Saturday, September 5, 2015

Stanhopea impressa

This species is native to the western foothills of the Andes Mountains and is found in moist montane forests in Colombia and Ecuador.  The orchid grows at elevations between 1,640 to 6,000 feet (500 to 2,000 m).  The 4 inch (10.2 cm) wide flowers are cream colored to white and have a few sparse reddish spots along the petals and more on the sepals, hypochile and column. The center portion of the flower is infused with an intense yellow-gold color. The fragrance of the flowers is similar to basil and is slightly herb-like, but with an undertone of moth balls.

Stanhopea impressa inflorescence

This is the first to bloom of three clones that I have, so there may be more variation in the species than at first glance. Stanhopea impressa is a mid summer bloomer and tends to bloom after a related species S. embreei which has a fantastic fragrance.  Stanhopea impressa is easy to care for here in southern California and requires cool to intermediate temperatures to perform well.  The horticultural requirements are similar to other Stanhopea species such as S. tigrina, though the species tends to perform better with more shade and water.

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