Angraecum Longidale

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Angraecum sesquipedale STUDY

Angraecum sesquipedale flower

       I am currently conducting a study regarding the Angcm. sesquipedale flower.  I am looking for anyone that is growing the plant and is expecting it to flower over the next two to three months.  I am specifically looking for a series of photographic images of the flower from the day it first starts to open and a follow through for a minimum of three consecutive days.  Any image(s) that I do use in the study will receive full photo credit.  
       The flower should be photographed in a full frontal format and a full profile format each consecutive day for a minimum of three days (up to five consecutive days if possible).  Shooting the spur/nectary is not necessary.  Using a black material would be most beneficial.
       Please contact me via email as well as send your images and contact information to .  Your contribution is very much appreciated.  Looking forward to your help.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Aerangis Elro

       Almost a year and a half prior to HQ Orchids registering Angraecum Shooting Star (Angcm. florulentum X Angcm. eburneum ssp. xerophilum) [posted March 2012], they registered Aerangis Elro (Aergs. ellisii X Aergs. modesta) another Angraecoid hybrid.  Aergs. ellisii (seed parent) does grow into a rather large plant, up to about 30 inches (70cm) tall with leaves nearly 10 x 2 inches (25x5cm) in length and width.  Aergs. modesta (pollen parent) is actually a much smaller plant.  Stem height barely reaching 6 inches (15cm) with leaves no larger than 6 x 1.5 inches (15x4cm) in length and width.  Aergs. Elro (the offspring) produces plants that range between its parents.
       As I have stated in many of the posts in this blog, growing orchids is one variable after another.  What works for one may not work for another, do your research and use someone elses culture information as a starting point for your own.  I have asked two contributors of past articles published in the Angraecums blog to submit an image or two along with the data regarding their Aergs. Elro's culture.  You will see three different variables yet all successful in blooming Aerangis Elro.

 Aerangis Elro, view of entire plant, full frontal flower and three-quarter profile of flowers.

       Sarah Waddoups, the founder of the Angraecoid Alliance wrote an article back in February of 2012 introducing her organization.  The alliance concentrates on in-situ and ex-situ conservation.  She is also a phenomenal grower with an emphasis on various Angraecoids.  She is presently growing two Aerangis Elro, images of one them shown above. 
       She grows both of her plants in wood baskets.  The first is a 12 inch (30cm) shallow basket in which she has placed a small amount of moss tucked into it. "It is hardly full of moss".  The second is a 6 inch (15cm) wood Vanda basket in which she has placed some large bark chunks and coconut coir.  She placed both plants into the wood baskets during the spring so that they wood readily grow throughout the summer.  Both plants attached securely within a few months.  She found that the baskets allow the plants to become somewhat pendant which allows the inflorescence to hang down for a nice presentation of the flowers.
         The plants are placed in the same area that the vandas and large angraecums grow.  they are protected from the late afternoon sun by being in the shadows of the larger plants.  The small green house where the plants are grown is opened during the warm summer months and the plants watered every day.  Winter can bring temperatures into the teens and single digits.  The cold weather temperature is maintained at a constant 58 degrees F (14.5 C) while the greenhouse is all closed up.  The plants are watered sparingly throughout the winter.  The plants have done very well over the last couple of years being in their location and do bloom regularly in early summer.

Aerangis Elro being grown semi-hydroponically, bottom half of an inflorescence in bloom.

       Dr. Chris Johnson, a professor at the University of Utah travels extensively.  It was important to find a way to keep his collection alive while he was on the road.  After doing research and experimenting with a couple of plants, he started using semi-hydroponics to care for his collection.  Aergs. Elro has grown very well using this technique.
       The plant is in a 6 inch (15cm) plastic pot.  Holes are drilled about 1 - 1.5 inches (3-4cm) from the bottom of the pot (this allows water to sit in the bottom of the pot).  The summer temperatures in his greenhouse range 60 - 85 degrees F (16-29.5 C) while winter temperatures range 55 - 75 degrees F (13-24 C).  The plants are watered every other day during the summer and cut back during the colder months to every three to four days.  The water running through the greenhouse is reverse osmosis water and the fertilizer (MSU) is designed for RO water.  He uses a kelp supplement as well as probiotics.
       The amount of light varies depending on the seasonal position of the sun.  It is considered a medium bright light. 

