There still isn’t a lot going on in either the garden or the greenhouse, but by carefully hoarding interesting sights, I have managed to scrape together the first Six on Saturday of the year. 1-3 are in the greenhouse, 4-6 outside.
1. Paphiopedilum liemianum (mottled leaf form).
Although I have four or five slipper orchids in bud, this is one of only two that are currently flowering. It’s hardly surprising that P. liemianum, from northern Sumatra, is flowering now, because it flowers almost constantly. It’s one of the sequential flowering species of section Cochlopetalum, and it is a great choice if you have only a small orchid collection. The inflorescences produce one flower after another, each one opening around the time that the old one drops. By the time an inflorescence is exhausted, a new growth has usually matured and is ready to flower.
Typically, P. liemianum has plain green leaves, but this clone has an attractive mottled pattern. Its flower is fairly small and poorly shaped compared to some of the line-bred forms that are available, making me suspect that the parent plant was selected for breeding primarily on the basis of its unusual foliage.
The other slipper currently in bloom is Paphiopedilum villosum, which I featured in November. Paph flowers last a looooong time.
2. Monolena primuliflora
This unusual plant grows as an epiphyte or terrestrial in rainforest from Costa Rica to southern Peru and adjacent Brazil. The flowers, while pretty, last less than a day, but the seed capsules are almost as attractive as the flowers and are significantly longer lived. The thickened rhizome suggests a plant that can tolerate some drought, but looks can be deceiving. The plants wilt and shrivel rapidly if the soil dries out.
I have lost track of how old this plant is. Maybe ten or twelve years? In theory, I grow M. primuliflora in pure sphagnum moss kept constantly moist, but I think the sphagnum has all rotted away and new rhizome is just rooting into old decayed rhizome.
3. Lachenalia sp. (L. aloides?)
I received these unlabeled bulbs as part of a trade about seven years ago. They have been growing in a 3-inch pot for about the last five years, blooming reliably in midwinter and going dormant by late February or early March. I think they are the South African Lachenalia aloides var aloides (cape cowslip).
4. Lentinula edodes (shiitake)
We have harvested and eaten the first few shiitake mushrooms from the log garden that I inoculated with mycelium fourteen months ago. No sign of the lion’s mane mushrooms yet.
5. Phoradendron leucarpum (oak mistletoe) growing on Carya sp. (hickory)
Although it looks a lot like European mistletoe (Viscum album), our native oak mistletoe is in a completely different genus. I’m not sure if P. leucarpum can be substituted for European mistletoe in magic potion, but it seems to work just as well at Christmas time. The only difficulty lies in harvesting it. This mistletoe is about 40 or 50 feet up in one of our taller hickory trees.
6. Fuligo septica (dog vomit slime mold)
Fuligo septica is the most common, or at least the most conspicuous, slime mold in our garden. Its aethelia (fruiting bodies) commonly appear on the hardwood mulch that I spread on the flowerbeds. Often they are an extremely lurid, almost fluorescent yellow color. This aethelium is somewhat pale but quite large–63 cm diameter.
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.