Rhynchostele rossii

This orchid is the diminutive Rhynchostele rossii, a true cool growing orchid from Mexico a Central America.

I grew up with this species as Odontoglossum rossii and was wowed by it as a teenager. by the 1980s it had changed its name to Lemboglossum rossii and it changed again at the end of the 1990s - but whatever the name the species is wonderful.

Each year the plant sends out small growths with leaves about 10cm long that develop 2cm pseudobulbs. In early spring the flowers emerge from the base of the newest bulbs and are enormous compared to the rest of the plant (8cm across) The flowers are very long lasting.

Rhynchostele rossii is only found in high mountain cloud forests between 2000m and 3000m altitude and so comes from a habitat that is always damp and cool - very cool. This makes the species a little challengimng in cultivation and we have found that mounted it tends to dry out too much, in pots it sulks, and baskets are perfect. We water heavily throughout the year but plants have excellent drainage. We find it enjoys good light which makes keeping it cool enough in summer a challenge (keep it wet). The trouble is well worth it as our plant in the photo shows.