!Porphyrostachys pilifera (Kunth) Rchb. f. 1854

Flower Closeup Photos by Eric Hunt and His Orchid Website

Plant in situ in Ecuador Photos courtesy of Dr. Leslie Garay Copyright , and the Dr Leslie Garay Archives


Common Name The Ball-Carrying Porphyrostachys

Flower Size 3/4" [2 cm]

Text By Joseph Dougherty. Grows cold to cool ; lithoterrestrial; bright light to full sun. I've seen this plant in the wild near Cuenca, Ecuador, growing on volcanic rock in full sun in baking temps during the day and really cold at night. Very tough and quite uncommon in cultivation. The attached photo is of a plant grown by Walter Shinn of San Francisco; it was recently awarded a CBR.

This litho-terrestrial is found in Ecuador and Peru in dry montane regions with scattered trees at elevations of 1100 to 2800 meters. This orchid has fasciculate, stout, tuberous roots with oblong-lanceolate to oblanceolate, acute leaves that narrow to the basal sheathing base and are withered or absent by blooming time in the spring and summer when a stout, slender, glabrous stem enveloped by tubular-cylindric, scarious sheaths with a free, triangular, acuminate apex stem arises with a showy, thick-cylindric, several to many flowered, to 5 1/2" [to 14 cm] long, subdense or dense inflorescence with cucullate-ovate, acuminate floral bracts that exceed the length of the glabrous ovary and carries relatively large, showy, glabrous, non-resupinate flowers.

Synonyms *Altensteinia pilifera Kunth 1815; Stenoptera cardinalis Lindl.1840; Stenoptera pilifera (Kunth) C. Schweinf. 1940

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Die Orchideen Schlechter 1915; Encyclopedia of Cultivated Orchids Hawkes 1965; Die Orchideen 3 Auflage Bd 1 Sonderabdruck aus Schlechter Lieferung 5 257 - 320 Brieger, Maatsch and Senghas 1974; Flora of Ecuador 225[1] Orchidaceae Garay 1978 photo/drawing fide; Icones Planetarum Tropicarum Plate 272 Dodson 1980 drawing ok; Rudolf Schlechter Die Orchideen Band 1C lieferung 40 pg 2492 - 2564 Brieger 2000 photos fide; Native Ecuadorian Orchids Vol 4 Dodson 2003 drawing/photo fide; Orchid Species of Peru Zelenko & Bermudez 2009 photo fide; Orquideas del Peru Freuler 2010 photo fide