Monday, January 6, 2014

Little Trias cambodiana

I have never really been into Bulbophyllum species or similar orchids really. Not that they aren't gorgeous of course but they always seemed a little bit fiddly to me for some reason. Maybe just a silly misconception. Anyway, I have recently taken an interest in Bulbos and their closely related cousins the Trias species. Partly to thank for my curiosity into particularly the mini-miniatures was the availability of their seeds some time back... so I purchased a few species to sow and to try out. They all turned out to be pretty easy grown from seed and so far all those few species that I have worked on seem to be quite tough little chaps. While I moved to Hermanus in 2012 Richard plated some of my Trias cambodiana seedlings up for me which I got back in 2013. They hardened off well and seemed to acclimatise better to mounting than to seedling trays of bark chips. Currently I have moved the rest of my tray-bound seedlings to a fig-root mount to see how they get on. I am curious to see how long they take before they are mature enough to flower. The convenient thing about these tiny plants is that they don't take up much room at all, neither in flask or when mounted - a great orchid to have if you have limited space. I guess a terrarium would also suite these little gems.
Trias cambodiana is a relatively recent species discovery. It was described by Christenson in 2003, which is barely a decade ago. The flowers are small, 1.25cm wide X 1.60cm tall according to the IOSPE website and arise singly from a short inflorescence. Not as showy as Trias nasuta but still an interesting little flower which contrasts well with its foliage. I am still trying to decide what temperature range my seedlings prefer. IOSPE says cool to hot growing... my seedlings seem to prefer an even warm temperature with about 60% humidity which has encouraged new shoot growth. This species also likes frequent watering. Mine are sprayed once or twice daily depending on how hot it is.
I recently re-plated some Trias oblonga onto their final medium so these shouldn't take too much longer before they are large enough to harden up and to pot up. I also have a mystery Trias species which I have also raised from seeds which is hardened off and seems to be a bit larger than T. cambodiana. The leaf is also slightly twisted and the psuedobulb is more compressed. I will wait to see what this one is when it flowers since I purchased the seeds as Rhynchostylis gigantea! There was certainly a mixup somewhere but at least I know that the supplier I purchased the seeds from has a lovely collection of Trias and Bulbophyllum species :). One of his Bulbophyllum species I am currently raising from seeds is Bulbophyllum spathulatum (previously Rhythionanthos spathulatum). This species too has proven to be easy in vitro so far. This one however has a face only a mother (father) could love!
Trias cambodiana seedlings mounted
Trias species seedlings