Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum delenatii 'Santa Barbara' x Sib

I don't have much to say about this one. I couldn't find any information about it on-line, unless you count pictures, and pictures aren't that helpful on their own (except for confirming the name).

When I see lady-slipper-type orchids, I always wonder how they deal with rainfall. I mean, that big, puffy lip ought to get full of water pretty fast, if the plant got hit with a driving rainstorm. Is there a drain somewhere in the bottom, to let water out? Do they only flower during the local dry season, when rain wouldn't happen? Are the flowers exceptionally short-lived, so a flower that filled with rain would probably have been pollinated and dropping petals anyway? Do the sepals and other petals fold over the lip if it rains hard, turning water away like an umbrella?

Wouldn't say this sort of thing keeps me awake at night, but I do wonder about it. Maybe I'll have to keep wondering until I get a paph I can experiment with.


Anonymous said...

I'm sufficiently familiar with the local native members (Cypripedium acaule, cypripedium parviflora) of the Cypripedioideae (the subfamily to which the Paphs belong) to feel sure that the answer to the last three questions is 'No," But I don't know how they do it, either.


Pat said...

Paph flowers last forever so it isn't that they are ephemeral. Quite a few varieties do have the top petal curved over to shelter the slipper, but not all.

Keith said...

I killed my first couple of Paphs by allowing water to build up in the crown of the plant by misting them. Once this was pointed out to me I never lost another and am lucky enough to get a succession of blooms. So the thing that puzzles me is how do they deal with rainwater in the crowns in the wild?

Paul said...

As Pat pointed out, many of the wild species have dorsal sepal arched forward to shelter the lip. In cultivated Paphs, this is seen as an undesirable trait and thus have been bred -- whenever possible -- to have an erect dorsal sepal.

Also, many species grow where they are sheltered by trees which probably minimizes water accumulation in the pouch.

Unknown said...

Seems you've received the answers to your questions--whatever the case, this is a pretty paph. I am hoping that mine will bloom this coming winter or spring. I have a number of phalaenopsis blooming, but I'm trying hard not to watch the paph too closely, for fear a watched plant won't bloom.

CatsandCatts said...

Paph. delenatii is a species native to Vietnam, so I assume its adaptable to very wet conditions. Maybe the pouch absorbs more water than it seems? It's a good question.

Paph. delenatii is a favorite of mine because it's one of the few slipper orchids that carries a scent.