley took some good photos of the flower to get it identified. The walk was great and it was wonderful to see these local species in their natural habitat. What surprised me the most was how confined they seem to be to isolated patches of microhabitat. You could find a significant grouping of these species together in one area but nowhere else for tens or hundreds of metres. I had a wonderful time and I hope that Bradley posts some of his images soon :)

The view
Disa atricapilla
Ceratandra sp. with buds
Bradley preparing to photograph Ceratandra sp. open flower

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The new laminar flow and some October babies

Finally, after waiting nearly two months I received my Hepa filter from Germany and installed it into the new laminar flow hood. The laminar flow was built according to the specifications that I put up on the blog in a previous post. I cautiously tested the unit the other day for any contamination. I ran the hood for 30 minutes with an open plate of medium and then incubated the plate for 72 hours to check for microbiological contamination. After all was well, I started to play. I must say that it makes working with seeds and re-plates a lot less stressful. Still, I have a healthy respect for sterility :)

Laminar flow in use
I have had marked success recently with some Dendrobium species from Thailand and some of my own seeds. My dry seed protocol is working well now, even with slightly more sensitive species. I have attached some images of germinating seeds of some of the Dendrobium species and some others below. However, I am having a few issues with Phalaenopsis protocorms. I get good germination but poor protocorm differentiation currently. I am tweaking the media to eliminate possible causes and hopefully soon, through process of elimintaion, I can report back with some better success here. So far, I have managed to raise a few P. lowii protocorms and some P. purple gems. More mother flasks of various hybrids are awaiting germination on tweaked media.

Dendrobium griffithianum
Dendrobium hercoglossum
Dendrobium heterocarpum
Dendrobium lituiflorum
Dendrobium parishii
Dendrobium signatum

Dendrobium wardianum

Anacheilium cochleatum
Dendrobium annosum
My Eulophias are also doing very well. I seem to have tackled the proliferation problem of the protocorms with a change of media type and have since moved some seedlings of Eulophia speciosa into the greenhouse to grow on further. I have attached some images here of Casper's E. angolensis and E. clavicornis that are nearing readiness to be sent off. I have also included images of the developing seedlings of Bradley's Mystacidium capense and my Polystachya anceps.

Casper's Eulophia clavicornis
Casper's Eulophia angolensis
Polystachya anceps
Bradley's Mystacidium capense
Lastly, I have included a few images of my flowering Cyrtorchis chailuana. I have been looking forward to these flowers for a while and they are heavily scented in the evening to attract hawk moths. I have selfed a few and have two pods developing. Bradley was kind enough to give me some Angraecum eberneum pollen to use in hybridisation but none of these took unfortunately.

Cyrtorchis chailuana