Angraecum leonis

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Aerangis citrata

     Aerangis citrata, the Latin interpretation means "lemon-colored", referring to the two small bead shaped tops of the anther cap.  When first opened, the lemon color is very pronounced.

Aerangis citrata
     Formerly known in some circles as Angraecum citratum, Aerangis citrata is found throughout Madagascar.  From the southeast coast through the central part of the country into the northwest section.  It is an epiphyte growing on lower branches that can be found at sea level to about 4,900 feet (1,500m).  It is almost always found near water of some sort and is highly adaptable in several types of climate as long as the moisture is available.
     Aerangis citrata is a very easy plant to grow.  It is often sought after by collectors that prefer mini or small species because it will grow and thrive under lights.  A decent specimen plant will bloom 2 - 3 times during the year and will produce numerous inflorescence with as many as 15 - 20 flowers.
Aerangis citrata
     As with all of my Aerangis that I grow, Aergs. citrata is grown mounted to cork slabs.  I prefer the plants to be slightly pendant so that any excess water does not sit in the leaves against the stem.  The water runs off of the plants easily.  This also allows the inflorescence to freely become pendant and the flowers can be seen at just about any angle. 
     During the warm late spring, the hot summer and into early fall, the mounted Aerangis' are watered every day.  When temperatures reach the mid eighties and into the nineties, the plants are also misted heavily in the afternoon hours.  Giving them enough time to dry off prior to night fall.
When temperatures do cool down into the low seventies and lower; the watering frequency is cut back to just misting in the morning and regular watering every three days.  It is important to mist the mounted plants throughout the warmer days because the plant can dehydrate without enough moisture.
     As stated earlier, the plants are highly adaptable and can handle the warm summer days and cooler temps of fall and winter.  For plants that are grown in the hobbyists' home in colder regions; be sure to keep them away from direct contact of windows where temperatures can be 10 - 15 degrees F (6-9C) cooler than a spot on a table just a few feet away.
     The amount of light that my plants receive is no brighter than bright shade and have been placed in areas for short periods of time that is less than average Phal light.  Aerangis citrata should not get any direct sun light.  The leaves are broad and thin enough that they will burn easily and dehydrate the plant itself.  It will do well in average Phal light.
     For those of you that are growing Aerangis citrata in small pots; be sure that the mix you're using drains and no excess water sits in the pot.  Although the plant requires and thrives on that moisture, you do not want the roots to rot.  The stem's average height is about 2.4 inches (6cm) and will hold 6 - 8 leaves that are 3 - 4.7 inches (8-12cm) long by 1 - 1.5 inches (2.5-4cm) wide.  It will do very well in a 3 - 4 inch (8-10cm) pot and should not out grow it.  If the medium that you are using does start to break down, re-pot the plant at the beginning of the growing season (early spring) so that the plant does re-establish itself quickly.
     I use a standard fertilizer once a week throughout the entire spring, summer and early fall.  Once the watering is backed off, I eliminate the fertilizer until spring or when the new growth begins.  A systemic fungicide is applied every three to four weeks and I keep a watch for small issues due to the amount of water given to the plants.  Insecticides and mite-icides are applied every 6 - 8 weeks and a small amount is kept on hand in case there are any problems.  Here in South Florida, spider mites can creep up suddenly as well as white fly problems (which have become a big nuisance in the last year or so).  Watch for scale on the inflorescence as they develop.
     During the blooming periods, inflorescence will grow from the leaf axils.  Each can be up to 10 inches (25cm) long and carry up to 18 flowers.  Buds will form along the entire length of the flower spike about .4 inches (1-1.3cm) apart and will always face in one direction.  Flowers are .6 - .7 inches (1.5-1.7cm) wide by .7 - .8 inches (1.7-2.0cm) high.  Each flower has a club shaped nectary or spur that is about 1.2 inches (3cm) long.  It is usually green from the throat of the flower turning a pristine white at the last quarter length of the tip.
Developing buds & flowers of Aerangis citrata
     Once the inflorescence has grown and the buds begin to develop, they all develop upright.  The short nectary will already be in position and that is facing down or dropping down.  The flowers will open successively.  Those being closest to the plant opening first and then towards the tip.  It is said that the flowers have a faint citrus fragrance, although I have never picked up on that.
     Aerangis citrata will become a beautiful specimen plant in 3 - 5 years after it's first blooms appear.  Be sure to give it the proper care and meet its requirements and the plant will bless you with numerous flowers a few times a year.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Angraecums in Fort Lauderdale

