July 2024


From Scott McGregor:

All orchids grown outdoors, coastal southern California

Capenemia superflua (uliginosa)

Can be tricky, but grows well for me mounted and bright.  The crystalline flowers are tiny (1/8 inch) but abundant and very fragrant.

Dendrobium thyrsiflorum

A pretty species that tolerates winter rains and bloom reliably.

Diplocaulobium aratriferum 'Watermelon Rind'

The flowers last for only part of a day, but the intense watermelon scent is remarkable, and the plant reblooms many times per year in case you miss it.


Domingoa (Nageliella) angustifolia

I wouldn’t call the flowers pretty, but they open like fireworks on long wiry stems and rebloom repeatedly off the old spikes (don’t cut).

Epidendrum lacustre 'Wow Fireworks' AM/AOS
(purple form from Panama)

Sadly, I’ve neglected this very large and spectacular plant, allowing it to overgrow its pot.  This is an amazing species, growing like a weed and covering itself with flowers that last months.  I promise to divide, repot and clean up this season!  Roberta says this one likes to be sopping wet.

Eulophia speciosa

The plant isn’t pretty, but the flowers make up for it, opening sequentially over many months.  Grows best potted in sand and in full sun.

Maxillaria (Christensonella) vitteliniflora

Tiny 1/8” flowers but makes a pretty clump.

Oncidium harrisonianum

Small (1/4”) but cute flowers, easy grower.

Mormolyca ringens

Small (3/4”) flowers on wiry 6” scapes.


From Roberta Fox:

Coastal southern California

Outside in the Back Yard:


Brassia (Ada) andreetae

Native to Equador, around 1800 m. The big, spidery Brassias are mostly Central American, but Ada from South America has now been lumped into the genus.

Cattleya maxima

One of the few Cattleya species native to Ecuador (also grows in surrounding countries). This is the highland form, which is cold-tolerant enough to live outside at my house. Plants tend to be smaller than the lowland (warm grownng) forms, and the flowers are smaller as well but have more intense color. And this one is a root machine.

Cattleya schilleriana

A fantastic spring for Cattleya species in my back yard. This one is from Brazil (NE and SE), elevations up to 780 m.

Cattleya warneri

5 8-inch flowers on one inflorescence! When I got this, some years back, I grew it i the greenhouse thinking it needed warmth. I later learned that this and the related C. labiata experience chilly nights in habitat, I moved it outside, and it has grown much better. Along with looking spectacular, it is also very fragrant, especially in the morning.

Cattleya (Laelia) purpurata f. schusteriana

The purps are popping! I will save other color forms for next month though they are starting to open now, the purprata show will continue for another 4-6 weeks. This was the first of my C. (L.) purpuratas to bloom, so just an appetizer...

Dendrochilum glumaceum

Native to Borneo and the Philippines, up to around 2300 m. This one is vigorous, blooms reliably every year. It seems to bloom best when it is a bit potbound, a shallow bulb pan lets it get large without too much volume.

Dendrobium aphyllum v. latifolium

Syn. Den. pierdii. Native to a wide area of Himalaya, SE China, and southeast Asia. Deciduous Dendrobiums continue to bloom for me this month. Leaves are just starting to grow. Flowers appear on bare canes. Like most of these, I don't bother to dry them out in winter and they bloom anyway.

Dendrobium dickasonii

No trouble seeing THIS one when it blooms. Long-lasting flowers on bare canes.

Dendrobium regium

Delicate shell-pink flowers, with firm substance.

Dendrobium wilsonii

I debated even bothering to show this one, but wanted to relate my sad tale. Four bare canes full of buds, I anticipated a really good show. Came out one morning to find only one cane with flowers, stubs where buds had been, and a small caterpillar munching on one of the open flowers. Dispatching it was very satisfying. Next year...

Dendrobium crepidatum

Long lasting flowers have good substance. Each year is better as it gets bigger. New growth just starting to appear.

Dracula benedictii

The flowers emerge from the base of the plant, and mostly stay above the rim of the basket.I have found that I need to pot it well above the rim of the basket, and just barely fitting the plant. These flowers don't collapse during the day, and last for several weeks. .

Dracula venosa

About 3 months ago I got quite excited about getting one intriguing flower, a first bloom for me. Then, it started producing mucliple spikes. These flowers stay open during the heat of the day, and last for several weeks. More spikes emerge to replace the flowers that fade.


Epidendrum parkinsonianum

Night-fragrant flowers. The plant growth is pendant, so needs to be grown mounted or in an inverted basket. Specimens of this can be 6 ft. long. (Mine not so big!) It can root from growths that break off, but the plant is not especially fragile - the stems are very flexible.

Epidendrum falcatum

Smaller cousin to Epi. parkinsonianum. Growths are very brittle and tend to be more horizontal than pendant. I no longer even try to move it - every time I do, parts break off. The broken bits do root on a mount, but it's hard to let it grow big.(I suspect that this characteristic is a propagation strategy in the wild.) That fragility causes photographic challenges - the sky and shade cloth and other plants make for a very cluttered background for white flowers. I finally resorted to using flash, at night, to show at least somewhat, the view that I enjoy in person. Without moving it.