 Aerangis Elro, frontal close-up, partial inflorescence and three-quarter profile.

       Sarah and Chris are growing their Aergs. Elro in controlled greenhouses in two different areas of the United States that have very distinctive seasons.  I am growing in a very sub-tropical/tropical area of South Florida.  This past summer started in mid spring (April) and is just now looking to milder temperatures (October).  Growing in an open air arbor has its advantages; such as steady air movement and Mother Nature's elixir, rain!
       Two of the plants are in 6 inch (15cm) teak wood baskets.  There is a non-organic medium (charcoal, clay pellets and lava rock) in each of the two baskets.  Allowing for fast drainage, air movement and ample room for the root system to develop.  The third plant is in a 6 inch (15cm) clay pot; one with numerous 1 inch (2.75cm) holes all the way around it (allowing for the same attributes as the wood baskets). 
       With air temperatures being above 90 degrees F (32 C) for nearly six months, the plants have been watered every morning and several times a week in late afternoons.  With milder temperatures coming soon, watering will be cut back to every other day.  If they drop below 65 degrees F (18 C), watering will be cut back to every third day.
       The two plants in wood baskets receive about two and a half hours of early morning sunlight.  After that point, they receive about 3,000 foot-candles (diffused light) for the remainder of the day.  The third plant (in the clay pot) receives about 2,500 foot-candles all day.  All three plants have bloomed in their respective areas.
       One thing that I have noticed with Aergs. Elro, is the length of time that an inflorescence starts until the time the buds actually open.  All three of my plants have taken in excess of twelve months, tow of them nearly fourteen months to being in full bloom.  I grow and have bloomed both of the parents; Aergs. ellisii (about ten months) and Aergs. modesta (about six months), neither of them taking as long as their offspring.
       Three different growers from three different areas of the country.  All three growing Aerangis Elro using various orchid cultures.  Yet the plants all bloom late spring into early summer.  Use this information as starting points for your plants.  If you have any questions, never hesitate to ask!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Angraecum Symposium 2017 ?

Angraecum Crestwood

Sarah Waddoups, founder of the Angraecoid Alliance and Tom Kuligowski, creator of the Angraecums blog are currently looking into the possibility of putting together an Angraecoid Symposium.  This symposium would take place sometime between early 2017 and late spring of 2017.  Topics being discussed as possible subjects are “In-situ/Ex-situ Conservation”, “Hybridizing Angraecoids”, “Climate and Culture”, “Identification and Education” and “History Of”.  They are looking for their reader’s opinions, whether the readers would attend and ideas for other subjects to be covered.  Locations have been briefly discussed as well as possible speakers.  Please comment here and let them know your thoughts regarding an Angraecoid Symposium.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Angellea Great Scott (Angraecum scottianum X Jumellea comorensis)

Pictured above are the parents of Angellea Great Scott.

       Angraecum scottianum crossed with Jumellea comorensis should prove to be an unusual hybrid when it blooms.  Hybridizing different genera has created very unique offspring.  There are numerous reasons that a grower would have for creating a specific cross such as changing plant size, flower color and/or flower shape and the number of flowers that the plant may produce.  Final results though would not be seen until the offspring bloomed for the first time.  Keep in mind that not all of the offspring will look identical.  Some will look like the seed parent, some being similar to the pollen parent and yet others will be totally different adopting traits from both parents.  This issue is dealt with in the post "The Variations Of Angraecum Lemforde White Beauty" published here in September, 2014.
       Angellea Great Scott was created by Leon Glicenstein.  I did get to ask him the reason for creating this specific hybrid.  Throwing all reason aside; it was from pure curiosity. 
       This post is the second where I will follow the development of a small group of seedlings.  I have successfully grown and have bloomed both parents.  The culture used for the seedlings is based entirely on the parent's culture.

