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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Gongora gratulabunda

There is only one species (or section if you accept flaveola and similis) in the genus Gongora that has this wonderful serpentine kink near the base of the lip: gratulabunda. The flowers are large for a Gongora and widely spaced. It is instantly recognizable and one of my favorites. G. gratulabunda grows as an epiphyte in wet tropical forests along the Pacific coast of Colombia at 850 to 1600 meters elevation. Rudolf Jenny states in his Monograph of the Genus Gongora that it is one of the rarest of the genus.

After at least three attempts I finally managed to set a capsule on one of our gratulabunda accessions. Most of our gongoras resist pollination by hand, at least when the pollinia are freshly released from the anther. Over and over again they seem to want to spring back out of the stigmatic cavity like a rabbit eared jack-in-the-box. Lately I've been letting Gongora pollinia dry for 30 minutes before placing it in the stigmatic opening with a little more success. Gratulabunda means 'wishing luck' which sums up my hopes for our new gratulabunda seedlings.


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