Thursday, November 26, 2009

Orchid experiment

With so many orchids available, I've been tempted into buying some. Over the past few months, I've added several. The flowers last weeks, even months, so if they don't re-bloom, it's not a total loss. Still, I hope they do, and they were one of the reasons for adding the West window to my home office. I have a lot of learning to do about growing orchids. Most do not like wet medium, grow best in bark-based substrates, like cool nights and warm, not hot, days. The light requirements also vary by genus and species. Apparently, modern hybrids are more flexible than species, but who knows what will happen to these particular varieties?

These are all unnamed hybrids. With thousands of varieties avaiable, over 20,000 species, I'll probably never know the variety names. I've been reading about the evolutionary adaptations of orchids. About 1/3 of the species have deceptive anatomy, color, or scent, to fool insects into pollenating them. Unlike the relationship between fruit trees and bees, or many other flowers and pollenating insects, the orchid provides no nectar or nutrition. Just a 'thrill' to the male insects that are convinced that the orchid flower is a female. Many of the adaptations are specific to one insect species. For some, it's wasps, for some, hornets, for some, bees, for some, moths, for some, beetles. Amazing.

Oncidium hybrid

Phaelenopsis hybrid

Oncidium hybrid

West window garden. The upper shelves are great for the Shlumbergera.

South window garden. I think that the white flower is a Dendrobium intergeneric hybrid, but I'm not certain. Pacific northwest winters are so gloomy, I don't think there is much risk of leaf sunburn.

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