With the exception of a couple of Crucifix Orchids that virtually grow themselves, I’ve never had much luck getting these exotic plants to bloom. That is, until now.
Say hello to my Surprise Orchid. There was no special attention, no specific fertiliser, and certainly no serious love and attention directed towards this plant, and yes, I am very surprised it has bloomed.
I’ve been watching the flower spikes for a couple of weeks now, and although technically they aren’t pink, those two buds on the left look suspiciously pink to me, especially when the bud on the right is held in focus. Pink – Purple, I’m not going to split hairs and I’m hoping Becky won’t either for her ‘In the Pink’ Square in September photo challenge.
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The Orchidaceae family of plants – commonly referred to as the Orchid Family – is incredibly widespread with approx. 28,000 accepted species. Only the Asteraceae family contains more with 32,913. Asteraceae is the sunflower family, also referred to as the aster or daisy family and, according to Wikipedia, identifying which of the two families is larger is unclear and still under debate, because “. . . verified data on the members of such enormous families are continually in flux”.
Orchids are spectacular, apparently reasonably tough, and prized for the many structural variations in their flowers.
I believe I have four – possibly five – and just a tiny sample of the multitude available. Previously, I have had flowers on two crucifix orchids. One is orange, the other is purple. I’ve had a flower spike appear on a Cooktown Orchid, but alas, they dried up, died and fell off the spike without opening. As I said earlier, I’ve never had much luck getting these exotic plants to bloom. That is, until now.
I have no idea what variety of orchid this one is, but I believe it is a variety of Dendrobium kingianum, also known as Pink Rock Orchid. This is a very popular Australian species with little pink flowers that appear in spring following a dry rest through winter. I certainly allowed it to have a dry rest during winter. Most of my plants received exactly the same treatment as I battled the dreaded flu.
Here are a few facts about orchids.
A wide variety of orchids are perennial epiphytes that grow anchored to either trees or shrubs; others are lithophytes that grow on rocks, and yet, there are other varieties of orchids that are terrestrial – found growing in habitat areas such as grasslands or forest.
Some orchids have only a single flower, but most have a racemose* inflorescence, often with a large number of flowers. In almost all species, there is a highly modified petal, fused stamens and carpels, and minuscule (often microscopic) seeds. Propagation from seeds can be very difficult, though not impossible.
The dried seed pods of one orchid genus are commercially important as a flavouring in baking, for perfume manufacture and aromatherapy – aka – Vanilla. (Remember what I just said about orchid seeds being tiny?) I never realised that vanilla was an orchid. Wow! Next time I’m cooking, I might think differently about that little bottle of vanilla pods I have in my pantry.
Caleana major is a small terrestrial orchid found in eastern and southern Australia. It has a remarkable flower that resembles a duck in flight and hence, it is commonly known as the flying duck orchid. In 1986 it was featured on an Australian postage stamp.
* A flower cluster with the separate flowers attached by short equal stalks at equal distances along a central stem. The flowers at the base of the central stem develop first.