Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Stanhopea candida

Stanhopea candida

Stanhopea candida inflorescence

This orchid is native to warm forests and foothills of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.   It is found at elevations from 330 to 1,970 feet (100 to 600 m).  This is one of the several Stanhopeas that need warm temperatures all year around, so I bring the plant inside the house from November through March.  I grow it outside in the spring and summer months on the north side of the house where it receives indirect light and mostly shade.  This orchid enjoys a warm and humid atmosphere with a relatively moist growing medium.  It also grows well in ventilated ares with a good breeze.  The fragrance of S. candida is primarily the scent of wintergreen.  Wintergreen is one of the major components in the pain reliever Bengay, so that is exactly what this flower smells like, though it is rather light in scent.  This is a fall blooming species of Stanhopea, though some have reported that it also blooms in the spring.
Stanhopea candida hypochile with
small pink spots

This Stanhopea is closely related to S. grandiflora and S. reichenbachiana.  The flowers are small (2.75 to 3.15 inches – 7.0 to 8.0 cm) wide, primarily white, and have no real horns.  There are two short curved projections on either side of the upper hypochile.  The remaining hypochile is joined into a short tube that opens to both the upper hypochile and epichile.  On the front side of the hypochile are small pink spots, the only other color on this flower.  The epichile is a short lanceolate shaped projection.  The column is an off white color that is infused with green and is almost florescent. The leaves of S. candida are usually 9.8 to 19.6 inches (25 to 50 cm) long; however, my form has shorter leaves 9 to 12 inches (22.8 to 30.5 cm) long and 2.5 to 4.2 inches (6.4 to 10.7 cm) wide.  These orchids are  rather short  with small pseudobulbs 0.75 to 1.2 inches (1.9 to 3.0 cm) wide at maturity.  The plant may be smaller in size because it is still a little young.  I also grow it outdoors in the summer where it is less humid and warm in comparison to the tropical conditions the orchid finds acceptable.

Stanhopea candida hypochile and column

In side profile the hypochile has a rather rectangular configuration.  The buds of this species emerge through the inflorescence bracts rather early in development, and spend a large amount of time developing outside the bracts.  This is in contrast to many other Stanhopea that allow the buds to develop for a long time inside the inflorescence bracts before they emerge.

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