Category Archives: Orchids in cultivation

Orchids in cultivation

This page overs interesting orchids seen in the region. ‘Interesting’ includes rare, or particularly colorful or well-shaped flowers. Or maybe a plant that is exceptionally well grown. In short: ‘Wow, I’d like to see, or better, be able to grow that. A plant worth adding to your collection, if you could. Usually this means that the flowers on this page are tropical in nature. Enjoy the entries below!


A labeling mistake

Phalaenopsis stuartiana

Phalaenopsis stuartiana, looking it in the face.

At a recent orchid club meeting, Sylvia brought a well-flowered specimen of Phalaenopsis schilleriana. That is what the label said. And yes, the leaves of the plant are beautifully silver-marbled, as you would expect. But the flowers were not pink and it made her wonder, rightfully so. Here is what Dr. Eric Christenson had to say about Phalaenopsis stuartiana (in Phalaenopsis, a monograph, Timber Press): “leaves […] dark green with upper surface silvery gray marbled and lower surface purple suffused. Flowers numerous, membranous, faintly fragrant, white, the inner halves of the lateral sepals greenish yellow with chestnut-brown spots, the lateral lobes of the lip with chestnut-brown spotting, the midlobe with similar larger spotting, the callus yellow, the column white. […] Lip […] the apex shallowly notched and flanked by a pair of retrorse, falcate lobules in the form of an anchor […].” It is not easy to identify an unlabelled or mislabeled orchid, but in this case, there is no doubt that this is the species Phalaenopsis stuartiana. It is endemic to the island of Mindanao¬† in the Southern Philippines and named for Stuart Low. This Phalaenopsis is known to produce many long-lasting flowers and it is certainly worth growing. Congratulations to Sylvia for growing a very nice plant.

Showy and valuable


Paph. micranthum var. eburnum ‘Perfecto’

Here is an orchid that produces especially nice flowers. This Paphiopedilum micranthum variety eburnum, owned by the Orchid Inn and shown at the Greater Omaha Orchid Society show this spring, was given the varietal name ‘Perfecto’. Perfect it is. The shape is symmetric, and the (pink striped) dorsal sepal and petals are nice and flat. A wonderful example of a plant that is being recognized by the American Orchid Society as a superior form of Paphiopedilum micranthum with an Award of Merit. Congratulations to Sam Tsui of the Orchid Inn for producing such a nice plant and flower. Sam does a lot of hybridizing and – in this case – improvement of species by selective breeding with wonderful results. His work not only produces nice flowers, it also protects orchids in nature. We can safely buy plants that come from a greenhouse and not from nature itself. A way of preservation in the wild, with visually pleasing results.

Seeing rare orchids

Bulbophyllum hiansOne of the joys of traveling to orchid shows is that you get to see orchids in flower, grown by other people, and new to you. In spring there are of course many examples of Phalaenopsis to be seen, some common and some very nice indeed. And then, you get to see things you did not know existed. At the spring show of the Utah Orchid Society in Salt Lake City, there was a Bulbophyllum to be admired, that was listed as Bulbophyllum hians. This is a very rare orchid, seldom seen in the United States. The owner reports that the flowers open in the morning, close in the afternoon to re-open again the next morning. The plant presumably only wants early-day pollinators to visit! This plant is now being studied by the Species Identification Task Force of the American Orchid Society. They are a committee of experts who will research if the flower here shown really is of Bulbophyllum hians. You can read more about their work on many more interesting plants on their own blog. Over time this committee will confirm that this is indeed Bulbophyllum hians, or else hopefully tell us what its proper name is.