Jumellea comorensis mounted to a cork slab. (pollen parent)

       Jum. comorensis was featured in a post in May 2012,  It is a fast growing Angraecoid that will branch and produce new plants at the base.  In it's natural habitat, it grows on the rough bark of trees in bright light and in low light.  My plants are watered twice a day throughout the warm months of the year,  When temperatures drop to below eighty degrees (27C) watering is cut back to once a day; usually in the mornings.Watering is cut back to every two to three days when temperatures are at seventy degrees (22C) or below.  Due to the amount of water the plant requires, be sure to be growing in an area with a steady amount of air movement.  If excessive water is left on the leaves for to long a period, the plant becomes susceptible to fungus and the leaves will rot quickly.  With the tropical and sub-tropical climate here is South Florida, Jum. comorensis doesn't have a dormant period.
       Plant structure can reach a height of almost twelve inches (30cm) with roots about 2cm that flatten when attached to mounting material.  It has the capability of becoming a specimen in just two or three years producing several singularly borne flowers from each stem.  Jumellea comorensis will often become pendant like.

   Angraecum scottianum is mounted to a 12" tree fern totem.  (seed parent)

       An article regarding Angcm. scottianum was posted in December 2012.  I grow this Angraecoid mounted to tree fern material; usually a tree fern totem.  According to material in the 1986 book written by Fred Hillerman, the plant should be drenched during the warm summer months.  My mounted plants are watered twice a day (early mornings and late afternoons).  Once the temperatures start to drop, watering is back off to once a day and eventually every other day during the mild winters.
       The plants thrive with this much water.  They grow upright but do become pendant with length.  I let the top third of the plants drupe until after they have bloomed; tying them up slightly higher after blooming.  Aerial roots do appear but not more than a third of the way up the plant.  The climate here in South Florida seems to be very similar to that of plant's natural habitat; the main reason it seems to thrive here.
       Angraecum scottianum grows well with very bright diffused light (about 3500 fc).  I have also had several plants in lower light (2000 - 2500 fc).  They don't seems to grow as quickly; but they have always bloomed.  I have the larger specimens growing towards the top of the arbor where they are exposed to a constant air flow.  New plants usually develop at the base of the plant and are slow in starting.  Once the plant has become an older specimen, branching does occur.
       Angcm. scottianum will grow between 8 - 15 inches tall (20-37cm).  Leaves will measure 2.5 - 4 inches long (6.5-10cm) and are teret like (tubular in shape) .  Flowering can take place anytime between late February into early November with the most productive time in June and July.  It has been reported that up to eight flowers can appear on a single inflorescence although I have never seen more than six on any of my plants.  Flowers have a rather large resupinated lip which is 1.7 inches wide (4.2cm).  The sepals and petals are thin and pointed and reach a length of 1 inch (2.5cm).  The spur/nectary is about 5 - 6 inches long (12-15cm).  Flowers are fragrant during the dark hours.

Angellea Great Scott seedlings mounted to cork, tree fern material and cypress slabs.

       The seedlings have been mounted as each of the parents.  During this very warm summer, they are watered twice a day and misted if late afternoon temperatures are still above 90 F (32 C).  They are presently receiving 2500 - 3000 fc of light (diffused bright light).  They hang from the upper area of the arbor where they also receive a constan air movement.
       The plant structure of Angellea Great Scott is very similar to that of the pollen parent Jumellea comorensis.  In the first two images of the seedlings, you can see the leaves are shaped in form and size to to the pollen parent.  There does appear to be a slight variation in plant number three.  The leaves are close to that of the seed parent; but nor fully teret.
       It will be interesting to see how the seedlings develop and hopefully bloom.  Leon seems to have created what should be a fantastic surprise!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Angraecum praestans

       This post is centered around two Angraecum praestans seedlings.  The majority of former posts in this blog dealt strictly with the culture of first time bloomers or established plants.  I thought it would be helpful to those beginners in understanding and seeing the progression and development of an individual species in culture.  I stress so often that how I do things should be looked at as a starting point.  You should do research prior to attempting to grow a particular orchid in your climate and growing conditions.  What works for one may not work for another.

