Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Nervilia aragoana first flowering

I have been impatiently waiting for any signs of life from my various Nervilia species since September. So far, only my Nervilia aragoana has woken up, sending up a beautiful inflorescence recently, with what looks like three more shoots just beginning to emerge from the potting mix. This Nervilia sends up its inflorescence first, before its leaves. The flowers are a beautiful green and white, are small, but quite pleasantly fragrant. The flowers are also sensitive to changing light intensity and close up progressively as light decreases during the latter part of the day. According to the Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia, Nervilia aragoana is quite widespread through Asia, and is also native to Queensland, Australia and also New Caledonia.

I managed to get a few photos of the inflorescence emerging, demonstrating the speed of its growth over a few days, as well as photos of the complete inflorescence and individual flowers.

Nervilia aragoana inflorescence 20 November 2020

Nervilia aragoana inflorescence 21 November 2020

Nervilia aragoana inflorescence 22 November 2020

Nervilia aragoana inflorescence 24 November 2020

Individual flowers 24 November 2020

Sunday, November 8, 2020

New surprises

Those of you who have known me for a while will know that I have been on the search for Bonatea speciosa for a long time now. At the beginning of the year I started putting out my feelers, looking for anyone in Australia who might have some Boantea speciosa plants that they might consider parting with. I found such a person and made a new orchid friend in the process. I waited for several months before finally receiving a beautiful plant that had several tubers. The tubers that were seperate from the main plant I potted up separately. I lost one, but the remaining three are doing well and adjusting to my local conditons.

Bonatea speciosa

In a seperate interesting event, my Spiranthes odorata set seeds after flowering earlier in the year and I put it aside to dry out a little before repotting. I put it next to a large pot of vegetables and seeds must have blown into that pot. In the next three months I has several Spiranthese odorata seedlings popping up in that pot, under the vegetables. The potting mix that I had used for the vegetables must have contained a mycorrhyia that was compatible as a symbiont for germinating the seeds. I have since moved these seedlings into their own comminuty pot and they are growing rapidly.

Spiranthes odorata seedlings

Friday, September 18, 2020

Some interesting terrestrials currently in bloom

I was very fortunate to get some South African and other terrestrial species late last year and earlier this year while they were still dormant. The South African ones (Satyrium odorum and Pterygodium catholicum are both native to Hermanus where I used to live, and seeing them bloom here in central Queensland is both an honour and a reminder of that beautiful place in the southwestern Cape. I have also been very fortunate to locate some Bonatea speciosa here (another Hermanus native) - specific plant stock which is stooped in botanical history regarding a particular well-known nurseryman who passed away and who had brought the same limited stock plants in from the USA many years ago. That is part of the interest I have with many orchids - the history, which I try to keep recorded for all my plants, if known. Another good example is a recent gift of Cynorkis guttata from a personal collection in Sydney which has been in continuous culture for 30 years in that collection.

I have included a few photos here of some interesting terrestrials that are currently in bloom, including the Satyrium odorum, Pterygodium catholicum, an Australian native, Chiloglottis af. truncata, and a European native, Serapias lingua. I have a few more beginning to bloom now too and will update this post with additional photos as I take additional ones.

Chiloglottis af. truncata

Pterygodium catholicum

Satyrium odorum

Satyrium odorum close-up

Satyrium ligulatum

Satyrium ligulatum

Serapias lingua

Microtis parviflora 23 Sept 20

Close-up of Microtis parviflora

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Phaius australis blooms for the first time

Over the last two days I have witnessed the first two flowers opening on my Phaius australis which was purchased as a clone seedling in September last year from Kuranda Envirocare inc. to assist with the conservation of this species. The plant has a specific tag number that is a requirement of the local government for traceability and to demonstrate that it was sourced through legal means. It is an endangered species found from northern Queensland through to northern New South Wales. This and other related orchids can be cloned relatively easily by cutting the flower stem after blooming and potting up the pieces of stem, which contain a single viable node. It is that node that generates a new plant identical to the parent plant.

There remains some debate whether this is a valid species, or if it is simply P. tankervilleae or a variant of the latter. I have been doing some reading on the subject and also getting some interesting opinions from various growers too. Some people consider some slight differences in the way the lip covers all, part or none of the column as diagnostic. However, a recent molecular study done on populations of P. australis in Australia made no mention of any overlap in the sequences generated from P. australis and those available for P. tankervilleae from southeast Asia. This paper did mention explicitly that the distribution of P. tankervilleae extends as far as Papua New Guinea (PNG) and that there was likely continuity in ancestral plants during the last period when a land bridge existed between PNG and Australia and possibly other locations north of PNG too (last Ice Age). This would suggest that if it is a separate species, that it may be a recent divergence from P. tankervilleae. Regardless however, this species is very special and in need of careful conservation in its remaining populations and habitat.

I have attached two photos here below: one of my plant from September last year when I purchased it, and a photo from todays date, about 11 months later after the plant matured into a large specimen producing its first spike of about 1.2 m tall. One thing I can say about this species is that it grows extremely quickly!

Phaius australis plant on 22 September 2019

First flowering on 4 August 2020

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Pterostylis robusta flowering

The first of my Pterostylis species, P. robusta, opened its first flower today. This one I obtained as a member of the Australian Native Orchid Society (Victoria group), which operates a tuber bank for members. I was curious to see if this and other species would grow and flower with such a mild winter here in Queensland. So far, almost all species I have emerged in June and July, and many are multiplying notably, but not all will bloom. I suspect some are too young to bloom (small tubers), so maybe next year I will have more species in flower.

Pterostylis robusta with non-flowering growth in the background

Pterostylis robusta side profile

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Winter action!

Recently, after a bit of a cold snap here in Rockhampton, more of my winter-growing terrestrials have been emerging from their summer rest. I joined the Australian Native Orchid Society (Victoria division) when I moved here in 2019. They have an active tuber bank and I decided to try a few of the easier species on their list of available species. So far almost all of the species I obtained have emerged, with a few exceptions. I have added a few photos of some of these below, some of which are South African species. I have also added a few photos of some plants that recently bloomed, or are just beginning to bloom, or are getting ready to bloom. Of these I am very proud of the Phaius australis which will be a first time bloomer this year. 

Liparis viridiflora

Liparis viridiflora close-up

Tuberolabium kotoense
Tuberolabium kotoense close-up
Phaius australis spike - first time bloomer this year
Rhynchostylis gigantea alba - 3 spikes!
On 1 July 2020
Rhynchostylis gigantea subsp. violacea
On 1 July 2020

Pterostylis laxa

Pterostylis pedunculata

Pterostylis robusta

Pterostylis truncata

Pterygodium catholicum
Satyrium ligulatum

Satyrium odorum

Serapias neglecta (background) and Serapis lingua (foreground)

Monday, April 27, 2020

Habenaria rhodocheila flowering and Cymbidium dayanum alba

My Habenaria rhodocheila finally opened its last flower so I could take a shot of it in full glory. This one has done well for me in Rockhampton and I am looking forward to seeing how large the new tuber growth is once it goes dormant. Recently I picked up a small but flowering size Cymbidium dayanum alba on ebay. It came in the post with buds on and one of its flowers has since opened. Spike length is what I would expect from a young first bloomer - short and awkward, but given a few more years I am sure it will produce much nicer, longer and arching spikes of many many flowers each. 
Habenaria rhodocheila

Cymbidium dayanum alba