Orchid of the Week: Epidendrum radicans

Finally—I’m back with an orchid of the week! I’ve chosen to feature the Epidendrum radicans because there is a lovely, large specimen growing in my boyfriend’s parents’ backyard in California. This thing is really big…that’s what she said! (Sorry, I had to do it.)

Big ass backyard Epidendrum radicans

Unfortunately it’s not in bloom right now. Epidendrum radicans flowers are some of the cutest around! I always think of them as the “Beaker” orchid (from The Muppets). Let’s compare:

Epidendrum radicans at the 2011 Orchid Show
Beaker, Muppet

Yep. Anyway, this orchid is known as the reed orchid or reed-stem orchid, and is native to tropical parts of the Americas. They are very hardy and can grow in a variety of environments, which I hope will serve me well because I took three little plantlets home with me!

My Epidendrum radicans plantlets
Potted in bark mix

I brought the plantlets home on the airplane, inside a Kleenex box stuffed with paper towels to keep them from getting crushed. I had no trouble getting them through security—apparently it’s ok to bring plants on a plane as long as they aren’t potted in soil. At least, that’s what a fellow orchid lover told me as we were browsing at Santa Barbara Orchid Estate.

My boyfriend’s mother told me that the blooms on her plant are red, so I imagine that if I’m able to get one or all of these little guys to bloom eventually, they will look something like this:

Red Epidendrum Radicans, 2010 Orchid Show

These orchids come in all sorts of colors; in addition to the white-and-lilac variety above, I’ve seen them in yellow, bright pink, Pepto Bismol pink, and orange:

Yellow, 2009 Orchid Show
Bright Pink, 2010 Orchid Show
Pepto Pink, 2010 Orchid Show
Orange, 2010 Orchid Show

And now for the scientific classification portion of this blog post!

Family: Orchidaceae

Subfamily: Epidendroidaea

Tribe: Epidendreae

Subtribe: Laeliinae

Genus: Epidendrum

Have a great weekend and don’t be scared of this whole End of Days/Rapture/doomsday thing. Someone like like Buffy, Angel, or Sam and Dean Winchester will swoop in and save us. All of these guys are all well-versed in preventing apocalypses…or is it apocalypsii?

Sam and Dean

See ya next week.  😀

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