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Friday, January 15, 2016

Stanhopea tigrina

'Fierce' was the first word that came to mind when I saw this flower. Holding the heavy big boned flower in the palm of my hand gave me the unsettling sensation that I was holding the skull of an enormous hook-beaked raptor. No wonder people go gaga when they see Stanhopea tigrina.

Stanhopea tigrina is endemic to Mexico, where it grows on the eastern slopes of the Mexican plateau at elevations up to 1800 meters. We have a number of tigrina accessions of different provenance, all growing in our intermediate (60┬║ night minimum) greenhouse, all doing reasonably well. However, this winter, on a trial basis, I'm moving some them to a greenhouse with cooler night temperatures for three months, to see if their growth improves.

With the column removed, you can get a good look at the broad lip with its massive horns.

Even the column is impressive as you can see in this close up -conspicuously winged and splashed with red. Stanhopea tigrina isn't rare in cultivation, but most people would consider themselves lucky to have seen one. You can see our plants in the Orchid Display House. They flower off and on in late summer and early fall. The flowers last about three days.


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