Angraecums

Angraecums
Aerangis Elro

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

Friday, March 27, 2015

Angraecum Longidale

       [RE-WRITE: this post is a re-write/update replacing the "Angraecum Memoria Mark Aldridge" post dated March 3, 2015.  Some of the text has been copied to here for an explanation of the re-write.  The Angcm. Memoria Mark Aldridge post has been deleted.]

       The RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) lists the actual parents of Angraecum Memoria Mark Aldridge as follows.  The seed parent is Angcm. sesquipedale and the pollen parent as Angcm. superbum.  Angcm. superbum is a sub-species of Angcm. eburneum.  The plants that I have obtained are tagged as such; but the parentage on the tag reads Angcm. sesquipedale X Angcm. longicalcar.  This difference in parentage is the reason behind the re-write.
       The originator of the Angraecum hybrids was Fred Hillerman.  He did not register either cross because at the time each pollen parent was classified in one name (Angraecum eburneum ssp superbum var. longicalcar).  Only one could be registered and recognized so he decided not to register either.  However, the hybrid with a parentage of Angcm. sesquipedale X Angcm. superbum was registered by Connie Timm with the RHS in late 1993 as  Angcm. Memoria Mark Aldridge.  This name as been associated with both the Angraecum superbum version and the Angraecum longicalcar version. 
       After seeing the blooms on the plants that I had obtained; I was able to compare them to the plant and the blooms that were awarded in 2000 at the Fort Lauderdale orchid show.  The flowers from 2000 were Veitchii type blooms that suffered from "twisty flower", a common issue with some hybrid Angraecums that are crossed where one resupinate and the other non-resupinate.  The flowers tend to open facing down with the nectary/spur pointing in just about any direction.
       In recent years, the RHS has started making certain sub-species and variations their own distinctive species.  With this now in play, the hybrid created by crossing Angcm. sesquipedale and Angcm. longicalcar can be registered as a new hybrid.  As of March 25, 2015, the RHS has officially registered this cross as Angcm. Longidale (a part of each parents name combined to create the hybrid name; the name that Fred Hillerman initially wanted to use when creating the hybrid in 1978).

Angraecum Longidale

       Angraecum Longidale will be a large showy plant.  It can reach a height of nearly 48 inches (120cm) and be just as wide.  New plants can start developing at the base of the plant; sometimes as many as three or four at about the time the plant blooms for the first time.  Keep in mind that this will vary with each plant.  Because of the size of this plant, it is best to pot it (terra cotta) or place in a cedar/plastic basket (plastic usually is best, it will not break down over time).  The container should be large enough to accommodate the plant as it becomes a specimen.
       The root system will be thick.  They can be up to a quarter on an inch (.5cm) and most form at the base of the plant.  If undisturbed, the length can be just about unlimited.  Neither of the parents like the root system messed with, the same goes with this hybrid.  Using a non-organic medium of large material is best.  Chunks of red lava rock, charcoal and large clay pellets (1 1/2 inch [4cm]) will give ample drainage, plenty of air for the roots to breath and a good amount of room for advancement of the root system.  Both parents are considered warm growing and enjoy a substantial amount of water from mid spring into mid fall.  If temperatures are above 90 degrees F (32 degrees C), I water the plants every other day, other wise I will water every three days.  During the cool months, the watering is cut back to every four or five days.  Even though the watering gets cut back in cooler months; the plant is actively growing.
       Do not let water set in the leaf axils, it can cause the root system to rot.  Fertilizer should be applied every 7 - 10 days and use of a systemic fungicide is encouraged every 30 days.  Keep a topical fungicide on hand for use between the monthly treatments.

 Angraecum Longidale with the twist in pedicle allowing the flower's lip to be
non-resupinate and the nectary/spur to hang down.

