Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Long Wait

One of my favorite species of ladyslipper orchids is Paphiopedilum malipoense. This thing grows in the rugged limestone landscape of western China where it enjoys alternating seasons of dark wetness and bright dryness. It also doesn't mind being chilly for a stretch which is good since my winter growing area regularly gets below 60°F. I've been in love with it ever since I saw my first one towering on a ridiculously tall stem that still seemed to set the flower apart with proper respect. And it's fragrant. The scent is reminiscent of dusty raspberries.

But the real kicker with growing this species is how long you have to wait for the flower once you've discovered a bud. I usually record when I first spot a bud down in the leaves of a Paph and when the flower actually opens. Of the P. malipoense I've bloomed the time elapsed has ranged from five to seven months. This one may be in bloom for Valentine's Day. But it's so worth the wait for this ghostly green beauty.

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