Monday, December 24, 2012

Stanhopea nigripes

Stanhopea nigripes young inflorescence

This Stanhopea is native to Peru and grows from elevations of 2,625-6,235 feet (800-1900 m).  It grows in mountain forests that have high humidity and environments that are often moist to wet.  This is one of the Stanhopeas in my collection that dislikes dry growing media and prefers to be moist at all times. This species especially responds well to extra water in the summer and during dry windy days.  It prefers shade and it grows on the north east side of my house where it receives no direct sun, even in the summer months.  This orchid is listed as an intermediate to cool grower, so I have it growing near the protection of the house and covered eaves.
The fragrance of this orchid is a rather heady mixture of eucalyptus and camphor mixed with vanilla.  This is an intense fragrance for this orchid and it can be detected a few feet away from the flowers.  It is a very pleasing fragrance especially around the end of the year holidays.

Stanhopea nigripes flower

The inflorescences are short 4.0-6.0 in. (10-15 cm) long, therefore  this species does best growing in smaller and shallower baskets.  The flowers are 3.9-4.3 in. (10-11 cm) wide and are beige to a light cream in color with the upper hypochile and base of the petals enfused with yellow.  This form was a bit difficult to identify because it superficially resembled S. florida in color and the flowers are slightly larger than typical, but the bend in the hypochile is greater than 90 degrees, therefore more similar to  S. nigripes.  I had originally purchased this species as S. haselowiana, but the epichile does not have the shallow bend of that species.  To ensure proper identification I sent these photos to Rudolf Jenny, and he has determined that this is S. nigripes.  Thank you Mr. Jenny!

Stanhopea nigripes hypochile

The species is a short to medium sized Stanhopea with pseudobulbs 1.2-1.6 in. (3.0-4.0 cm) wide and leaves 7.9-12.6 in. (20-32 cm) long.

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