       Angraecum Longidale receives very bright light but filtered.  In early morning hours until about 11am, the plant can take direct sunlight.  When starting with a plant that is a year or two away from blooming, gradually introduce it to the brighter light.  Seedlings should be given a medium light until they are about four inches (10.2cm).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Angraecum erectum

       I usually don't write a post until a plant has bloomed at least once.  I've made an exception with Angraecum erectum because of the potential difficulty growing and blooming this Angraecoid in the South Florida tropical climate.  With our summer temperatures of mid eighties to the mid nineties starting in mid spring and running into mid autumn; I realized I was attempting to bloom an orchid that usually is exposed to our winter temperatures of 70 - 75 degrees (21-24C) as the high and 53 - 58 degrees (11.5-14.5C) as the low all year round rather than just two or three months.
       Angraecum erectum is found in a natural habitat at altitude of 4,250 feet (1,300m) and as high as 7,700 feet (2,350m).  It is found extensively in Kenya, west to Uganda and south into Tanzania and Zambia.  I have found it to grow very similar to that of Oeoniella polystachys; growing vertically up the side of tree trunks and very sturdy heavy brush.  Once some height is gained, a series of aerial roots come from the stem and while the base roots do not develop as well.  The main difference between the two plants is that Angcm. erectum will put roots out throughout the length of the entire plant; Oeoniella polystachys will only root from the older part of the stem and not above areas of the stem that have not produced inflorescence.  The plant branches quite freely and will grow vertically most of the time as the main plant grows.
       The plant pictured below is presently 13 inches (33cm) tall and has four new branching plants with three towards the bottom and one near the top.  This individual plant has gained 5 inches (12.8cm) in the last 13 months while the second has gained nearly 6 inches (15cm) in the same time period. 

  Angraecum erectum inflorescence forms opposite leaf axils.  It is uncommon but possible to see two buds.

       The plant above as well as a second plant mounted the same way receives 1200 - 1600 foot candles of light (medium shade) daily all year round.  It is not exposed to any direct sunlight at all.  In its natural habitat, Angcm. erectum has two dry seasons and two wet seasons; each season lasts roughly two to three months.  Here in South Florida, the plant is watered every two to three days during the dry season (cooler winter days) and every morning during the wet season (mid March into late October).
       I fertilize my Angcm. erectum every seven to ten days from late March into mid November and every two weeks in late fall to late winter.  It has shown consistent growth in plant height and root development.  I use a systemic fungicide every 4 - 5 weeks; alternating two variations every three or four months to prevent any issues with a resistance to fungus.

The color of Angcm. erectum can be a light yellow-green, greenish white or a subdued salmon color.

       With the amount of positive growth over the last year or so, it is best to be overly cautious as I wait to see whether the buds fully develop and open properly.  South Florida temperatures over the last couple of weeks have been in the low to upper 70s.  One thing that can cause bud blast is heat and our temperatures are about to go into the low to mid 80s.  I will post an update as soon as the buds open and will gladly share all of the images.

 [UPDATE: February 8, 2015... The above image was obtained 2 weeks after the initial
image of the first bud was obtained.  The images below were obtained the same day
as this one.  The Angraecum erectum buds have started to open.]

[UPDATE: February 8, 2015... The flowers of Angcm. erectum are not pristine white as
many other of the Angraecoids.  As stated earlier, they can range from a yellowish green,
greenish white or subdued salmon color.  Thesse flowers are a very light yellowish
cream white.]

[UPDATE: February 8, 2015... Angcm. erectum flowers are rather small compared to the
height of the plant itself.  The horizontal spread of the flowers here is
1.9 cm (3/4 of an inch); the vertical spread is 1.7 cm (11/16 of an inch) and the over
all length including the spur/nectary is 3 cm (1 3/16 of an inch).  The sepals are
slightly larger than the petals.]

[UPDATE: February 13, 2015... There are four flowers on the
plant now.  The flowers are small compared to the plant's height;
but it is still an impressive Angraecum.  Not a showy orchid as the
larger types; but once the branches mature it should be a
remarkable specimen plant.]