"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Epidendrum Orchid

When I was visting a local nursery a couple of weeks ago,   I was immediately attracted to a plant that bears densely flowered head of red/orange flowers, that rises above the dark green foliage.  The owner told me that is Epidendrum Orchid.  It was fairly priced compared to other orchids I know, and the flower is just so beautiful that I can't leave without.

The plant came in a three-gallon pot, and had about seven flower heads like the one shown above. It easily stands out in any place it was situated.

What I love most about this plant was the shape and color of their flowers. Each has a fringed lip surrounded by five petals. The petals are red/orange, and the lip has shades of yellow and orange.

Epidendrums are native to Central America, and they also go with common names like Crucifix Orchid, Rainbow Orchid, Fire-Star Orchid, or Reed-stem Epidendrum . So far, I found it is very easily taken care of, and the flowers are so long lasting (they are still like new after two weeks). 

It was said that in their native environment they often grow alongside other flowers such as milkweed and Lantana – mimicing the shape and color of those flowers. 
Lantana Camara
MilkWeed (Asclepias curassavica)
Hmmm, can you tell what are common in these three flowers? It was suggested that these three tropical "weeds" comprises a so-called "Floral Mimicry Complex".  If you are interested, you can read more here.

For me, it interestes me because I have all of these three in my garden, and they all bring the brilliant color into my garden, and the potential butterflies!


  1. Ami...That is quite interesting! I had never heard of "floral mimicry complex." They do seem to have the exact same coloring, don't they? Wonderful plants! I wish I were allowed to buy another orchid right now! ; )

  2. Your orchids are truly beautiful. Never realised the mimic factor, they seemed to look like sisters.


  3. Hi Ami,

    What great color. I can see why you purchased that orchid. It is just beautiful!

  4. I was thinking it had the same colors as Milkweed..Very bright!

  5. That's very interesting about the mimicing that plants do.

    This orchid grows fantastically easy, just out in the yard, growing here and there, spreading itself, and blooming.

    I love it. I did have a purple one, but lost it somewhere along the way. This orange one is very hardy.

    Enjoy your new orchids.


  6. The orchid is very beautiful. This is very interesting indeed!

  7. Love all your bright and beautiful blooms. Your new orchid is stunning. Will you be planting it in the ground or keeping it in a container?

  8. Oh Ami, I meant to let you know that I am seeing your awesome bee and bulbine header picture again. Your page does take a little time to load, but it's so worth it!

  9. Ami, fantastic orchid! I love it! And the colors are wonderful. I have this same lantana. Very bright and cheery!

  10. What a stunning orchid!!!I find the mimickry theory interesting.Nice post.

  11. It's a truly stunning orchid and really does stand out! Never heard of 'floral mimicry complex' before ... but I can often see the evidence of it in some tropical bloomers. I so enjoyed your beautiful photos.

  12. Interesting terminology...'floral mimicry complex'. It's amazing how they can mimic each other but it sure looks that way. I had lantana like yours last year. This year I planted butterfly weed which looks similar. I've never heard of/seen these sweet little orchids--very pretty.

  13. Hi Ami, this 'flower mimicry' is news to me too - thanks for the info :) We just picked up a milkweed today for our butterfly and bee garden and I hadn't seen one if flower before so this was a timely post for me!

  14. Ami, what a beautiful flower, Epidendrum Orchid. I dare not show it to my husband as he loves everything orange ;) We hope you have a wonderful weekend. Diana

  15. Thank you all for the nice comments about this new orchid I have! This is also my first time to hear about floral mimicry complex, quite interesting! I am learning all the facinating thing in this plant world, and this is part of reasons why I love gardening!

    FG: Hey, mother's day is comming, you can ask "orchid" as a gift! LOL. This orchid only can be seen for sale in our local nursery store (private), not the big box store. I don't know if it is a seasonal plant. I see several nurseries having this for sale now.

    Flowerlady: I think the purple one also should be very pretty, need to keep an eye on it :)

    Nana: Rightnow it is still in a pot, but I read it can be in the ground as well. I think I might experiment that once it has more shoots. AND, Thanks for letting me know about the header image and the loading speed. I noticed the speed as well. So I changed the background to the simple one (even I do like my previous pretty green leaf background). Hope it will load faster now.

    Gippslandgardener: I will love to see what other plants you put in your butterfly and bee garden!

    Di: You must have lots of orange flowers in your garden :) That is a brilliant color, no wonder your husband loves it.

    You have a great weekend as well!

  16. This is a great orchid that you'll love. It grows in full sun, poor soil and will bloom for 8 months out of the year. I found a pink one at H.D. a year ago, and it's a real beauty,too. Enjoy your new beautiful orchid.

  17. aloha ami,

    i'm so impressed with all the lantana and epidendrums blooming in your garden today, love all the colors and variety. thanks for sharing that with us and have a great weekend!

  18. Wow, yes, you're right. The blooms on your beautiful orchid are similar to those of the milkweed. Fascinating.

  19. i've always wondered what type of orchid that is. thanks.

  20. That is a most beautiful orchid and it really would be hidden by the flowers of the Lantana.

  21. Oh, Ami, that is one beautifully flowering orchid. I even like the pretty green foliage of this one.

    All this talk of orchids lately has got me contemplating them more often. I used to not let them lure me but not so much anymore with all the pretty pics my Florida friends share. :-)

    I'm quite in love with the same milkweed and lantana here in my garden ~~ that new orchid would probably fit right in as well.
    Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

  22. I really love this orchid... I've seen it growing on trees in south florida before too! That mimicry thing is pretty neat... I can think of some other tropicals that have a similar inflorescence structure. too.


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