Thursday, September 12, 2013

Stanhopea stevensonii

This orchid is native to Colombia.  It grows in intermediate to warm mountain forests at approximately 1,312 feet (400-m) in elevation.  This species requires shade and copious amounts of water.  I grow the plant on the north side of my house, and  it appears to need more shade thus it grows better here than with greater sun exposure.  This species has golden yellow flowers with pale red eye spots on the upper hypochile, and few small red spots on the petals and sepals.  There are also small red spots on the epichile and column.  The fragrance of this Stanhopea is difficult to describe and smells sweet but rather chemical-like.  The fragrance is similar to sweet grass with trace amounts of fresh pine needles. Some individuals have described the fragrance as being similar to moth balls, but I have not detected this fragrance in fresh flowers. 
Stanhopea stevensonii inflorescence
 
The flowers are 3.0 to 3.2 inches (7.6 to 8.1 cm) wide with several flowers (5-7) on an inflorescence.   The inflorescences are rather short, to 6 inches (15.2 cm) in length.  This is one of the smaller Stanhopea with short inflorescences, so it is best to grow it in a small basket.  I grow my specimen in an 8 inch (20 cm) basket and it has been doing well in that size basket for years. The leaves of this orchid are a light green, and are 7.5 to 10.5 inches (19 to 26 cm) long and 3.9 to 4.8 inches (10 to 12 cm) wide.  The pseudobulbs are 1.6-2.2 inches (4.0 to 5.6 cm) long and deeply furrowed. 
Stanhopea stevensonii flower

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