Phalaenopsis hygrochila
(Hygrochilus/Vandopsis parishii)

It looks like, and grows like, a Vanda but got assigned to Phalaenopsis. Nabive to a wide range of elevations in the Himalaya area, northern India, SE China, and southeast Asia (same habitat as a bunch of the deciduous Dendrobiums). It is growing on (not in) an empty (no medium) 8 inch plastic basket, just to have a way to hang it. The roots are more than 4 feet long, and thick as a pencil.


Phalaenopsis (Sedirea) japonica

Another monotypic genus that got lumped into Phalaenopsis. As the name implies, it is native to Japan (as well as Korea and China). Citrus-ike fragrance. This small species, crossed with the large Phal. hygrochila, is the primary hybrid Phal. (Vandopirea) Little One, intermediate in size and very fragrant - and also grows easily outside where I live.

Jumellea densifoliata

Native to Madagascar, not much information about habitat, but clearly from high enough elevation to tolerate chilly winter nights.

Symphyglossum sanguineum
(Oncidium strictum)

They have also been Cochlioda sanguinea. Ecuador and Peru, elevation 1500=2000 m.

Lockhartia oerstedii

Native to a wide area of Mexico and Central America. It is growing in just a bit of rather old sphaghnum, more like a mounted plant than potted. The growths can bloom multiple times, produce new ones, and eventually dry up. At that point they just fall off. Probabably best to just let natiure take its course, not try to tidy it up too much.

Maxillaria pachyphylla

Not much to look at, but quite fragrant. Leaves are very succulent. Native to S and SE Brazil, and Bolivia, around 400 m. Not much information about the habitat.

Maxillaria sophronitis

Blooms on and off, but two-three times a year produces a spectacular flush bloom. This one brightened up the May gray-June gloom mornings.

Microcoelia stolzii

A leafless orchid native to much of central Africa at a very wide range of elevations. The roots do the photosynthesizing. This grows on, rather than in, a plastic basket just to provide a way to hang it. A wooden basket eventually rotted and fell apart under it, I moved it to the plastic one, and it didn't miss a beat, having never really attached to the basket.

Maxillaria (Mormolyca) ringens

It grows in a dense ball, with pseudobulbs on top of pseudobulbs, almost constantly in bloom. Native to southern Mexico and much of Central America.

Octomeria praestans

Native to Brazil, S and SE. Note that the flowers emerge from tbase of the leaf where it meets the pseudobulb. Leaves are terete and succulent. Each growth can rebloom multiple times, over 2-3 years.

Papilionanthe teres

Sometimes referred to as a "terete Vanda". Temperature is probably marginal, but it does grow and bloom for me. To help mataintain humidity around the roots, it's surrounded by a nice clump of Tillandsia usenoides (Spanish moss).

Pholidota chinensis

The geuns Pholidota is a Dendrochilum relative. They're probably all Coelogyne now.

Ponerorchis graminifolia

This is a terrestrial from Japan. It grows over a range of elevations. When I bot them last year, the instructions indicated that they needed a significant winter chill, something we can't rely upon. The newly purchased tubers really didn't grow very well, and didn't seem to produce new tubers that I could find upon unpotting last fall, but I had hope. I put the dried-up masses into baggies with a bit of damp sphagnum, and placed in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator for about 4 months. I saved the medium (labeled so I could put the same plants back into the ssame medium), potted them up in February, and they did sprout - and bloom. Note that each one is different. Below are closeups various flowers. Maybe this year they will be stronger!


Oncidium harrisonianum

A very reliable survivor, growing on a bare mount (no moss). Note that mine is a lot darker than Scott's. Color variation within a species is typical, and it's interesting to see them side by side. Native to Brazil SE, elevations up to 1000 m.


Scaphosepalum sp.

This was purchased as Anathallis pachyphyta, but definitely not. Finally got a good enough photo, at a suitable angle, to determine that it is a Scaphosepalum. It is a micro-mini, or really a micro-micro. These adorable flowers are about 2 mm wide, produced sequentially on wire-like inflorescences that can be above the edge of the basket or poking out anywhere below. It's hard to imagine how tiny the pollinator might be!

Scaphosepalum beluosum

As the plant has gotten larger, it has become extremely floriferous. It can bloom many times on an inflorescence, so they don't get trimmed ever - when they are truly done, they just dry up and drop off.

Scaphosepalum merinoi

Flowers look like little birds.


Scaphosepalum swertifolium ssp. exiguum

Each species has its own charm. Flowers are very complex, and also quite three-dimensional, making them a challenge to photograph. Almost other-worldly.

Miltonia spectabilis f. alba

Other color forms will be blooming in the next month or two. This one was early.

Cleisostoma birmanicum

This little Vandaceous species, from southeast Asia and southern China (elevation 800-1400 m) has been teasing me through most of June. It opened one flower early in the month, then the rest appeared slowly. Still a few buds but it's mostly there, the oldest flowers starting to fade. The chestnut-brown flowers with the inticate details are lovely, it blooms reliably each year.

