The Enid Orchid

by Colleen Rochette

Early this spring I felt inclined to add a Christensonia vietnamica to my collection. My heart throbbed; this miniature vandaecous orchid was just so darn cute. So, this petite peanut has been hanging around for four months now, yo-yoing in the summer breeze with the larger, “big-boned” populace.

While admiring my Christensonia one day, I gasped. There were two spikes emerging from her thin, rigid spine. One spike grew about an inch long and the second spike stalled just as it began to grow. I could not help but think, “Hey you two, what the hell is going on here!” In response to my silent query, a third spike appeared about a week later and decided to pick up the slack. Soon enough, teeny buds began to form and then three very odd flowers unfolded.

Admittedly, I was slightly bewildered. I was familiar with these flowers but then I realized that I had never seen a photo of their profile. I stood there with my face a few inches away from the plant searching for the edges of the petals that may possibly unwrap, but it seemed as if the flowers would maintain their cornucopia-like appearance throughout the duration of their blooming cycle.

Christensonia-vietnamica-1-WEBPictured above, Christensonia vietnamica in all her glory. She is about 8″ tall, including her basket. She is comfortably potted within a 4″ vanda basket with some New Zealand spaghnum moss and has several long, aerial roots.

Christensonia-vietnamica-2-WEBHere is a close-up of one of Christensonia‘s flowers. The texture of the fringed white lip paired with the chartreuse reminds me of a cool lime creamsicle. And the tiny little snout on these flowers? Absolutely adorable!

Christensonia-vietnamica-3-WEBChristensonia currently has three flowers which fully opened two weeks ago. There should have been five flowers on this final spike, but two of the buds had been accidentally severed, probably during watering.

Despite the presence of these flowers, the original two spikes do not seem to be doing too much right now. The first spike wilted and the second spike continues to be stubborn.

Christensonia-vietnamica-4-WEBAs I closely examined these new blossoms, I felt as if someone had tripped me, grabbed me by the ankles and proceeded to drag me down a dirt road called memory lane.

leopard-pufferYears ago, as a freshman in college, I had a leopard puffer fish named Enid. In poor taste, my suitemate pressed her face up against the glass of the fish tank and Enid floated to the top, belly up.

Sans spots, the coloring, texture and the shape of Christensonia‘s flowers made my short-lived mini puff surface in my mind. A little absurd, I know, but it was nice to reminisce about this cheery little fellow. Christensonia vietnamica is now my Enid orchid.