Saturday, January 13, 2018

Will you fall in love with Bulbophyllums? Visiting the US Botanic Garden


Bulbophyllum Elizabeth Ann Buckleberry
Bulbophyllums are some of the strangest commonly cultivated orchid genera.  To be honest, they are such strange flowers that I don't know how I feel about them.  But they sure do catch the eye!  The US Botanic Garden Conservatory is a great place to go to catch some in bloom.

Closeup of Bulbophyllum Elizabeth Anne Buckleberry
With more than 2,000 species, Bulbophyllum is the largest genus in the orchid family, and one of the largest genera of flowering plants in the world.  You can find native bulbophyllum species in most tropical parts of the world, and with this great geographic spread comes an amazing diversity of flower shapes and attributes.

Bulbophyllum medusae
Bulbophyllum medusase may be one of the coolest orchid species I've come across.  Its flowers look like white cotton balls.  The sepals of the blooms can get as long as 15cm. This orchid grows in Malaysia, Thailand and Borneo.
Closeup of Bulbophyllum medusae bloom
Bulbophyllum longissimum
This is another Bulbophyllum species from southeast Asia.  These flowers can be almost 40cm long!

Bulbophyllum Icicles
Bulbophyllum Icicles is a primary hybrid between Bulbophyllum longissimum and Bulbophyllum wightii.
Bulbophyllum Icicles closeup

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Gorgeous Paphiopedilum hybrids from the DC Botanic Garden

I will readily admit my love for the colorful and showy splendor of orchid hybrids.  In the next few months, I think I will dive in to explore the lineages of some of these hybrids, but for today, I wanted to share with you the beautiful Paph collection at the DC Botanic Garden.
Paphiopedilum Devil's Canyon

Paphiopedilum Elphin Charm

Paphiopedilum FC Puddle

Unlabeled Paphiopedilum

Paphiopedilum Mazurka

Paphiopedilum Miller's Daughter

Paphiopedilum Mystically Mood

Paphiopedilum Olivia

Paphiopedilum Olivia

Paphiopedilum Orchilla 'Chilton'

Paphiopedilum Redstart 'Exbury'

Paphiopedilum Redstart 'Exbury'


Paphiopedilum Song of Love

Paphiopedilum Tree of Okazaki

Paphiopedilum Yerba Mate

Paphiopedilum Zycleon

Paphiopedilum Zycleon whole plant view

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Pandemonium of Paphiopedilums: Orchids of the DC Botanic Garden Continued

So many blooming paphiopedilum orchids on display
The DC Botanic Garden has some of the best displays of paphiopedilum orchids that I have ever seen in bloom!  So many species and hybrids, showcasing the amazing variety of blooms found in this genus.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

These were my 7 favorites from the display

The Paphiopedilum species:
7): Paphiopedilum primulinum
Paphiopedilum primulinum
Paphiopedilum primulinum is a modest bloom, but that adds to its charm.  One can easily miss these small yellow flowers, amidst a room of showy hybrid blooms.  But this orchid has a unique super power; known as the "ever-bloom" paph, its spikes can flower continuously for 3 years!

6) Paphiopedilum primulinum var purpurascens
Paphiopedilum primulinum var purpurascens
Paphiopedilum primulinum comes in various hues, and I loved this purple variety. There is something very fairy-tale charming about this orchid.

5) Paphiopedilum insigne
Paphiopedilum insigne
Paphiopedilum insigne is the "type species" for the entire Paphiopedilum genus, meaning that the Paphiopedilum genus description is based on this species.  That makes Paphiopedilum insigne the quintessential Paph!  No matter what genus reorganization the taxonomists might undertake in the future, Paph insigne will always remain Paph insigne.

4) Paphiopedilum gratrixianum
Paphiopedilum gratrixianum
Paphiopedilum gratrixianum orchids come in many shapes and colors. This particular flower was so similar to the above Paph insigne, that I had to triple check that I hadn't accidentally mislabeled my photos!

3) Paphiopedilum glaucophyllum
Paphiopedilum glaucophyllum

This orchid reminds me of Paphiopedilum primulinum, but its flowers are larger, and its colors are more intense. This is another ever-blooming orchid, which produces sequential blooms from its flower spike. One spike can produce flowers for 12-18 months, and the orchid will often start producing flowers from a new flower spike before the old one retires.

