Humble Efflorescence

by Colleen Rochette

In December, a flight of Phals boarded a Brooklyn bound jet. The busty gaggle shook their beautiful, green leaves and wiggled their healthy bare roots. They had also developed rather lengthy spikes during the previous month. Adieu, Hawaii. Goodbye, hula.

After settling in, my leafy Doritaenopsis Maki Watanabe finally opened her lonely, single blossom this past week. Ms. Maki had a brief bout of bud blast earlier this month, which was rather unfortunate, but expected.

Most reputable vendors are reluctant to guarantee buds, blossoms, sheaths, spikes and the like. Because of this non-existent guarantee, I definitely do not expect them to arrive in tact, nor do I ever purchase orchids solely based on these desirable attributes. The harsh combination of travel, rapid change in climate, the slow adjustment of  internal schedules and the obvious ‘welcome home re-potting’ usually ensures that something is bound to be shaken up. But admittedly, a little ‘bonus’ never ceases to induce a fit of smiles. Despite the absence of such expectations on my behalf, I was more than thrilled to see this one blossom open up before my eyes. It is so reassuring to put a face to a name!

Once this single flower fades and tumbles from Maki’s spike, I am going to cut the spike above the second node to see if I can induce an additional blooming session. Normally, I would not think of forcing any of my plants to purposely exert extreme amounts of unnecessary energy, but hey, a little hazing never hurt a newbie.

IMG_5148Despite the simple coloring, the elongated curl of her lip is so sexy. Is there a proper word for this feature on an orchid? A name for those little spirals of fleshy fangs that arise from the tip of her labellum?