  Angraecum praestans seedlings

Natural habitat of Angcm. praestans is the western and northwestern areas of Madagascar.  It is usually found growing as an epiphyte in dry woods.  It has been found on cliffs and in smaller trees in sandy areas and in sand dunes.

       I chose Angcm. praestans because of the similar growing conditions here in South Florida compared to that in Madagascar.  Keep in mind that the seasons are reversed because of the different hemispheres; the northern hemisphere's rainy season is the southern hemisphere's dry period and vice-verse.  There is a period during the cooler months here in South Florida that temperatures may drop below the natural habitats extreme low of 57 degrees F (14C); those days are numbered between 6 and 12 days.  The plants would be protected by either covering them or moving them into a warmer area.
       Once these plants reach a mature height, the stems will be close to 12 inches (30cm) tall.  As all Angraecums, leaves form opposite each other the length of the stem.  They are arched with a leathery substance; they will be between 10 - 12 inches (25-30cm) long.  New plants develop at the base of the plant and can start while the plant is still a seedling (as seen in the image below).

Angcm. praestans seedling with a new basal plant developing.

       The seedlings were placed in terra cotta 3 inch (8cm) pots with numerous holes for faster drainage and for air movement.  The material used for potting was a combination of medium sized charcoal and clay pellets (non-organic).  This medium allows for fast drainage, air movement and space for the thick roots to grow freely (roots are about .25 inches (6mm) thick).  When the plants eventually do mature in size, the present terra cotta pots will be cracked open carefully and set into larger pots with additional material being added around the broken pot and medium.  As with any developing orchid, it is best to pot when the plant is actively growing; allowing the plant to establish itself quicker.

 These seedlings will be grown in these pots 2 - 3 years before being placed in either larger pots or baskets.

       In it's natural habitat, Angcm. praestans grows as an epiphyte in dry woodlands, large bushes in sand dunes and cliffs not far from the coast. It is neither a large showy plant or a compact one.  As stated earlier, it's stem will barely be 12 inches (30cm) high.  Mounted plants seem to grow slower yet excel when the root system is exposed to moisture for a longer period of time being in a pot.  It is imperative that the roots be allowed to breath and dry out some; using the proper size medium and making sure the air movement is strong enough will be similar to the plants requirements from its habitat.
       Rainfall here in the northern hemisphere closely matches the seasonal rain amounts in the southern hemisphere.  I start watering the plants every other day in early to mid April and will often water everyday when temperatures hold over 90 degrees (32 degrees C).  The rain fall amounts peak in July through September as well as the temperatures being high.  Late September rain starts to dramatically drop until the following spring.  Watering is cut back to every three day as well as fertilizing being cut back.  (If using water from a city water line, you should flush the medium with rain water or RO water to clear most of the salts.) 
       The blooming period usually begins late winter; prior to the rainy season.  A well grown plant can produce  2 - 3 inflorescence with each producing 3 - 5 flowers.  Blooms can be up to 4 inches (10cm) wide by 3 1/2 inches (9cm) long.  Sepals and petals are greenish to yellowish in color while the lip is always white.  The nectary ranges in length from 3 1/2 inches (9cm) to 5 inches (13.3cm) long and are usually greenish in color.
       The amount of light the seedlings receive should be less than a mature plant; about 2,000 foot candles.  Once the seedlings have been established in the pots for about a year, they will be moved into bright light (no direct sunlight), about 3,500 foot candles.  
       I use a balanced fertilizer every week and change that to every 10 -14 days during the cooler months.  These seedlings will be treated with two systemic fungicides every three to four weeks.  Alternating the fungicides every three months.
       I will update this post every 4 - 6 months to show the development of the seedlings.  A very special thank you to Sarah Wadddoups of the Angraecoid Alliance and to Brenda Oviatt of Botanica Ltd. for the use of their photographic images.