     The Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society held their 53rd Annual Orchid Show this past weekend.  They held a Preview Party on Thursday evening kicking off the show which was attended by several hundred guests.  The show officially opened Friday morning and ended the day with a record number of patrons attending.  Saturday and Sunday were just as busy and vendors that lived close enough were scrambling back to their green houses for more product.  All in all it has been declared an unofficial huge success.  That brings me to the real reason for this post.  Angraecums at the Ft. Lauderdale Show; not for sale, but plants that were used in the vendors displays.  T-h-r-e-e !
     I think its sad that the twenty-two orchid vendors that are required to set up displays; only three used an Angraecum.  I realize that the displays showcase the plants that each vendor may be known for or plants that they have specialized in hybridizing.  Yet each grower still uses plants that they sell to fill in spots or fill a design plan.  This time of year, their are several very large and showy Angraecums available in bud and in bloom.  Yet very few of the growers use the Alliance for display let alone attempt to sell.
     Setting aside the displays for a moment, I will say that there were several vendors with a slight selection of Angraecums.  One vendor from California, Cal Orchids had a decent selection of miniature and compact Angraecoids.  Of which I obtained numerous plants.  The point that I'm getting to is this; the Angraecum Alliance is not a popular group of plants.  There are over 600 species of Angraecoids with a large volume of hybrids now available.  The big showy plants such as Angcm. sesquipedale, Angcm. eburneum, not to mention some of the hybrids, Angcm. Veitchii, Angcm. Crestwood and Angcm. Lemforde White Beauty have gained some popularity.  When you see mature plants at the orchid shows, you see some heavy duty prices.  Many people don't want to bother with a seedling because of the amount of time it will take to grow into a prize winning specimen.  I can't forget to mention that some growers and hobbyists are afraid to grow them thinking that the plants are too demanding.  That their requirements are to stringent.  I will admit that some of the Angraecoids are a bit finicky; but think of this, give the plant what it needs and you'll be rewarded with the most beautiful flowers you can imagine.  Most are fragrant at night and will last several weeks or more.

Angraecum Veitchii
     The plant in the image above is an Angcm. Veitchii.  It was the first Angcraecum hybrid between Angcm. eburneum crossed with an Angcm. sesquipedale.  Many people are not aware of the fact that the hybrid suffers from "Twisty Flower"; and it has suffered from this affliction from day one (1899).  The seed parent, Angcm. eburneum has a superior lip.  It has turned up an erect, like a hood.  The pollen parent, Angcm. sesquipedale, has an inferior lip, it is down and points out.  The terms superior and inferior have nothing to do with quality; it is just the terminology used for the type of lip the flower has.
     Angcm. Veirchii is the offspring and its flowers can't seem to make up their mind as to how the lip should position itself.  Therefore, each flower opens facing the ground or being parallel to it.  You never seem to see the face of the flower.  The trick here is to wait for the first flower at the tip of the spike to start to open.  As soon as you see the sepals of the bud starting to split, stake the spike upright.  The flower will open facing out as will each flower after that.  Stake the spikes to soon and the flowers will still open facing down.  Once you've staked the spikes properly, you can now enjoy your hard work and enjoy the large showy blooms.
Angraecum Crestwood
     The image above shows an Angcm. Crestwood.  It is the offspring of a cross between Angcm. Veitchii and Angcm. sesquipedale.  By introducing Angcm. sesquipedale into its own offspring, the flowers have become larger, a more pristine white and they no longer suffer from "Twisty Flower".  Each flower opens facing out, however the nectary or spurs have a tendency to stick out and away from the bloom rather than hang down.  This individual plant was very well grown and cared for.  The leaves were spotless and the height of the plant was just over 18 inches (45cm) tall.
Angraecum eburneum
     The last Angraecum to make an appearance at the Ft. Lauderdale Orchid Society's show is Angcm. eburneum.  The plant is a species and is the seed parent of Angcm Veitchii.  Its flowers are tightly grouped on staked spikes; in the wild the inflorescence is usually some what pendant like.  The plant can reach close to 5 1/2 - 6 feet (1.8m) in the wild.  Both of these plants were close to 3 feet (1m) high.
     All of these Angraecums are fragrant at night and do well in a coarse medium; allowing the root system quick drainage and the chance to breath.  They really don't have a rest period during the winter months like some of the small Angraecoids do.  With the proper care they can outlive their owners.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Angcm. magdalenae & Her Hybrids

