Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Some new blooms this November

I have been pleasantly surprised with the flowering of some of my plants this year, and some of the growth put on in the last two. My Papilionanthe Amy literally went from a plant of about 40 cm long in October 2016 to just over 2 m tall today, having firmly cemented itself to a wooden pillar holding up the pergola. It flowered for the first time too, but beyond the height of the roof of the pergola which made it really interesting to photograph. I think the neighbours think I am crazy.

Papilionanthe Amy is a primary hybrid between P. hookeriana (see link here) and P. tricuspidata, (see link here) originally made in 1940. It has quite unusual flowers. 

Papilionanthe Amy
Other plants in flower include Myrmecophila tibicinis, and Cymbidium aloifolium. I was hoping I might get some Coelogyne parishii blooms this year, but all I got was foliage. A note on M. tibicinis - it has a very unique fragrance, almost a spicy mixed with a sweet smell which it seems to be able to switch on very rapidly indeed immediately after watering in the morning.

Myrmecophila tibicinis
Cymbidium aloifolium

Cymbidium aloifolium close-up of flower

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Orchid research: on the hunt

Dear readers

I would like to please request your assistance. I am currently looking for a post-doctoral research opportunity in one of my two foci of interest, orchid research/ orchid conservation, or in the marine sciences. If you know of anyone looking to fill a post-doctoral position in orchid research or conservation please drop me an email at hexabothriid@gmail.com.

Many thanks, David

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Cymbidium canaliculatum growing wild on campus at JCU, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Cymbidium canaliculatum
I was shown this little colony of Cymbidium canaliculatum by one of the James Cook University Estate workers recently while organising a log for a mount for the Myrmecophyla tibicinnis. These plants are growing on top of a tall dead gum (see image below) that had preciously been cut after it had died. The plants established on their own, and I also recently found another seedling growing just a stone's throw away from these plants on a small bottlebrush tree. It is really good to see these plants doing so well. The one in the foreground has previously flowered (see dried, spent spike stalk).

High up on top of a dead gum tree
According to IOSPE, this species is found in the hollows of dead branches, and flowers in Spring. Here is a link to the university plant list, and the Atlas of Living Australia taxon page with distribution map and additional data.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Rhynchostylis gigantea alba flowering again

First flower opened today 17 June 2018, roughly a month earlier than previously. Note the yellow stippling
I have been waiting to see this old faithful again. This year it has produced about 85 blooms on two robust opposing spikes. The plant has flowered about a month earlier this year than previously, and was well fed from spike initiation through to flowering using "Garden basics plant food liquid fertiliser", which has a N:P ratio of 49:1; 4.9% N, 0.1% P, 2.4% K... makes you wonder what else is in it. It is easy to use and smells really rich, so I use it at about 2 ml per litre. The plants seem to enjoy this one - some recently mounted Myrmecophyla tibicinnis were given this fertiliser for the last few weeks, and they are all very quickly shooting new roots (see below), which is s really good sign. This species is usually quite reluctant to do anything for a while after being disturbed.

Myrmecophyla tibicinnis new root shoots
More on the mounting of the Myrmecophyla tibicinnis plant to come!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

First flowering of Vanda merrillii

Vanda merrillii first flower

Today after much stubbornness (since 2015) I finally got Vanda merrillii to bloom. This species originates from the island of Luzon in the Philippines. It is a warm grower according to IOSPE. I keep mine hanging outside under shade cloth. It gets some late afternoon direct sunlight and I keep it watered every second or third day in the heat here in Townsville. The roots seem to grow continuously all year. Some of this plant's roots are now nearly a metre long.