Monday, July 22, 2013

In shades of green

My first flower of Satyrium odorum opened today after waiting and watching carefully. These flowers are small and quite drab compared to some of the other more visually pleasing species like S. carneum and S. coriifolium. The reason lies in its pollination strategy. Satyrium odorum does not need to spend huge amounts of energy to create visual advertisments to attract it's pollinators like the other two species mentioned previously. They are pollinated by moths and to get this right they give off a stong scent which is particularly strong at night as you would expect. The smell of the flowers (at least the ones I have here in Hermanus) are strikingly familiar and remind me of a mix of bubblegum and clove oil. Not unpleasant at all. That said, the ones on the west coast on the farm I lived on previously smelled very different. These plants' flowers smelled strongly of Port Jackson pollen - not a pleasant smell at all. I wonder if anyone has done any research on this? The difference in smell may be related to the type of moth being attracted in the different areas. Something to think about.
The other shade of green comes from an intermediate-sized Cymbidium which I have which is flowering now. The plant is a medium-sized plant but the flowers are small and short and the inflorescence is actually pendulous. This year I decided to prop it up to see if I could get a different presentation. I have made a note to leave it alone for next year. The flowers are prettier when hanging over the pot.
The next shade is of course from my Dendrobium speciosum inflorescence. This one is going to look good in flower!


  1. Interesting observations on the scent in that Satyrium. I wonder if perhaps they're cryptic species?

    1. Hi James

      That would be interesting. Certainly the ones here are a lot larger than those on the West coast where I used to live. It wouldn't surprise me.