Wednesday, January 9, 2013

More foliage and jewel orchids

Continuing from where I left off, here are a few more foliage orchids. Goodyera is a geographically diverse genus found in America, Africa Asia and Australasia. Its habitat may range from alpine highlands to tropical lowland forest. A few species are quite common in the trade but this G. vittata is not one of them. It was found on mountain slopes in North Vietnam near the China border.

A more interesting representative would be this Goodyera pusilla, which is found throughout SE Asia and New Guinea. The leaf markings make it a favourite amongst hobbyists.

Nephelaphyllum is a resident of the dark damp forests floors in SE Asia. Its latin name means "Cloudy Leaf" but this description does not apply to all species in the genus, notably N tenuiflorum which is plain green. The previously mentioned N. borneense (see here), N. pulchrum and the similar N. flabellatum shown above have marvelously cryptic leaves which blend in with the background of the forest floor . The habitats of the different species are quite diverse - N. pulchrum can be found in lowland swamps while N. borneense were found in in cool lower montane forest - so there is no hard and fast rule to growing them.

Cystorchis variegata is probably the only horticulturally interesting member of the genus. C. variegata var. purpurea has dark purple leaves with faint markings. We nearly stepped on this small inconspicuous orchid at a very dark undergrowth of swamp forests. This plant is actually the same species as the more widespread form called var. variegata below, although it had been regarded as a different species before.

Another jewel orchid commonly found in collections is Anoetochilus. They are mostly cool growers. I only have a miserly photo of this specimen from the highlands of Borneo, you can probably get a better picture from the web.

Malaxis is a close relative of Liparis and not all of them are small nor ground dwelling. The following would fit the bill of jewel orchids nicely:

Malaxis calophylla

Malaxis metallica which has rather striking uniformly purple leaves.

.... and this cryptic Malaxis lowii growing on leaf debris in between large boulders 
at lowland of Peninsula Malaysia.

Hardly considered to be a small orchid, Collabium simplex nevertheless has fantastic leaves and, true to nature of foliage orchids, rather modest bloom, hence its name.

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