     With some reluctance, I've decided to publish this post in its unfinished state.  The main reason is the lack of information I've been able to gather or should I say NOT gather.  It has been a very slow process and I know that their are numerous readers that have been waiting for this post.  I will continue to add to it over the next several weeks or months for that matter as I gather more information.  I am sorry to say that its beginning is rather bleak.
     As I had stated in a post made on the tkangraecums page in facebook; one of the first readers of the blog asked a very simple question.  They knew of two hybrids (Angcm. Lemforde White Beauty and Angranthes Grandalena) created from Angcm. magdalenae but wanted to know if there were any others available.  Before I answer that question, let me say that the reader is very passionate about the species Angcm. magdalenae; as well she should be.  She presently has three Angcm. magdalenae and two Angraecum Lemforde White Beauties.  Many botanists consider the species near extinct while a few do use the word extinction.  It is hobbyists like this reader and myself and so many others; along with some growers that are trying to keep the species alive by growing them in their private collections.  It would be a shame to sit back and watch as one of the most beautiful Angraecums disappears into oblivion.

Angraecum Lemforde White Beauty
(Angcm. magdalenae x Angcm. sesquipedale)
(Lemforder Orchids - Originator, Registered 1984)

     Now, the answer to that question is that there are twenty registered hybrids.  I am not using the word available.  The first registered hybrid using Angcm. magdalenae as one of the parents was in 1975 (about thirty eight years ago).  That was a cross between Angcm. magdalenae (seed parent) and Aeranthes ramosa (pollen parent).  The plant produced was registered as Angranthes Lomarlynn.  This hybrid would also be the first to run into a brick wall as far as gathering any information.  I have found nothing about it anywhere other than the registered name and the originator (R. Ciesinski).
     Again, I am not going to use the word available or availability; I will use the phrase NOT AVAILABLE (n/a).  After thinking about the lack of information, I started coming to the conclusion that the hybrid(s) were no longer available because they may have sold out to quickly and then it hit me.  The possibility of the originator, registrant and/or grower not wanting to continue the hybrid.  I have talked to several growers about this and they all but confirmed the probability of the hybrid(s) just fading away.  Their consensus is the following.
     Many growers that do specialize in hybridizing orchids spend years trying to improve certain plants.  Bigger flowers, flowers that last longer, grow faster and are a sell able asset.  It takes time, money and space to eventually produce a hybrid that is profitable.  If any of these criteria fail, the hybrid will usually just be discontinued and eventually fade away.  Their thought of what may have happened to the Angcm. magdalenae hybrids is that they weren't showy enough, that they grew too slow which prevented a profitable product and at the time, Angraecums were no where near the top of any one's list to take the time to grow.  On the other hand, Fred Hillerman, who had his hands in the creation of seven Angcm. magdalenae hybrids may have decided that their results were not what he was expecting.  Keep in mind that he was the forerunner went it came to many Angraecoids.
     Of the seven hybrids that Fred Hillerman created using Angcm. magdalenae as one of the parents, four of them seem to have faded away.  I have been unable to locate any information regarding Angcm. Eburlena, Angcm. Cuculena, Angcm. Longilena and Angcm. Ruffels (which is/was an Angcm. Eburlena x Angcm. magdalenae) other than the parentage and the dates the hybrid was registered.  Two of the hybrids have been awarded; with Angranthes Grandalena (Aeranthes grandiflora x Angcm. magdalenae) receiving 7 HCC/AOS awards and 1 AM/AOS award and Angcm. Stephanie (Angcm. Veitchii x Angcm. magdalenae) receiving 1 HCC/AOS award and an AM/AOS award.  Let me point out that neither hybrid has been awarded anything in the last 23 plus years.  The last of Fred Hillerman's hybrids is Angcm. Superlena, although it has never been awarded, there are several in hobbyist's collections.

