AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Spathoglottis plicata Blume, Bijdr. Fl. Ned. Ind.: 401 (1825).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Bletia angustifolia Gaudich., Voy. Uranie: 421 (1829).
Paxtonia rosea Lindl., Edwards's Bot. Reg. 24(Misc.): 61 (1838).
Spathoglottis lilacina Griff., Not. Pl. Asiat. 3: 323 (1851).
Phaius rumphii Blume, Mus. Bot. 2: 179 (1856).
Spathoglottis spicata Lindl., J. Proc. Linn. Soc., Bot. 3: 9 (1858).
Spathoglottis deplanchei Rchb.f., Linnaea 41: 86 (1876).
Spathoglottis vieillardii Rchb.f., Linnaea 41: 85 (1876).
Spathoglottis angustifolia (Gaudich.) Benth. & Hook.f., Gen. Pl. 3: 512 (1883).
Spathoglottis augustorum Rchb.f., Gard. Chron., n.s., 25: 9 (1886).
Spathoglottis rosea (Lindl.) G.Nicholson, Ill. Dict. Gard. 3: 467 (1886).
Spathoglottis plicata var. minahassae Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 21: 180 (1925).
Spathoglottis daenikeri Kraenzl., Vierteljahrsschr. Naturf. Ges. Zürich 74: 80 (1929).
Calanthe poilanei Gagnep., Bull. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat., sér. 2, 22: 625 (1951).
Description:
Rhizome very short. Pseudobulbs clustered, 4-7-leaved, ovoid to obliquely conical, 1.5-8 by 1-5 cm, internodes more or less evenly spaced. Leaves petiolate; petiole 12-45 cm long; blade lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate, 26-150 by 1.5-9.5 cm, base attenuate, apex acuminate. Inflorescences racemose, erect, 50-220 cm long, glabrous in basal half, more or less tomentose-pubescent in upper half, peduncle-scales c. 2-7, tubular, rachis tomentose, gradually elongating, few- to many-flowered, with up to 6 or more flowers open at a time. Floral bracts oblong-lanceolate to oblong-ovate, 1.4-3.3 by 0.8-1.8 cm, pubescent, persistent, apex acute to acuminate. Ovary c. 3.7 cm long, pubescent. Flowers 3-4.2 cm diam. Median sepal narrowly ovate, 1.3-2.1 by 0.6-1 cm, pubescent outside, apex obtuse. Lateral sepals obliquely ovate, 1.4-2.2 by 0.6-1.1 cm, pubescent outside, slightly keeled along mid-vein, apex obtuse. Petals ovate to obliquely elliptic, 1.3-2.3 by 1.3-2.3 cm, glabrous, sometimes sparsely and minutely pubescent at base. Lip 3-lobed, 1.2-2 long, 1.2-1.9 cm wide between tips of lateral lobes when flattened; callus bilobed, with triangular-ovate lobes, 0.2-0.3 cm tall, 0.2-0.46 cm wide, with few to many hairs at the top and laterally at base; lateral lobes when flattened making a 90 to 118 degrees angle with the mid-lobe, oblong, dilated to apex or somewhat narrowed at apex or of equal width throughout, 0.6-0.8 by 0.3-0.55 cm, apex obliquely obtuse, rounded or truncate; mid-lobe 0.8-1.3 cm long including the narrow claw; claw 0.3-0.53 cm long, 0.03-0.16 cm wide, with a knee-like swelling or wart, with obliquely triangular deflexed lobules on either side of the bilobed callus; terminal lobule obcordate to reniform, 0.43-1 cm wide. Column slightly curved, 1.3-1.6 cm long. Fruit more or less cylindrical, 2.5-4 by 0.5-0.8 cm, with 1.5-2.8 cm long pedicel. (After Howcroft, 1992).
Colours:
Flower white to pink or magenta; lateral lobes of lip deeper magenta or yellow, callus yellow, often with orange or red spots, terminal lobule of mid-lobe, if not white, somewhat darker than sepals and petals.
Habitat:
Terrestrial in lowland and montane grassland, banks, forest margins, closed forest, usually in disturbed vegetation; 0 to 2970 m.
Flowering time in the wild:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November.
Cultivation:
Light:
Spathoglottis plicata needs a light level of 20000 - 50000 lux. They can grow in full sun but they should protected from the hottest direct sunlight of the day.
Temperature:
The Large Purple Orchid prefers to grow in tropical habitats with warm temperatures. This species does not tolerate temperatures lower than 10°C. The ideal temperature is 24-32 °C. If temperatures are warm, they will bloom year-round. In climates with a cool (but not freezing) winter, they may go dormant at that time if grown outdoors. You can also put them outside just for the summer in cooler climates. If the temps fall below 15° C for extended times, the plant may revert back to growth stage and flowering may be delayed.
Humidity:
Philippine Ground Orchid need high level of humidity, 60-70% is ideal. Constant air movement is also important.
Substrate, growing media and repotting:
Spathoglottis plicata are very forgiving as to the potting media. You can use a media based on 75% high quality soilless mix used for hanging baskets and larger containers mixed with 25% our orchid potting media which incorporates expanded slate. Outdoor landscaping media can incorporate more orchid media for drainage - bark, perlite, sphagnum moss, and various other components. The mix is very free draining but holds more moisture than regular media for epiphytic orchids.
Repotting isn’t necessary, but potted plants should be repotted in a rich organic potting mixture once the soil has become depleted. Their root systems are fairly extensive for their size. Make sure not to damage them.
Watering:
Pleated Leaf Spathoglottis require good drainage in the media, so after a thorough watering allow the media to dry on top but you do not want the container to dry out altogether. Do not allow to sit in water. Water thoroughly in the morning once to twice weekly depending on your cultural conditions allowing the top of the media to dry slightly between waterings. If the potting media is top-dressed with expanded slate, the area next to the pseudobulbs will dry out nice and quickly.
Fertilizer:
Spathoglottis plicata are vigorous and need regular fertilization; constant liquid fertilization of nitrogen works well, and many gardeners use a slow-release fertilizer as well.
Distribution:
Trop. & Subtrop. Asia to Pacific
References:
Flora Malesiana: Orchids of New Guinea