Orchid of the Week: Spiranthes cernua

Hi from Austin! I’m in Texas for a few days, visiting my sister and nieces. My older niece turns four in a few days. FOUR! How time flies. Anyway, in honor of my visit to TX, I selected an orchid native to the state: Spiranthes cernua, aka the Nodding Ladies’ Tresses orchid. Everything is bigger in Texas? Not so when it comes to this orchid:

Image credit: southeasternflora.com

These flowers are only about a centimeter in size. So cute!

Spiranthes cernua
Photo credit: garden-photos-com.com

As a bonus for me, this orchid also happens to be native to Missouri, my home state. Next time I’m at home I’ll have to do some orchid hunting. In fact, this orchid grows wild in over half the states in the U.S., mainly in the midwest, south, and northeast. So you may be able to find them in your hometown!

The leaves are thin, upright, and look like grass, so when the plants aren’t in bloom it can be easy to mistake them for the plain old green stuff.

Image credit: perennialnursery.com/forums

What type of orchids grow wild in your hometown?

Orchid of the Week: Miltonia moreliana

How about that tornado we had in Park Slope last night?? I was in Williamsburg when the tornado blew through my own neighborhood, so I wasn’t around to witness the madness in the Slope. But, there was large gumball-sized hail coming down in Williamsburg when the storm hit. I don’t think I’ve seen hail in about fifteen years!

Anyway, after failing to do an Orchid of the Week post last Friday, I’m back for another installment. This week, I’ve chosen the Miltonia moreliana, a pretty purple specimen native to Brazil:

Miltonia moreliana
Photo credit: Idalecio Santos, Flickr
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Orchid of the Week: Grammatophyllum speciosum

Last week’s featured orchid is one of the smaller orchid plants found around the world. This week I’ve chosen what is thought to be the biggest type of orchid in the world: Grammatophyllum speciosum. This one has a number of nicknames, including Giant Orchid, Tiger Orchid, Sugar Cane Orchid, and Queen of the Orchids. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has a Grammatophyllum speciosum in their orchid collection, and it is no joke. Seriously, this plant is MONSTROUS:

Grammatophyllum speciosum at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Tiger Orchid at the BBG
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Orchid of the Week: Ludisia discolor

My mom, also a fan of orchids, gave me a suggestion for this week’s featured orchid: Ludisia discolor, also known as the jewel orchid. This orchid is actually terrestrial, as opposed to many well-known orchid genera like Phalaenopsis, which are epiphytes. Ludisia blooms are small and white with a sunny yellow center, as evidenced by this lovely photo:

Ludisia discolor
Photo credit: Luiz Felipe Varella, Flickr
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Orchid of the Week: Lepanthes lucifer

I searched for something interesting to write about for this week’s orchid, and came across a horned little devil called Lepanthes lucifer:

Lepanthes lucifer
Photo credit: Eric in SF, Flickr

This orchid totally makes me think of The Host (Lorne) from Angel:

The Host Lorne Angel TV Show
Image credit: fanfiction.wikia.com

Lepanthes blooms tend to be TINY – less than an inch across, in many cases. Specifically, Lepanthes lucifer (aka “Satan’s Lepanthes”) blooms are usually a bit less than a half an inch in diameter, so they truly are little devilish gems. This particular orchid species is found in Ecuador.

Image credit: bluenanta.com

I searched for an image of this orchid that would really demonstrate the miniscule size of these flowers, but the only shots I could find were close-ups. Regardless, I think we can all agree that they are adorable, Lucifer be damned!

The Lepanthes orchids make me think of Dracula orchids, which makes sense because they are in the same orchid subtribe, Pleurothallidinae, along with the more commonly known Masdevallia orchids.

That’s all for now!