Angranthes Grandalena
(Aeranthes grandiflora x Angcm. magdalenae)
(Fred Hillerman - Originator, Registered 1978)
     The following list contains the hybrid name, seed parent, pollen parent, originator and the year that the hybrid was officially registered.  They are listed chronologically by date.
Angth. Lomarlynn - Angcm. magdalenae X Aerth. ramosa - R. Ciesinski - 1975
Angcm. Lady Lisa - Angcm. scottianum X Angcm. magdalenae - R. Elsner - 1977
Angth. Grandalena - Aerth. grandiflora X Angcm. magdalenae - F. Hillerman - 1978
Angcm. Stephanie - Angcm. Veitchii X Angcm. magdalenae - F. Hillerman - 1982
Angcm. Superlena - Angcm. superbum X Angcm. magdalenae - F. Hillerman - 1983
Angcm. Lemforde White Beauty - Angcm. magdalenae X Angcm. sesquipedale - Lemforder - 1984
Angcm. Eburlena - Angcm. eburneum X Angcm. magdalenae - F. Hillerman - 1984
Angcm. Vigulena - Angcm. magdalenae X Angcm. viguieri - R. Ciesinski - 1987
Angcm. Crystal Star - Angcm. rutenbergianum X Angcm. magdalenae - D. Pulley - 1989
Angcm. Cuculena - Angcm. cucullatuim X Angcm. magdalenae - F. Hillerman - 1989
Angcm. White Emblem - Angcm. didieri X Angcm. magdalenae - T. Matsuda - 1991
Angcm. Amazing Grace - Angcm. florulentum X Angcm. magdalenae - T. Takimoto - 1993
Angth. Longilena - Aerth. longipes X Angcm. magdalenae - Great Lakes - 1997
Angth. Etoile Filante - Aerth. neoperrieri X Angcm. magdalenae - M. & M.F. Bourdon - 2001
Angcm. Longilena - Angcm. longicalcar X Angcm. magdalenae - F. Hillerman - 2004
Angcm. Sorodale - Angcm. sororium X Angcm. magdalenae - unknown - 2005 (reg. RHS)
Angcm. Ruffels - Angcm. Eburlena X Angcm. magdalenae - F. Hillerman - 2006
Eugcm. Wallnet Valley - Eugcm. Lydia X Angcm. magdalenae - unknown - 2006 (reg. Rinke)
Angcm. Cloud's Christmas Cradle - Angcm. Lmf. Wht. Beauty X Angcm. magdalenae - Rossi - 2007
Paraphalraecum Memoria Barbara Oviatt - Angcm. magdalenae X Paraphalaenopsis Kolopaking -
     R. Ciesinski - 2011
     This list makes up all of the registered hybrids in which Angcm. magdalenae was used as one of the parents.  I am currently working on gathering information regarding their availability.  I will say that several have faded away for now.  I will post again in a few days. 
     Thank you everyone for being so patient!    
In a few days, I'll make additional comments regarding this entry.  Lets call it a "serial post".