Eulophia speciosa

This African species is just getting started for me. Scott's has been blooming longer, likely because his yard gets more winter sun than mine. I took the opportunity to capture flowers in a compact cluster, and found them with a visitor. Photobombed! This plant will bloom seqauentally all summer, with the spike getting quite long. You'll probably see this again, in 3 months or so, with very long spikes.


Miltonia phymatochila
(Oncidium phymatochilum)

From eastern Brazil, elevation 1300 m. The weird, twisted petals of the flowers give the appearance of a cloud when the whole plant is viewed. The leaves are very hard and stiff, but thin.


In the greenhouse...

Pleurothallis tribuloides

I also have one of these that I grow itside, it survives but doesn't bloom as well.


Broughtonia sanguinea

Native to Jamaica. It has many color forms - red, dark pink, this splash-petal form, aurea, and forms in between. It produces multiple spikes, which continue to produce flowers as the old ones fade. It can stay in bloom for several months.


From Chris Ehrler:


California Central Coast


Dendrobium thyrsiflorum

Native to the Chinese Himalayas, Hainan China, Assam India, eastern Himalayas, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam at elevations of 1200 to 2000 meters. Is a cool growing epiphyte, lithophyte, or terrestrial species. This orchid is growing in a plastic pot filled with bark and lava rock with the pot being placed outside under a wood lath cover. This was late blooming for me this year.

Dendrochilum cootesii

Acool growing species is endemic to the Philippines growing at elevations around 1,200 to 2,000 meters. This orchid is growing mounted to a piece of wood with a small amount of sphagnum moss on the root. The mount is hanging in a cool greenhouse.

Mystacidium capense

A shade and humidity loving, cool to cold growing epiphyte found at elevations of sea level to 700 meters in South Africa. Generally found growing in deep shady areas. Flowers emit jasmine scent at night. Growing mounted to a small piece of wood which is hanging in a cool greenhouse.

Scaphosepalum fimbriatum

A hot to warm growing epiphyte native to Ecuador at elevations of 750 to 1,200 meters. Growing in aplastic pot filled with a bark and perlite mixture. Was purchased in March 2024 and so far, it is growing well in a cool greenhouse.

Trichoceros muralis

A cool to cold terrestrial growing native in dry rocky regions in Ecuador and Peru at elevations of 2,200 to 3,200 meters. This orchid is growing on a piece of manzanita with most of the plant hanging free of the mount. Mount is hanging in a cool greenhouse.


From Arnold Markman:


Intermediate Greenhouse, coastal San Diego area

Daily watering unless otherwise noted.


Bifreneria (Stenocoryne) aureofulva

It is from Brazil at 1500 m. Watered daily daily during the warm season and every other day in the winter, western end of greenhouse.


Bulbophyllum treschii

From Malaysia and grows between 1000 m and 1500 m.


Cleisocentron gokusingii

Labeled Cleisocentron merrilianum, as were many of these sold over the years. From Borneo. (Ed: Cleisocentron merrillianum has terete, pointed leaves. Cleisocentron gokusingii has shorter, semi-terete leaves not as sharply pointed, Flowers look the same for both species.)

Dichaea pseudohystricina

A new species, accepted by Kew, published in 2019. Kew indicates that it is from Ecuador.

Dracula chimera

From Colombia at about 8000 feet. Grown in the eastern (coolest) part of the greenhouse near ventillation fan.


Prosthechea (Encyclia) radiata

From mixed pine-oak  forests in Mexico and grows at altitudes between 150 m to 2000 m. Watered 2-3 tiems per week.

Epidendrum medusae

It grows in the high mountains of Ecuador above 6000 feet. Grown in the coolest part of the greenhouse.

Isochilus major

From montane forests in Mexico. Watered a bit less in winter.

Pleurothallis (Stelis) tuerckheimii

From Central America and grows in mixed oak-pine cloud forests between 700 m and 2400 m. It is nearly always in bloom, now has 6 inflorescences.

Rudolfelia aurantiaca

Grows in wet forests in Ecuador at altitudes of 1500 m. The new growth comes out with this beautiful speckled pattern. Everything about this plant is beautiful.

Stanhopea tigrina

This is an other-worldly flowered plant from Mexico that grows at 1700 m. . I follow Andy Phillips’ suggestion that after I’m done watering my greenhouse I go back and I re-water so is soaked. Nine flowers on this plant!


From Tom Mudge:


Outdoors, San Francisco peninsula

(Somewhat inland and higher elevation, a unique "banana belt" climate)

Dendrobium hainanensis

From China


Dendrobium hancockii

From China. Flowers smell like honey.

Dendrobium ochreatum

From India. Gets a dry rest Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day.


Dendrobium wilsonii

From China

Dickasonia vericosa

From India.  Can dry out in winter but not required.

Maxillaria huebschii

Likes cool temps. Flowers smell like peaches.

Oncidium concolor

Hard to find but a beauty that handles winter cold just fine. From Brazil

Rhynchostele majalis

From high elevation in Mexico. Bright shade and watered year round.