Phroogle: n. a reasonable-sized grouping of photographs, in a similar
fashion to the way the word "herd" is used to describe a group of
cattle. (from Prem's idiotic dictionary, 7th ed.).
Ok, folks. Strap on your seatbelts as we head around the globe on a
photographic journey. First stop, the wet savannahs and pinelands of
northern Florida. These areas are host to many beautiful species of
flowers, including orchids. Some of the non-orchids seen in these areas
Blue Flag Iris:
Orange Bachelor's Buttons:
But the real subject of our hunt is the Snowy Orchid, Platanthera nivea.
It is a not-very-common-but-not-very-rare orchid inhabiting moist, open
spaces. Its white flowers glisten in the sunlight with an almost bluish
cast. To add to their attractiveness, the flowers are mildly fragrant,
with a scent not unlike orange blossoms:
P. nivea blooms sporadically from late May into late July, with a peak
blooming in early June. It is a deciduous terrestrial orchid.
Our orchid trip-o-matic now zips into high gear, circling about half the
globe to Thailand, where an orchid related to P. nivea grows. Habenaria
rhodocheila, the pink form (which Eric Christenson wants to separate out
into H. erichmichaelii, leaving the species bereft of its type form),
grows in areas that experience seasonal wet and dry seasons...to cope
with this, it grows deciduously like its American cousin, dying back to
an underground tuber in the winter time. This pink form, similar to its
American cousin, and dissimilar to the orange form of the species, is
nicely fragrant, smelling of oranges and maraschino cherries.
here, for comparison, is the orange form of the species:
And here is a side-by-side photo of both forms:
The frontal view does not show much difference between the two...it's
hard to tell, but the pink form flower is, overall, larger by a factor
of around 125%.
The profile view makes the differences much more apparent. The lip is
held at a different angle relative to the "cap" (composed of the dorsal
sepal and two petals), being held at a 90 degree angle for the orange
form and more like a 75 degree angle for the pink form. The spur,
however, is the most markedly different, curling under the lip in the
orange form (and being only 1.5 inches long) and arching backward in a
graceful 'S' from the lip in the pink form (and being 2.5 inches long).
Our orchid trip-o-matic now heads back to Indonesia, where we find
Grammatophyllum scriptum growing. This is the uncommon citrinum form of
the species, which bears apple-green, mildly fragrant flowers ranging
from 2 inches to 1.5 inches in diameter (depending on the location on
the spike). Flower spikes on this plant are about 3 feet long.
We now head back to the new world, where the breeding of two species of
Encyclia has produced a very nice primary hybrid. Epidendrum (Encyclia)
Flossie's Greenfly is a hybrid of Encyclia steinbachii and Encyclia
mooreana. It bears 3-foot tall branched panicles of flowers, each about
1.5 inches across. They have a strong scent of cinnamon with a hint of
vanilla and cloves.
And that concludes our tour, ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated
until the vehicle has come to a complete stop.