I've been wanting to write up on Dendrobium bigibbum, except it's now called Vappodes phalaenopsis. My friend gave me a start from her plant, so I don't have photos of the blooming plant. I identified it from web pictures, which look exactly like her plant.
(This drawing from wikimedia commons under Dendrobium bigibbum. Illustrator is Vera Scarth Johnson)
Here is the start, I imagine it was a keikei. That was about 3 months ago. It sat for 2 months, then started to grow from the point where the aerial roots are seen. So it's about doubled in size now. I take that as a message that I'm not killing it. Now it's responding with a small shoot from the base - cool! Currently the leaves look a lot like Epidendron leaves, but the botanical drawings of Dendrobium bigibbum also show similar leaves and stems. I had potted up the keikei in the same bark/perlite/peat medium that I use for other orchids, and it's been getting the same weekly/weakly fertilizer regimen as well. I will guess, it's 1 to 2 years from blooming.
Lindenia Iconographie des Orchidées 1892 I edited the pic with a little color enhancement and cropped a little. Given over a century of fading, this editing may have brought the drawing back toward its original color.
This is the Oncidium that got it all started for me. No ID, my wild guess is "Gower Ramsey" but that may change if I can get a picture showing the pseudobulbs. I'm hoping a current tiny bud at the base of the newest pseudobulb on the original plant is a bloom spike. However, the last "bloom spike" turned out to be a new growth instead, which matured into a nice plump pseudobulb.
OK, so this is the first of the starts to take off and grow. I've blogged on these Oncidium backbulbs before. They continue to grow, and are all producing lots of aerial roots that then find their way into the medium and become nonaerial roots, just like the parent plant. I think now they have progressed beyond being called "backbulb" and can now be considered actual orchid plants. If the parent plant blooms, then these might bloom in a year or two.
Here are the 2 smaller ones. One is in a clear plastic pot, so I can see roots as they develop. The other is in a clay pot. I can compare notes on how they grow in the 2 pot types. The plant in plastic is smaller but started much later as well.