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Gongoreae Overview,

Orchid Safari Presentation 7/28/98 Catasetum Kunth SUBFAMILY Epidendroideae, TRIBE Gongoreae, SUBTRIBE Catasetinae. There are 70 species spread from Mexico to Argentina and the West Indies of this fleshy pseudobulb with eight to twelve deciduous leaves. The inflorescence starts at the base of the pseudobulbs and may be erect or pendulous with male or female flowers . The male flowers are characterized with the ability to eject their pollina up to eight feet from the plant. A good photo of the differences between the two sex's flowers can be seen here. PLEASE NO PLANTS UNDER THE AGE OF 21! as these photos are explicit. The female flower can be seen with the male pollina in it's stigmatic cavity[see#1 in photo]. The male flower in the upper right of the picture shows that it has ejected it's pollina [see#2 in photo], first in that it is missing it's pollinarium and second by the limp colorless look of the flower in general as compared to the flower below [see #3 in photo]. The next photo that can be seen shows a dried female flower[See #2 in photo] 1 day after a successful encounter with a male pollina, next to a non-impregnated flower [see#3 in photo]. Note the swollen ovary [#1 in the photo] which is actually the stem of the flower. Here is where the seed will develop and in 3-4 months the seed will be mature and the capsule will dry and break open spilling the seed to the wind. Catasetum are warm to intermediate plants that need a decided rest after blooming, or as the leaves drop, in fact I take the bulbs and cut off all the roots and put them in a small pot with no medium. I keep them humid but they get no direct water or fertilizer until the new growth reachs an inch or two, I then repot them in solite, an expanded shale, and fertilize weekly and water daily. The more light you give them [2-3 hours direct sun in the morning for me]the more likely to get the more interesting male flowers, the less light given then female flowers will occur [ less than 2 hours]. on to: Stanhopea Frost ex Hooker SUBFAMILY Epidendroideae, TRIBE Gongoreae, SUBTRIBE Stanhopeinae. From Mexico to Brazil this genus is hard to beat for it's size and beautiful odd complexity, and there are 55 different ways that nature came up with presenting it to us. The ovoid dark green pseudobulbs with a single apical, heavily veined, petiolate leaf give rise to a inflorescence from the bottom of the pseudobulb and grows directly downward and for this reason they must be cultivated in a wire basket. The 1 to many flowered inflorescence has a heavy mostly pleasing fragrance that can fill a house with it's scent for days. The parts of the Stanhopea Flower are shown here. The column {#1}, petals {#2}, epichile {#3}, Mesochile {#4}, hypochile {5}, horn {#6}, and the pedicel {#7}. Stanhopea have extremely fragrant flowers and mimic insects or birds in their flowers form, note the bee-like lower appendages or also humminbird-like form in the photo. The mimicry is the hopes of persuading a bee or bird to approach and perchance to bump against the anther cap on the column so that the pollina can be flipped onto the insects or bird's back or head. The next photo, although not of a Stanhopea, clearly shows the anther cap[#3] and the pollina [#2]flipped out of the end of the column[#4] so as to be picked up with the sticy viscidium at the base of the pollina[#1] in photo. Then this same insect must bumble about another flower and scrape the pollina off it's back in the stigmatic cavity. The pollina when introduced to the stigmatic cavity immediately is absorbed by the walls of the cavity and within 24 hours the flower will have caved in allowing the pedicil which is also the ovary to swell as the seed begins to develop. Stanhopea must be grown in wire baskets to provide for the pendant spike that pushes through the loose but medium draining medium, I use sphagnum mixed with OFE special #1. They like moderate shade, warm to intermediate conditions and humid well watered conditions and require no real rest. I fertilize them weekly year round, I do water a bit less in the winter because we here in Key west get a bit cooler. Coryanthes Hooker SUBFAMILY Epidendroideae, TRIBE Gongoreae, SUBTRIBE Stanhopeinae. Coryanthes which are often found in association with fire ants, who keep their growing site extremely acidic, is actually pollinated by a Hymenopterous insect which is attracted to the odor of the excretions that the bucket like labellum [#10}or pouch holds. The fluid is dripped from the faucet gland [#2] into the labellum and the insect becomes interested and lands on the edge of the fleshy, waxy labellum driven by the intoxicating scent the insect crawls over the edge and is plunged into the gooey secretions from the faucet glands. Swimming to escape, the only exit is through the [#9] stigmatic cavity where the male pollina and the female stigma are located. Only one type of insect fits the keyhole through the cavity first passing the stigma and then pick up the male pollina. After getting out of the flower they can dry off on the lip off the exit, but the Coryanthes needs that same insect to get up and do it again to leave the pollina in the stigmatic cavity. Some life the bug leads! The parts of the Coryanthes are, the epichile {#1}, faucet gland {#2}, mesochile {#3}, hypochile {#4}, pedicel {#5}, lateral sepals {#6}, dorsal sepal {#7}, petals {#8}, entrance to the stigmatic cavity {#9}, and the pouch like bucket or labellum{#10}. The flower bud of Coryanthes is quite interesting and has the appearance of the man in the moon or of a human fetus. Am I boring Ya all or should I go on? Coryanthes like an acid mix so I use sphagnum although I hear Palco, a redwood bark derivitive is very good to use. They like bright light [2-3 hours direct morning sun for me], good humidity, a rest from frequent waterings after flowering or with leaf drop with less fertilizer as well. I do have to repot every two years with sphagnum as it seems to deteriorate quickly here, and it is best done as a new lead is appearing in the spring. I will now open it up to you all. Got any questions?