Six on Saturday #49 (November 30, 2019)

It was a bit of struggle to find six things to write about today.  There aren’t many orchids blooming in my greenhouse at this time of year, and the weather outside hasn’t been conducive to growth of much other than fungus.

1. Aplectrum hyemale (puttyroot orchid) and Lycoperdon species (puffball)


While I don’t enjoy chilly, damp weather, these two species certainly do.  The striped winter-green leaf of an Aplectrum hyemale that I planted last spring has emerged among a dense crop of young puffballs.  I am fairly sure that these are Lycoperdon pyriforme, the pear-shaped puffball. If so, they should be edible, but I’m not certain enough of my identification skills to risk it.  As they say, every mushroom is edible…once.

According to wikipedia, Lycoperdon translates as “wolf farts.”  Just thought you should know.

2. Gardenia jasminoides (hardy gardenia)


The scented flowers of this G. jasminoides featured in Six on Saturday #46.  Although not fragrant, its fruit are as almost as attractive as the flowers and make a strong argument for growing wild type plants instead of sterile double-flowered clones.  The crown-like tips of the  fruit were originally green but have been burned by frost.

3. Camellia x vernalis ‘Yuletide’


I featured this shrub in Six on Saturday #16 two years ago, but it is too good not to revisit.  When I took this photo, a few sluggish late-season bees were visiting the flowers and getting covered with pollen, but despite their attentions, I have never found fruit.  I’m not sure if this hybrid is completely sterile or just incapable of self pollination.  Flowers can be destroyed by temperatures in the mid 20s F (-3 or -4 C), but the buds mature over a fairly long period, giving me a good crop of flowers both before and after cold snaps.  In the summer, it makes an attractive dark green backdrop for warm weather flowers.

4.  Cattleya cernua


In the greenhouse, Cattleya cernua is flowering on a small slab of cork bark.  This miniature Brazilian orchid was once the type species of Sophronitis, a small genus of miniature epiphytic orchids that were distinguished from Cattleya mainly by flowers adapted for pollination by hummingbirds instead of bees.   However, DNA sequencing demonstrated that C. cernua wasn’t very closely related to the other Sophronitis species, and the whole genus has been sunk into an expanded Cattleya.

Most of the former Sophronitis are cloud forest species that are quite difficult to grow in North Carolina, but C. cernua thrives in our hot summers and brightens up the greenhouse at the dullest time of year.

5.  Zelenkoa onusta


Zelenkoa onusta is from Ecuador and Peru, where it sometimes grows on columnar cacti.  As suggested by this growth habit, it requires warm, dry conditions in cultivation.  My plant is in a small clay pot with a few chunks of scoria, but one of the best plants I have seen is at the Orchid Trail Nursery, growing on a live Pachypodium as a substitute for a cactus.

6. Paphiopedilum villosum


And finally, a recent purchase. Paphiopedilum villosum is from Indochina, where it grows as a lithophyte or epiphyte in damp highland forests.  P. villosum has been popular among orchid growers since the Victorian period and is one of the foundations of the standard complex Paphiopedilum hybrids. This particular plant came from a nursery in Hawaii and is the product of selective breeding aimed at increasing the size of the dorsal sepal and minimizing its tendency to roll back along the sides.


The propagator is the host of Six on Saturday.  Head over there to see his Six and find links to the blogs of other participants.

15 thoughts on “Six on Saturday #49 (November 30, 2019)

  1. The gardenias were pretty in bloom in the month of August, and they are even better with these fruit colors.
    Finally, this Paphiopedilum is superbly well highlighted with your photo.
    I also have (Paph. hybrid) but curiously it’s late this year to show the flowering stalks. I have always had 2 spikes per year so far

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was reading about x vernalis camellias in the 2008 ICS journal and genetically they’re a mess. C. japonica, the pollen parent of the primary hybrid, is 2n=30; C. sasanqua, the seed parent is 2n=90. The primary hybrid, a variety called ‘Gaisen’, the 400 year old original of which is still alive, is tetraploid, 2n=45. Various backcrosses have happened so there are groups of triploids (2n=45), tetraploids(2n=60) and pentaploids(2n=75). Yuletide is an open pollinated seedling of Hiryu, which is an old x vernalis type and in the UK it flowers late enough to overlap the flowering period of some early japonicas. Did I read something about it needing to be warm enough for the pollen to be able to germinate and fertilise the flower? I may be imagining that bit.
    Every mushroom is edible, once. I shall remember that, I should probably be dead, the number of risks I’ve taken with them in my youth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fascinating, thanks for the information. So the failure to produce seed could either be messed up ploidy or low temperatures.

      Around here, Yuletide is invariably sold as a sasanqua. It was a long time before I learned that it is an x vernalis.


    1. The flowers on my plants have broader, shorter petals. I have two clones, one taller with longer leaves and one shorter with broader leaves. The flowers are more or less the same, but the fruit on the taller plant seems to be more yellow/orange while the shorter is red.

      The taller plant came from Rev. Richard Turner who used to be a member of TOS. The shorter plant is a home depot special.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. For someone who had a bit of a struggle to find six things to write about, you sure found some stunners! I particularly like the gardenia with its fascinating fruit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good stuff. I just took a walk around the garden and was a little bored by the gloomy wet of it all, but this brightens things up. The gardenia fruit are very cool.
    … but I’ll never look at puffballs the same again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have never seen gardenia produce fruit before. I barely see the bloom. They are available from nurseries here, but do not perform well here. No one knows why. The few that do best are mostly in bad situation, which makes even less sense.

    Liked by 1 person

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