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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Two Beauties

Pleurothallis (syn. Acronia) cyanea
Two of our loveliest Pleurothallids have been flowering simultaneously on the same tree in the Tropical High Elevation House. They make quite a show together.

Pleurothallis (Acronia) calceolaris
Pleurothallis (Acronia) cyanea and P. calceolaris are allied species. Notice how similar the flowers are, apart from their color. Both have a deeply concave synsepal (in the 6 o'clock position), like a broad oval bowl. The lateral petals of the two species are similar in shape, narrowly triangular.

Now compare the dorsal sepals (in the 12 o'clock position) of the two species. The blood red flowers of P. calceolaris have a dorsal sepal that is tall and appears narrow because the margins are reflexed backwards. I like the pebbly (verrucose) texture.

P. cyanea has a dorsal sepal broadly oval in shape and wrinkled in texture. It has a lovely shimmering quality in the sunshine.

P. cyanea and P. calceolaris are both native to Colombia. We grow our plants as epiphytes on trees in the Tropical High Elevation House. We choose a shady location on the moist interior branches of a tree. When we attach an epiphytic orchid to a branch, we use a minimum amount of moss over the roots in order to encourage them to establish directly on the branch rather than in the moss. The downside of using less moss is that the plants need more frequent watering. But that's a small price to pay for increased longevity.


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