Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stanhopea oculata flowering and some early terrestrials

I have been diligently photographing the daily progress of my Stanhopea oculata that hangs outside my front door. Each day I have been getting closer to seeing the flowers open and today they did! It is interesting to note the differences in the development of the buds as they mature. According to the IOSPE website, this species is found in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Venezuela and Southern Brazil. It is an epiphyte or a terrestrial orchid and can be grown in cooler conditions but it does prefer good humidity. I am going to attempt to set a pod on my plant to see how it develops which I will also document. If I am successful and I get some seeds from it I will also attempt to raise some from seed. I have included some images taken of the developing buds 3 days, 2 days and 1 day before flowering.
I recently glanced over my pots of what I thought were still dormant terrestrials and I was surprised to see that many of them have actually broken dormancy already and some are already pushing out shoots. Most of my Satyrium species and Corycium orobanchoides are active now but in contrast my Eulophias are entering their stage of dormancy now so I am keeping them dry (Summer rainfall species). I have just re-potted my Eulophia parviflora which made several large tubers in the past year but did not flower. I think we may be in for an early winter if these plants are anything to go by. I have begun feeding the active terrestrials with high magnesium to boost their developing foliage. I want to keep them smart-looking to show later in the year when they are all in bloom (hopefully).
Satyrium carneum waking up
S. coriifolium just breaking through
Corycium orobanchoides

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Some blooms in March

I have very few plants that are flowering at present. Things are a bit green in the greenhouse although there are a few plants that are sprouting some early buds. The Phalaenopsis species and hybrids have woken up and are all sending out spikes now. The first of these to flower will be P. aphrodite which always seems to be the earliest of the lot to flower with the exception of P. mannii which just seems to do its own thing every year.

I have never really had much success flowering Brassias before alhough one of my first orchids I bought was a Brassia hybrid and I admired the blooms for their weird shape. I acquired a very old Brassia Rex with a Stellenkloof label a few years ago. It has completely out-grown its pot but I always thought that I would just leave it for another year to see if this time it would actually flower for me. Of course it never did so its condition eventually changed from pot-bound to "I have just eaten the whole pot." this year I got sick of it and hung it up in a tree outside and neglected it for the most part. I was somewhat surprised recently when it sent out a spike! Maybe a gesture of apology? A friend of mine in Hermanus also has a Brassia Rex in flower at the moment, Brassia Rex 'White river' so I pollinated one of my flowers with some pollen from one of his plant's flowers. I have always wanted to raise some baby Brassias and hopefully I will get the chance in the near future.
Brassia Rex flower close-up
Brassia Rex in flower finally!
Another stunning orchid genus of which I have always wanted to try various species from seed is Stanhopea. Funny, I never actually kept these until recently. I got a small S. oculata at the beginning of the year from Bradley and re-potted it in a hanging basket outside my front door. It was small so I didnt expect that it would send out a rather large spike recently. I will update the blog with photos of the flowers when they open.
Stanhopea oculata in bud

Friday, March 15, 2013

Import regulations for South Africa: Orchid flasks and plants

Well, since I have recently been wading through loads of bureaucracy that our South African government departments are so fond of, I have decided that it would be useful to know what the regulations are regarding the importation of orchid flasks and plants into South Africa. So, when you next consider importing some flasks and plants for your collection, remember the following and avoid tears at Customs.
The regulations for importing orchids or flasks of orchids are governed by the Agricultural Pests Act (Act 36 of 1983), given regulation R1013: Importation of Controlled Goods Without a Permit (26 May 1989). The Act can be obtained here. Regulation R1013 can be obtained here.

You DO NOT need to fill out an application for an import permit for orchid flasks or orchid plants under the Act. Regulation R1013 makes provision for this providing the following conditions of excemption:
a. The applicable requirements specified in column 2 of Table 1 opposite a particular class of controlled goods shall be complied with in respect of each consignment of that class of controlled goods. [This is referring to Regulation R1013 where plant families and physical parts thereof are listed in Table 1 with or without connecting restrictions as a code number with definitions given in the regulation]
b. The controlled goods concerned may only be imported through a port of entry specified in Table 3.
c. Each consignment of controlled goods shall be presented to the executive officer at the port of entry thereof for such inspection as he may deem necessary.
d. The certificate [here they are referring to your Phytosanitary certificate which you will need to obtain] that accompanies a consignment of controlled goods shall be retained by the executive officer.
e. No consignment of controlled goods may be removed from the port of entry thereof before the executive officer has consented thereto in writing.
Table 1.
Controlled goods exempted from permits, and requirements of exemption 
"Phytosanitary certificate is required but no additional declaration is required: Orchidaceae"
"6. Tissue culture in vitro of species of the following genera and families: Orchidaceae [with code AD 8]"
Definitions of code generated for 6.
(j) "AD 8" means that the applicable certificate [your phytosanitary certificate] shall contain an additional declaration that the tissue culture or tissue culture transplants comprising the consignment concerned was obtained from mother plants that are practically free from virus and other diseases.
1. You dont need an import permit
2. You need a phytosanitary certificate for both flasks and orchid plants imported
3. You need an additional declaration on the phytosanitary certificate for flasks stating that the mother stock of the tissue culture is practically free of virus and other diseases

Monday, March 4, 2013

New babies hardening off (and some already done)

Well, it has been a long wait to finally see the fruits of all the hard work over the last two years raising various species from seed. I recently received a few returns from Richard which were in excellent condition and ready to harden off. Most of these are in the process of hardening off now although I did have some initial problems with Dendrobium lindleyi and fungus. All the seedlings are currently in the incubator and will remain here for the first two to three weeks before being moved to the greenhouse. All names below are linked to images of their flowers.
Dendrobium findlayanum var. oculatum
Dendrobium hercoglossum mounted
Dendrobium lindleyi
Dendrobium unicum
Acampe rigida
Acrolophia capensis
Dendrobium anosmum
Dendrobium cristyanum
Dendrobium farmeri
Dendrobium harveyanum
Dendrobium heterocarpum
Dendrobium primulinum yellow
Dendrobium ravanii mounted
Dendrobium scabrilingue