This species is largely native to Central America and it was in Costa Rica that I first became familiar with it (identified by David Menzies). There can be significant differences in flower size and form within the species. This was perfectly illustrated by comparing the two plants I had on the table show. This plant had seven multiflowered spikes whereas the other had but a single one. However, the flowers on the single one were of better size and shape. This, I suppose is just one of the fascinating things about orchids – seeing the variations there can be even within the same species.

This plant is grown at intermediate (borderline warm) temperature in normal light conditions (shading from March to October). Normal weekly watering and feeding is done. Despite claim and counter-claim, I have never experienced noticeably different results from a variety of feeds such as Peters, Phostrogen and Tomarite. I have recently changed to Akerne’s Rain Mix – largely because it is easily available from Keith Kent and although in powder form it is easily soluble.

What has pleased me about the plant is that it was repotted in early Autumn and although this can occasionally set back flowering, the reverse has happened in that seven spikes is the greatest number it has produced – so far, fingers crossed. Brian W.


We hear regular references to the “new bark” so, perhaps, a word about it may be appropriate. Firstly, let’s turn the clock back a couple of years. The best bark available was imported from the USA and was originally very good. A take-over of the producer followed by “economies” in processing led to significant deterioration in quality to the extent that it became very poor. The current bark is referred to as the New Bark because it has replaced what we had before and has been available in the UK for only just over twelve months. In fact it is not that new as I became familiar with it in Taiwan several years ago. We got to know the family in New Zealand who were producing it and demonstrating it at the Taiwan Show. I asked them about its’ possible availability in UK but, at that time – surprise, surprise – the EC authorities were being less than helpful. The then obstacles have obviously been overcome It is available in five sizes ranging from seedling to extra large. It is extremely easy to work with being very clean with virtually no debris in it and very little dust left in the bottom of the bag. It does not require pre-soaking and has a claimed pot life of five years thus significantly reducing that labour of love repotting. It must be said that a close eye needs to be kept on watering as there is a tendency for this bark to dry out a little quicker than previous ones. That could be an advantage in some respects in that I am sure there is often a danger of over watering to the detriment of the plant. Additives like foam or sphagnum should not be added as they will deteriorate faster than the bark.

Enc. Cordigera x Epi. Mabel

This is a plant that I have only recently purchased, and is unusual for me in the Cattleya group that I can struggle with a bit. It has quite attractive small flowers of yellow, pink and brown on a tall spike, and appears to be a vigorous plant that should do well in the future. It came from Chantelle Orchids (who will be at Chatsworth), so was probably raised in Taiwan. I can’t find the given name in the Hybrid list, but think that the plant may be cordigera x Epy. Mabel Kanda – itself a cordigera hybrid (x Epi. densiflorum). If so then it is registered as Epy. Serena O’Neill. The picture on Orchidwiz is slightly different in colour but using different clones and pollen/pod parents will have an effect. The flowers are quite long lasting (so far) inside the house, so I am very pleased with it. It will then go into the greenhouse, get re-potted and be grown in intermediate conditions. JG