Monday, May 20, 2013

May babies

This time of the year is particularly sparse regarding my plants but there have been a few interesting things happening over the last few days. I have noticed that my Bletillas are beginning to wake up now which is quite early and my other terrestrials are all growing like crazy. I am hoping that this Spring I will have enough variety in my flowering Satyriums to do some hybridising. Speaking of hybridising I was pleasantly surprised this afternoon to see some green protocorms forming in the flask of seeds I sowed 38 days ago of Eulophia streptopetala X Ansellia africana. This is quite unusually fast for the Eulophia parentage. Eulophias are notoriously slow. It must be the Ansellia africana in the mix. I also recently had some germination of some pure yellow Ansellia africana from a large wild plant that lives in a tree on the WBOS chairman's farm up North somewhere. I wasn't sure how mature the pods were when I sowed them but they seemed to be fine. It will be good to raise some more of these non-cultivar and purely wild representatives for collections. It's not easy to get the purely wild form anymore with the markets full of various selected cultivars!
Germinating Ansellia africana
My Bonateas (B. speciosa) are also doing well although I only have a few. I will be fine-tuning the mix later this year to produce a far more successful yield. I am hoping to raise an army of these for planting out as a flower bed in the garden. I have also focussed a significant time this year on raising Satyrium species in vitro. They are particularly difficult but I have managed to do it before and this time I will be pushing for significant numbers. Currently I am hoping that my test batch of Satyrium carneum using a modified medium with chloramphenicol will germinate. Then, at least half the battle is over. My aim this year is to work hard on the South African terrestrials! A good challenge.
Bonatea speciosa seedling
For those who are keeping an eye on the development of my Dendrobium crystallinum I have included two pictures, one on the day of replate on 6 April 2013 and today, 20 May 2013.

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