Sunday, April 27, 2008

Chirita drakei in flower

This is a follow-up post for Chirita drakei in Feb 2008. After making my comments in a public blog that i think it will not flower for me, the plant has decided to do just that in end March 2008! Unusually large bracts protect the buds. I failed to detect any hint of fragrance or carrion. The pollen is not exposed and it requires an insect to eat or destroy the anther caps before releasing the dusty pollen. The self-pollination attempt is so far so good with 3 thin long capsule developing. The true test for viable seeds is still months away.

Oeceoclade calcarata

This is probably one of the more commonly offered Oeceoclades species in the orchid market. I got my from Burleigh Park Orchids an Austrialian nursery by sharing a shipment with other local orchid hobbyists. Once again, the label says it is O. decaryana. Many other offers and photos on the web suggest it is O. calcarata. This is my first and oldest pot of Oeceoclades. And one of the most prolific growers with multiple growing points. Even the bud on top of a old pseudobulb is capable of giving rise to an new offset - bottom right. It is extremely succulent and drought tolerant with very strong thick roots covered with exceptionally spongy velamen. Unfortunately, it is flower shy; a firm identification will have to wait. Garay & Taylor* mentions that the type specimen is without precise locality, probably again from deciduous forest of northern or western Madagascar.

This post and the last few posts cover my Oeceoclades collection. If someone is going to order an Oeceoclades petiolata from ISI 2008 offering contact me!

*The Genus Oeceoclades by L. Garay & P. Taylor in Botanical Museum Leaflets Harvard University, Vol. 24, No. 9.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Oeceoclades spathulifera?

This is species very closely related to O. calcarata. In my view, without flowering this orchid, it would be more appropriate to classify it as different colour variant of O. calcarata. The leaves are very thick, the surface is hard and shiny as if coated with clear varnish. The thick, hard pseudobulbs are distinctively 4-angled. I got it when it was a seedling and it came with a label O. spathulifera. It would not be wrong to say that it comes from the deciduous-scrub of western Madagascar.

Oeceoclades roseo-variegata

This is the type species that comes from near Diego Suarez, Montague des Francaise.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Another Oececlades

Got this beautiful form of O. roseovariegata through plant exchange. It is originated from "Berevo", which i presume is a village marker for locality. The cryptic reddish-marbled tesselation is regal. The leaf surface is also rather unusual for an orchid, it seems to be covered with a very fine felt or has minute projections. It is not "hairy". The type species comes from near Diego Suarez, Montague des Francaise; leaf margins is not as undulating in comparison.

The flowers are small, odourless and insignificant. My self pollination attempt was a failure. Given it's locality up in the northern most tip of Madagascar, reckon it should in theory get more rain and therefore can tolerate more water. At this point with only 1 pot, i'm in no hurry to push it for faster growth.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Oeceoclades peyrotti

I went to the 2007 Johor Orchid Show without expectation; but was really lucky and managed to pick up an unexpected gem Oeceoclades peyrotti. The vendor was selling 6 mth old seedlings out of flask. He purchased this flask of new offering while attending some orchid conference or meeting in France or was it somewhere Europe i cannot recall. This newly described species has been around since 1974, recollected again in the 1990s and was growing in collection of jardin des Cedres at St Jean Cap Ferrat in Southern France. Again, it is a species from the dry deciduous forest of southwestern Madagascar. **

As i was able to successfully nurse from 2 to 4 pseudobulbs it has paid back my small investment. Cultivation is not different from the other oeceoclades. Need to dry out between watering. Potting in very coarse free-draining inorganic mix of rocks, lime or charcoal ... basically any coarse filler material, and filling interstitial space with finer sand or humus.

** Contribution à l'étude des Orchidaceae de Madagascar et des Mascareignes. XXXI. Espèces et combinaisons nouvelles dans les genres Oeceoclades, Eulophia et Eulophiella. J. Bosser & P. Morat. Adansonia, Sér. 3 2001. 23(1): 7-22.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Puzzling Oeceoclades Sp

I got this Oeceoclades seedling from Isobyl La Croix when she offered seed-raised orchids for sale at least 5 years ago. The label suggests O. ambongensis which i had assumed to be correct. Only last year did i manage to xerox a copy of the paper titled The Genus Oeceoclades by L. Garay & P. Taylor in Botanical Museum Leaflets Harvard University, Vol. 24, No. 9. It is a taxonomic paper that suggests a need to split Oeceoclades from Eulophia... a note under O. ambongensis = syn E. ambongense caught my eye: "related species of O. maculata alliance". Looking through a couple of available papers.. it appears that my O. ambongensis have more affinities to O. decaryana. I cannot rule out O. ambongensis because i was not able to get hold of the original description of E. ambongense in an old obscure botanical publication!

The amazing find from websearch yields a mini-picture of a herbarium sheet of Eulophidium ambongense

Holotype of Eulophidium ambongense Schltr. Verified by Perrier de la Bâthie, H., 1950

From: West, sandy forest/wood. [Ouest: bois sablonneux], Manongarivo (Ambongo)

The wealth of online material has just help eliminate the O. ambongense possibility. I just have to wait for flowers to confirm if it is O. decaryana or O. aff*. decaryana! [*decaryana has distinctively 5-angular pseudobulbs]

It is definitely a slow grower. Enjoys drying out between watering. Onion-like 1-1.5" succulent pseudobulbs helps it tide-over long drought much better than fellow madagascan euphorbias! In fact, a distinct period of drought triggers formation of new buds for next season's growth.