|Grammatophyllum scriptum pod|
|Grammatophyllum speciosum pod|
Some of you who know me personally will be aware of my obsession with Grammatophyllum species. My obsession is partly due to the general paucity of Grammatophyllum species which are available in South Africa but also because to me they are simply stunning plants! These are the giants (most of them) of the orchid family. Although there are a few Grammatophyllum scriptum specimens being kept quietly in the older and more sought after local collections, these are few and far between. I am aware of a few G. scriptum var. citrinum, the yellow form in few collections (including mine) but I do not know of anyone in South Africa who has THE giant, G. speciosum. This is likely because there are few collectors who can actually house such a monster, but also possibly because this species prefers tropical conditions and strong lighting - conditions difficult to replicate in a large enough greenhouse without contributing signifcantly to load-shedding. However, if you have a large enough garden in KwaZulu Natal or even parts of the Eastern Cape, you might get away with having a few plants growing in your garden!
I took up the challenge a few years ago to try to locate anyone in the world who I could reliably get seeds from so that I could cultivate both G. scriptum and G. speciosum in vitro for my own collection as well as for other interested locals like me who just want to have something special in their collection. I am so happy to anounce that very recently I did manage to locate growers who had seeds, one in Florida in the US and another in Singapore who I have negotiated with to obtain pods of each species. The pods are always going to be a gamble but I thought it was well worth a shot. Obviously harvesting time and the pod ripeness are not under my control but I have been in contact with both growers on a monthly basis to gauge the maturity of pods for optimum harvest. Grammatophyllum speciosum is ready for harvesting and was recently removed from the mother plant. The G. scriptum pod I have been grooming over the internet for the last 9 months and soon this too will be ready. If the pods produce viable seeds I will produce a significant number of seedlings of both species. If there are any South African readers who are potentially interested in any for the future please drop me an email and I will keep your request and details listed as a priority-first list for the first available seedlings when they are ready. Drop me a mail at email@example.com
On the subject of seedlings of interesting species please also email me if you are looking for anything odd which I may have in vitro. I have some Trias species currently germinating for those who enjoy the true miniatures. The Dendrobium crystallinum babies are nearly ready too but most of these have been reserved for the WBOS anual show in September. However, I have a surplus so just shout if you are interested in a flask of this species. If there are any landscapers looking for large quantities of seedling Ansellia africana, the true wild form (non cultivar) for later in the year, please also drop me a mail!