January 11th – Stanhopea Orchid

Stanhopea

Pictured is the rare Stanhopea orchid. It’s a bizarre plant that springs to life – through the bottom of its housing.

As if orchards weren’t hard enough to look after in the first place.

The name ‘Stanhopea’ dates back to the 4th Earl of Stanhope, who was President of the Medico Botanic Society of London around 180 years ago.

The Stanhopea is noted for it’s preference to grow upside-down. With origins in South America, there are believed to be around 50 variants of the “Stanhopea sp”. I believe this to be a Stanhopea nigrovialacea.

This particular Stanhopea grows in my mother in laws’ garden. An amazing green thumb, it’s little wonder that she has been able to grow such a unique species.

This Stanhopea breached it’s pot around two weeks ago. It continued to grow downwards, teasing us about what’s was contained in the creamy-yellow pockets.

We felt certain that we were going to miss the spectacle, however as if motivated by a sense of theatre, this Stanhopea burst into bloom on our final morning on the farm.

And there’s no doubt it’s a special plant to see flowering, and it’s reputation for an amazing aroma is warranted.

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