Orchid of the Week: Dracula vampira

Dracula is real! In orchid form, anyway. This past week I discovered that there is a genus of orchids named Dracula, so of course I had to pick one for this week’s featured orchid (vamps are SO HOT RIGHT NOW). So of course there is a variety called Dracula vampira—and like its undead namesake, it is dark and a little spooky:

Dracula vampira orchid
Photo credit: dogtooth77, Flickr

Dracula vampira is native to the mountains of Transylvania Ecuador and Colombia. Look at the flowy capes on these guys! No sparkly vamps here, just pure beauty.

Dracula vampira
Photo credit: orchidarium.com

Pretty spectacular, right? Who knew such flowers existed?? The incredible variety in appearance is one of the things I love about orchids, and the names can be super fun too. I wonder when there will be a Dracula vampira named ‘Edward‘…if there isn’t already. Personally, I’d like to see a ‘Stefan‘, or maybe even a ‘Damon‘. 🙂

Introducing…Orchid of the Week!

The other night I was lying in bed and thought it would be fun to do a new feature on my blog where we take a look at a different type of orchid each week. The breadth of variety within the orchid family is astounding and I’m constantly finding out about orchids that I’ve never seen before.

So I’m going to feature a different orchid each Friday, partly for educational purposes, but mostly for marveling at pretty orchid photos. 🙂 Just one of the sources I’ll use to select orchids for these posts is 300 Orchids: Species, Hybrids & Varieties in Cultivation by Jane Boosey, which in and of itself holds tons of photos and information about orchids I’ve never even heard of. And (duh) it only has 300 kinds! According to Wikipedia there are up to 26,000 species of orchids…which, in my mind, may as well be infinity.

Alright, so after that windup, the the orchid I’ve chosen for the first Orchid of the Week installment is Encyclia cochleata, aka Prosthechea cochleata. According to Bloom-Again Orchids by judywhite, the name may even be changed again, to Anacheilium cochleatum.

Encyclia cochleata
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

This orchid is also known as the cockleshell orchid or the octopus orchid; the reason why is pretty clear. The blooms can be fragrant and the plant is a native grower in Florida (where it is endangered), among other countries like Colombia and Venezuela. I just think it’s freakin’ adorable — I mean look at it! This is one of the more unique-looking orchids that I’ve come across so far (with my fairly limited orchid knowledge).

This orchid variety tends to have long-lasting blooms and can even have blooms throughout most of the year. How cool is that!? I would definitely like to try growing an Encyclia cochleata at some point in my life. 🙂