2) Paphiopedilum spicerianum
Paphiopedilum spicerianum
Paphiopedilum spicerianum has been bred into a multitude of Paphiopedilum hybrids.  In fact, almost 400 registered Paph hybrids list Paphiopedilum spicerianum as either a seed or pollen parent.


....and my absolute favorite Paphiopedilum species from the conservatory was:

1) Paphiopedilum richardianum
Paphiopedilum richardianum
I absolutely love how the petals of this flower blend from the gentlest of pastel tones into the high contrast purple edges.  The orchid flowers with multiple blooms on a tall spike--definitely an attention-grabbing species!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Orchids from the DC Botanic Garden--all about the phragmipediums

Some of the most impressive displays at the DC Botanic Garden were the many dozens of blooming paph and phrag orchids. 

Also known as "Slipper Orchids", phragmipediums are orchids native to the Americas (not to be confused with paphiopedilums which originate from Asia).  There are approximately 20-30 species in this genus. 

Phragmipedium caudatum
Phragmipedium caudatum is a species endemic in Peru and Bolivia. The orchid has flowers which range in hue from green to shades of terracotta orange.  The flowers have long petals, up to 2.5 feet in length!
Phragmipedium longifolium
Phragmipedium Sedenii
Phragmipedium Sedenii is actually a cross between P. longifolium and P schlimii. Registered in 1873, it is one of the first manmade orchid hybrids.
Phragmipedium Grande
Phragmipedium Grande is a cross between P. longifolium and P. humboldtii. This phrag had the longest petals of all the orchids on display.


Phragmipedium Cardinale
Phragmipedium Cardinale is a cross between P. Sedenii, and P. Schlimii.
Phragmipedium Urgandiae 'Duke's Royal'
Another primary hybrid, Phragmipedium Urgandiae is a cross between P. lindleyanum and P. longifolium.
Phragmipedium Appalachian Sunset
Phragmipedium Sorcerer's Apprentice

Another primary hybrid, this orchid is a cross between P. longifolium and P. sargentianum.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Orchids of the DC Botanic Garden

United States Botanic Garden
In November I traveled to Washington DC for work.  So, of course, on my last day in town, I went to see the Conservatory at the United States Botanic Garden looking for orchids to photograph.  Built in 1867, the Conservatory offers free entrance, and features models of landmarks from around the capital city, amid a lush greenhouse.


Where are the orchids?
I walked around the greenhouse, and explored the elevated walkways looking for orchid flowers.  At first I was worried that I would be leaving empty-handed. But as I walked deeper into the greenhouse, I started finding specimen sized orchids. And then I came to the orchid room.
Orchids blooming at the US Botanic Garden
Although a relatively small space, this room had nearly a 100 different species and hybrids of orchids beautifully blooming on display. I saw more paphs and phrags than ever before.  In fact, there were so many different varieties of certain orchids, that I will be saving them for a future post.  But for now, check out some of these beautiful orchid flowers!

Angraecum eburneum var. giryamae 'Penn Valley' specimen
Angraecum eburneum var. giryamae 'Penn Valley' closeup
Brasiliorchis picta 
Brasiliorchis picta closeup
Bratonia Charles M. Fitch 'Izumi'
Calanthe Rozel 'Mendenhall' x Calanthe Rozel 'Newberry'
Cattleya Eleanor Roosevelt
Coelogyne rochussenii
Coelogyne rochussenii closeup
Coelogyne trinervis
Cymbidium Cherry Cola
Cymbidium Milton Carpenter 'Everglades Gold'
Epicatanthe Volcano Trick 'Orange Fire'
Fredclarkeara After Dark 'SVO'
Fredclarkeara After Dark 'SVO' closeup
Laelia rubescens
Laelia rubescens closeup
Mesadenella cuspidata
Mesadenella cuspidata closeup
Mormolyca ringens
Oncidium Sunlight 'Hilo Honey'
Rhyncholaeliocattleya Hausermann's Holiday 'Christmas'
Vanda Pachara Delight 'Pachara'
Vanda Sonpon
purple Vanda hybrid
Vandachostylis Colmarie 'Carmella'
Vandachostylis Colmarie 'Carmella' closeup
Zygopetalum maculatum
Zygopetalum maculatum closeup
And this is not everything! I had to leave out all the bulbophyllums, dendrobiums, paphiopedilums, and phragmipediums, because each one of those categories could easily be a new post the size of this one.  I have never seen such variety of orchids in one place.  Anyone who loves these beautiful flowers should visit the US Botanic Garden if they get the chance.