Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The quest for members of Grammatophyllum

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 hexabothriid@gmail.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!


  1. Congratulations on sourcing seed material for these two species. It would be quite handy to have a list of plants you have in vitro and may make available somewhere on your site - I couldn't see one immediately; blogger.com's "page" functionality might be good for this.

    1. Hi James. Thanks! I will play with the Blogger page functionality when I have some time. Currently the list is short, certainly not as long as it was when I was still on the west coast! Since then I have started up again so until I manage to sort out the page thing here is what I have, although most are still very young:

      Ansellia africana
      Bonatea speciosa
      Coelogyne mooreana X C. sp (?)
      Dendrobium crystallinum
      Dendrobium gouldii
      Dendrobium lamyaea
      Epidendrum radicans
      Eulophia streptopetala X E. petersii
      Phaius tankervilleae
      Stenoglottis longifolia
      Trias oblonga

      Others in the germination pipeline:

      Acampe papillosa
      Aerides falcata
      Aerides houlletiana
      Bulbophyllum spathulatum
      Dendrobium friedricksianum
      Eulophia streptopetala
      Rhynchostylis gigantea alba
      Rhynchostylis gigantea Red
      Rhynchostylis retusa
      Trias nasuta

  2. Thanks for the updated listing :) The Pages are pretty easy to add - just click on Pages on your blog dashboard (within the Phalaenopsis Spot dashboard, rather than the "all your blogs" view) and then click on Add Page. As long as your template supports them (it ought to) they'll show up as soon as your click "publish". :)

    1. Thanks James. I have done so. I hope it is working... seems to be. I have added the page at the top of the blog under "the availability list"