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|Vol. 8(11), pp. 11-12||The McAllen International Orchid Society Journal||November 2007|
As late October rolls around, south-central Texas usually gets its first hint that the northern hemisphere's winter season is just around the corner. This season that first warning came on Monday, 22 October with what's locally known as a "norther." Early in the morning the wind picked up, temperatures dropped, and a cold rain swept through the area. By mid-morning the skies cleared, but the wind persisted and the temperature rose just a bit. Yes, warm weather may return for a while, but the warning's been given! For the first time this season, the night temperatures dipped below 50°F (10°C.).
Fig. 1. Doritis pulcherrima Lindley. 1833. Photo: DSC_2038a, 21 October, 2007.
With some greenhouse clean-up work still in progress, a few of the warm growing orchids spent the night in the house. Members of the genus Doritis really don't want temperatures much lower than 55°F. (15°C.), and that goes for several of the warm-growing paphiopedilums and their hybrids. That lower temperature shock, may cause them not only to shed their flowers, but take some time before they bear new ones. Doritis pulcherrima (Fig. 1) is a prime example of this phenomenon. It comes from decidedly tropical areas of southeast Asia (e.g. southern Viet Nam, the Malay Penninsula, etc.), and will be in flower almost all the time provided the light, temperature, humidity, and air movement are all to its liking.
Fig. 2. Pl#080201-2. Laelia rubescens var. oculata alba. Photo: DSC_2044, 22 October, 2007.
The fall-blooming Mexican laelias are less critical of the 15°C. barrier. A particular one currently flowering is Laelia rubescens var. oculata alba (Fig. 2). It was necessary to hand-stabilize the flowers in the wind. Left alone, they were dancing rather freely in the now-colder breezes. This particular plant is bearing another inflorescence of over 60 cm length that is still bearing buds.
Fig. 3. Bantam hen, in lattice basket of Epidendrum magnoliae, setting eleven eggs! Photo: DSC_2041, 22 October, 2007.
Epidendrum magnoliae, although not currently in flower, has been doing well in a bed of Sphagnum moss in shallow lattice basket. Obviously it's also a comfortable place for somebody else (Fig. 3)!