Saturday, September 8, 2012

Stanhopea tigrina var. nigroviolacea 'Predator'

S. tigrina var. nigroviolacea 'Predator" with two new flowers opening.
Awesome is an adjective that I like to use to describe this orchid.  It is one of my favorite varieties of Stanhopea that I usually place with S. tigrina var. nigroviolacea.  This orchid has some of the darkest and most intense oxblood, to almost black color on the petals and sepals.  As the grex name implies it is named after a favored cinematic alien invader that hunted humans.  The comparison of the photos here will allow you to make up your own mind…..they do resemble each other to me!

S. tigrina var. nigroviolacea 'Predator' with
four inflorescences open.
This plant is one of my older specimens and I re-basketed it last year.  Since I had purchased it over 10 years ago, it consistently provided me 2 inflorescences each year until last year when it only had one flower.  This year it has rewarded me with nine inflorescences and four have opened all at once.  This orchid has a strong fragrance that is very intense in the cool of the morning until about 11:00 a.m.  A large plant such as this one can produce several inflorescences, and the fragrance of the flowers can be so intense that it can be detected 20 feet away from the plant.  Some people find the fragrance too strong, and almost intoxicating!  The fragrance of these orchids is often described as chocolate and vanilla.  The major component of the fragrance of this orchid and several other Stanhopeas is phenylethyl acetate which can often provide a floral, fruity, or Liqueur-like fragrance.


Stanhope tigrina is a sturdy plant for southern California and is not only one of the showiest species in the genus, but is rather easy to grow.  It can often take early morning sun along the coast without burning and dappled shade the rest of the day.  Average fertilizer and water throughout the year are all it demands.  This is one species that can easily be placed in a large basket because the inflorescences can reach over 8 inches in length (20 cm) and can easily grow out of larger baskets.  These orchids produce the largest flowers in the genus and can approach 6 inches (15 cm) in width.  The leaves are tough and leathery 10.0 -12.5 inches (25.4-31.8) cm long and 3.3-4.5 inches (8.3-11.4) cm wide.

Here is another of my attempts at timelaps photography of Stanhopeas.  I was only able to get the last half of these two flowers opening.  It is difficult to get to the flowers before they open in the morning, so I had better be up at 4:00 a.m. for the next chance. 


  1. Congrats! yes, S.Tigrina its an all time favourite...but..seems that 2 pics are the normal form,70-80 percent dark red segments. widely found east Mexico coast.. only two pics, seems nigroviolacea ,who has all 90 percent segments uniform dark only the tips of sepal are ivory.. only petals are "normal"..exist other 2 forms, one with small dots all over, and one "alba" a.k.a. flava, all ivory, form and size the same these two are found more at s.e.Mexico congrats! I m fan of the predator! and yes, somehow that face reminds a crab face or this orchid, who seems also something marine, like a kind of sea creature