Angraecum leonis

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Angraecum calceolus

     Angraecum calceolus originates from Madagascar and the surrounding islands.  It can be found extensively at the base of trees and thick brush in humid areas at sea level and to the altitude of about 6,700 feet (2,000m).  The English translation of the name means 'the little shoe'.
     The root system on Angcm. calceolus is very numerous and is heaviest at the base of the plant; however the more mature the plant becomes, it will put out roots from the stem to within about 4 inches (10cm) of the crown.  The stem itself can grow to a height of about 7 1/2 - 12 inches (20-30cm) although the average maximum height in culture doesn't exceed 8 inches (23cm).

Angraecum calceolus' root system

     There can be up to ten leaves on the plant which can reach a length of 6 1/2 - 8 inches (16-20cm).

Angraecum calceolus with additional plants at the base
and in flower on 6 - 18 inch (15-45cm) long wiry inflorescence.
     Angcm. calceolus will do well mounted to various slabs and wood as well as potted / baskets of 4 - 5 inches (10-13cm).  They have a tendency to grow like weeds and can become heavy clumped specimens in a short period of time.  New plants will develop at the base and often on the lower sections of the stem.  Angcm. calceolus is considered a compact plant and will do very well in the colder reaches of the northern hemisphere; it should however be kept out of temps of 60 degrees F or lower.  If you see ice forming on a window in the winter, keep the plant away from it. 
     During the warmer late spring into the early fall while temps are warm, water the plants that are potted or in baskets every three days.  Back off the watering to every 5 - 7 days during the cold winter months.  Any plants that are mounted should be watered every day during the warm months and every 3 - 4 days during the winter.  When watering both the mounted plants and those in containers, be sure to water the potting material, mounted material or bare roots only.  Try not to get excess water on the leaves.  Too much water sitting up against the stem can and will cause stem rot.  Fertilize every 7 days summer and winter.  Use a systemic fungicide every 30 days and a topical for minors issues when needed.  Be sure to spray the entire plant then; especially the bottoms of the leaves.
Angraecum calceolus
     The average inflorescence is usually about 12 inches (30cm) long and has reached a length of 18 inches (45cm) on several occasions.  There can be 1 - 3 branches on the inflorescence that are 4 - 6 inches (10-15cm).  The number of flowers will range from 4 -6 on a less mature plant with up to fifteen flowers on a mature specimen.  The peduncle is very stiff and wiry and have blackish bracts every 3/4 - 1 1/4 inches (2-3cm) apart. Flowers are about 1 1/4 inch (3cm) long with a club shaped nectar or spur.  Flowers are of a green tint.
     The flowers of Angcm. calceolus do not open in any one direction.  Because of their small make up on being borne on such a wiry platform, it is not unusual to see about 10% of them self pollinate.  They may not be the showiest Angraecums you can own; but they do grow quickly and have a very unusual flower.  Keep in mind that they take up very little room.
Angraecum calceolus with ants and aphids
     Up until recently, the only pest issue I've had to deal with was aphids.  As you can see in the image above, an ant is farming the aphids.  It collects the waste from the aphids to use as fertilizer for their own food source.  Using a mild insecticide will eliminate and prevent this problem from occurring.
Angraecum calceolus


  1. First, I have to say I love this blog and I think it's so wonderful that you are making a place to provide info about this wonderful alliance. I also think that, because it is an informational space, that you wouldn't mind if someone pointed out incorrect information. I'm a bit of a word nerd and found an error in this blog. "Calceolous" doesn't mean "little shoe." From what I just tried to translate, it has to do with calcium/ lime in the soil. An example of this would be cypripedium calceolous which grows in chalky soils in some reports. The part having to do with shoes is the "pedi" like cypri-PEDi -um, and paphio- PEDi- lum. Also pedi-cure and so on. I suspect that when this species was discovered, they named it "calceolous" because the soil in which the surrounding vegetation is growing was very high in chalk, or maybe there are limestone cliffs nearby to the habitat where the plant was first discovered etc. That is just a guess, but I believe that is how cypripedium calceolous was named, (also providing the grower a clue to it's cultural requirements in the name-brilliant!). So..I think it's probable that there is a similar story to the naming of this orchid.

    1. Thank you Miss Anna. The blog was created because of the passion I have for the Alliance. It is something I will work on until my last breath. I am very happy that you like it. Let me say that you are right to a point. "Calce" is the Latin word for lime. "Calceo" is the Latin word for shoe. "Calceolus" actually is interpreted as half-boot. The fact that the flower is small is the reference to the little shoe. The plants grow very well in shrubs and the smaller lower branches of trees. I have found a discrepancy in the attitudes in its growth. Sea level to about 100 meters compared to 1,700 - 2,000 meters reported by Fred Hillerman. I will say it grows very well in humid areas.

      Miss Anna, if there is anything that you would like to see or read specifically, please let me know. I am always looking for new ideas and guest post from the readers.


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