Stelis itatiayae

Stelis itatiayae ia a miniature species with a big impact. The plant has leaves up to 5cm and the flower spikes are 10cm long with 20 flowers each.

Stelis itatiayae is native to the forests that follow the East Coast of Brazil – the Mata Atlantica.

It was during our first expedition to Brazil in 2000 that we made first contact with stelis species and this is one of the species found in the Mata Atlantica around our base in Macae de Cima. The habitat here is cool, wet, forest and Stelis itatiayae is found growing from 900-1400m in the low trunk area on trees, and so the species enjoys good humidity, and we find it loves a shady spot in Cool Americas (min 12C) and lots of water.

I do feel that we are very lucky to have explored so many orchid habitats on school expeditions. It is no surprise that standing at the foot of a tree full of a favourite orchid species flowering is a great help in understanding how to grow orchids well. This species is also warmth tolerant and though we grow the species in our cloud forest greenhouse (min 12C) it seems happy grown either warmer or cooler (down to 10C). We grow plant in pots and mounted where it enjoys being well watered throughout the year and we never let it dry out for significant periods.