The first of this year’s new orchids bloomed this week. It’s another red one; nice, but not what I was expecting. The dealer’s notes1 indicated that it would likely have flowers in the magenta-purple range, but while it does have a bluish cast in some light (but not in sunlight or with the on-camera flash), it looks red to me. The other new ones probably won’t bloom for a year or two. When they finally do, one should be white and the other spotted.
(As usual, when WordPress resizes pictures to fit the column width, it also makes the colors duller. Click on the picture to see it larger and with more accurate color.)
Another of the orchids I got last year is blooming. This one is a hybrid of Australian Dendrobium species, probably mostly D. kingianum. Specifically, it’s SVO9679: “Den. Purple Zip ‘SVO’ x Den. King Zip ‘Red Splash,'” from Sunset Valley Orchids. The flowers are an inch and a quarter across, much smaller than the very red Cattleya’s. In compensation, there are a lot more of them, and they have a fine spicy fragrance.
Incidentally, this orchid has nothing to do with the “Dendrobium” in a certain game featuring cute girls and bad botany. It’s not a “Lycoris,” either.
One of the plants I ordered in the spring from Sunset Valley Orchids bloomed this week. It’s a very red “Mini-Catt,” i.e., a miniature Cattleya. The flower is two inches wide on a plant about seven inches tall. There’s no fragrance that I can detect, but with color like that I’m not going to complain. Click on the picture to see it with better color (WordPress makes colors duller when it reformats images); right-click and open the link in a new window to see it much larger than life size.
Exactly what the plant is, is complicated. It was listed as “SVO 9263 – Pot. NEW HYBRID (Slc. Virginia Dickey ‘ Diamond Orchids’ AM/AOS x Pot. Higher Multiplier ‘Diamond Orchids’ HCC/AOS).” “Pot.” is short for “Potinara,” a multigeneric hybrid involving Brassavola, Cattleya, Laelia and Sophronitis; “Slc.” is “Sophrolaeliocattleya,” with Sophronitis, Laelia and Cattleya. However, taxonomists are always up to mischief, abruptly moving species from one genus to another, lumping some genera together and splitting others into pieces. Sophronitis has recently been placed within the Cattleya genus, and the other genera have been tampered with as well. Calling my plant a Potinara is probably inaccurate now, but it’s convenient, and I don’t know what the proper name would be.
Since the local orchid show and sale was cancelled at the last moment, the orchid society had three tables’ worth of name-your-price and free plants to find homes for at the meeting last Sunday. I left the meeting with six. Half of them are in bloom.
The local orchid organization is holding its annual show and sale this Saturday at Botanica in Wichita. There may well be some Dracula orchids for sale and possibly in bloom for the holiday. Here’s the flyer. (The orchid pictured is a Paphiopedilum.)
Here’s Don Ross with “Dracula and Friends, Part One.”
Ross, unfortunately, will not be at Botanica, though he turns up occasionally at Winfield.
The orchid above is a form of Habenaria Jiaho Yellow Bird. Evidently the color is variable. I photographed it at the monthly orchid society meeting this week.
There were also a few Catasetinae with dark flowers. The darkest was the multigeneric hybrid Monnierara Millennium Magic “Witchcraft”, above, which is such a deep burgundy-maroon that it can be called black. The flowers were just starting to open when I took the picture, and they ought to be flatter when fully open. (It’s a recent hybrid, and probably not the source of Basil St. John’s black orchid serum. My best guess is that his orchid was an obscure Dendrobium.)
There are many more pictures from the meeting here.
After a few months’ hiatus while the botanical garden was closed, the local orchid society is meeting again. These pictures are from the show ‘n’ tell at the meeting Sunday. As usual, click on the pictures to see them larger and with better color. There are more here.
Another orchid opened its first blooms this weekend. This one is Cattleya Aloha Apricot. It is more frequently listed as a Sophrolaeliocattleya [SLC], but Sophronitis and most of Laelia recently have been lumped into the Cattleya genus, so it’s just a Cattleya now. It’s a compact plant, eight inches high including the pot, and the flowers are two-and-a-half inches in diameter.
Oncidium Tsiku Marguerite arrived back in May in spike. June came, it got hot, and the plant went into shock. It just sat there, the spikes not developing, until October, when the weather finally cooled a little. This week it finally bloomed. The flowers are not quite an inch long, and have a light sweetish fragrance. They’re a a bit pinker than I expected, but I’m not complaining. There are a few more pictures here.
The first batch of pictures from the orchid show are up. Although I spotted two Dracula plants, neither was in bloom. However, there was a Habenaria medusa in flower, which will probably be in the next batch. You can see the pictures here.
Although there were some mid-size to large blooms at this month’s orchid society show-and-tell, the stand-out for me was the smallest, Platystele umbellata, above. The entire cluster of burgundy flowers was roughly a quarter-inch in diameter. It was difficult to photograph — I really needed a macro lens (ideally with another lens stacked in front, and with the camera connected to the computer for focus stacking) and a tripod — but after several tries I managed to get a passable picture.
The Platystele was dwarfed by Stelis viridipurpurata, which was nevertheless quite small itself. Each flower was about a quarter-inch across.
There are more pictures here, including Habenarias.
In addition to the usual close-up photos, I also made some panoramas of the botanical garden this past weekend, such as this view of the lily pond. (Panoramas look best in the full-screen mode.)
I spent yesterday afternoon at the botanical garden, this time with an ordinary zoom lens. There was relatively little color outside, but I found some. There was more at the orchid society meeting inside, where the room was refrigerated air-conditioned. There are more pictures here.
Botanica, the botanical garden in Wichita, has installed a number of sculptures in the gardens. Most range from “meh” to kitschy. I rarely bother to include them in my photographs. Currently the people who run the institution are installing a bunch of figures made of Legos in awkward spots through the grounds, such as the pansy above. I hope they’re temporary. They have novelty value and might attract a few additional visitors to the gardens, but there are much more interesting things you can do with Legos.
Unfortunately not temporary are the panels at the south entrance of the not-particularly-Shakespearean garden. They’ve been there as long as I’ve visited Botanica, and they look a little worse every year. (Right-click and open in a new window to see at maximum ugliness.)