Angraecum praestans bloom  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Ghost Orchid, Into the Slough

       I would like to introduce a new guest writer that submitted an article pertaining to Dendrophylax lindenii; commonly referred to as the "Ghost Orchid".  I thank Wendy Mazuk for taking the time to write about her growing interest, obsession and or passion about one of the rarest orchids on earth.  The image below is that of the rare "Ghost Orchid" which was taken in a greenhouse outside of Chicago, Illinois (not an easy task growing in culture).  Four additional images have been added to the post courtesy of Wendy Mazuk.

  Dendrophylax lindenii (the "Ghost Orchid)

Into the Slough


By Wendy Mazuk

       My Adventure into the Florida sloughs began by reading the book "The Orchid Thief", by Susan Orlean.  Growing up in Florida as a frequent visitor to the Everglades, I was always happy to learn more about Native Florida.  Upon learning about this book, I chose it strictly by its name for a class project.  As an active orchid grower I couldn't resist; the name caught my attention.  It was one of the best books I have read and fast-tracked my interest to learn more about this wonderful orchid.
       A slough is known as a slow moving, shallow river beneath a protected canopy of bald cypress trees, the water is warmer than normal in the winter and cooler in the summer.
       My introduction to the Ghost Orchid began with a variety of research projects at Florida Gulf Coast University.  In my findings i discovered that there had not been much research collected on the Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii).  So i set out to meet the head park biologist of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Mike Owen.  Excited to learn more I spent the majority of my summers out in the swamps.  The Ghost Orchid is one of the rarest orchids in the world - found only in Cuba and the swamps of the Southwest Florida Everglades; but that's not the only fact that makes them so rare...

Dendrophylax lindenii, the leafless orchid plant with two flowers.  Image courtesy of Wendy Mazuk.

       In 1844 Jean Jules Linden saw this orchid for the first time in Cuba.  Jean Jules Linden was a famous orchid hunter traveling around the world collecting orchids for royalty and for study.  Later in the 1890's it was discovered in the Everglades of South Florida.  In 1994 the Ghost Orchid's popularity was more noted by many orchid collectors ad dealers due to poachers being arrested for stealing the Ghost Orchid out of the South Florida swamps.  John Laroche, who was made famous by the book "The Orchid Thief", as well as three Seminole Indians that were arrested for poaching the native Ghost Orchid.  This caused a large controversy between environmentalists, orchid collectors and Native Americans.  Native Americans are able to collect and use a variety of native and endangered species for their cultural traditions.  The problem was that they were taking Laroche to the area where he would steal them to be cloned and sold for profit.

Dendrophylax lindenii images showing the nectary/spur as well as a flower bud.  Image courtesy
of Wendy Mazuk.

       It is believed that this orchid is a distant relative of the African and Indian Ocean genus Angraecum; it seems that orchid seed, blowing like dust, crossed the Atlantic at least once and successfully colonized and evolved in a new habitat.

       There is only one known pollinator for this orchid, the giant sphinx moth Cocythus antaeus.Because of this limitation, there is a very low probability of pollination to enable reproduction during a brief 3 - 4 month period of blooming.  Additionally, the Ghost Orchid doesn't always bloom every year - sometimes it skips a year or two.  The giant sphinx moth has a very long proboscis (tongue-like straw).  It is the only moth found in the same area as the Ghost Orchid that would be able to pollinate it.  As the moth receives nectar from the orchid's very long nectar spur, it also receives the pollen attached to it; so when the moth visits the next orchid, the pollen is transferred and pollination should occur.  Because of the low numbers found in Cuba and in South Florida, the short flowering time and only having one species for pollination, the Ghost Orchid incurs reduced opportunities for healthy continuation of its species.

Dendrophylax lindenii

       The Ghost Orchid is native to Cuba, South Florida swamps and also some surrounding islands in the Bahamas (the Bahamian variety is believed to be a different species).  The current status of this orchid is protected by the state of Florida under Appendix 2, section 5B-40.0055, the regulated plant index.  It is ridiculous to think people would steal a plant; but this is such a rare orchid that poachers continue to steal these very hard to find orchids, taking them from their native habitat.  These orchids need to be protected so that they can be enjoyed in their natural habitat undisturbed.

       To learn more about the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, click on the link below:
       Fakahatchee Strand