Trigonidium egertonianum

This plant came from the Akerne Orchid Nursery in Belgium when we called in there on one of the Society’s coach trips to the D.O.G. Congress in Germany in 2004. It was just a single growth but it must have been in bud as I recorded a single flower open a month later. It has flowered every springtime since then, each individual flower lasting about a month, sometime between February and May. Last year it was a bit perverse: although it had a lot of flowers, it never had more than two or three out at any one time. This year it’s been more obliging and managed seven or eight at once.

It is an easy plant to grow and accommodate. The species comes from Central America and northern-most South America where apparently it can be a bit of a weed. It needs intermediate to warm conditions, quite high humidity levels and regular watering all year round. I feed mine with Akerne’s Rain Mix at every watering, using slightly higher doses in the main growing season than in winter. It is very restrained – it doesn’t grow out and flop in all directions, it doesn’t root itself to the bench, its flowers are well-enough supported not to need staking and it seems to be resistant to most pests and diseases (I hope I’m not tempting fate with that remark). The only possible minus is the small, unspectacular nature of the flowers themselves. They look at first to be a sort of masdevallia-type flower but closer examination has shown that the species is much closer to maxillaria and nowadays it’s judged with maxillaries or with ‘Any Other Species’ and not with Masdevallias. Ted Croot