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ORCHID SPECIES CULTURE Charles and Margaret Baker Schomburgkia galeottiana Richard AKA: Bletia lepidissima Rchb. f., Myrmecophila chionodora (Rchb. f.) Rolfe, Myrmecophila chionodora var. kimballiana (Rchb. f.) Kennedy, Myrmecophila galeottiana (Richard) Rolfe, Myrmecophila lepidissima (Rchb. f.) Rolfe, Myrmecophila sanderiana (Rolfe) Rolfe, Schomburgkia chionodora Rchb. f., Schomburgkia chionodora var. kimballiana Rchb. f., Schomburgkia galeottiana var. chionodora (Rchb. f.) Jones, Schomburgkia galeottiana var. kimballiana (Rchb. f.) Jones, Schomburgkia rhionodora var. kimballiana Rchb. f. (A misprint for chionodora), Schomburgkia sanderiana Rolfe. Some writers believe that Schomburgkia galeottiana is the same as Schomburgkia humboldtii from Venezuela, being "an interesting example of disjunct distribution between South and Central America." Most authorities treat them as separate species, however. If in the end they are found to be a single species, the name Schomburgkia humboldtii would have priority under the rules of nomenclature and Schomburgkia galeottiana would become a synonym of Schomburgkia humboldtii. ORIGIN/HABITAT: Mexico and Guatemala. In Mexico, plants are found in the Pacific-facing lowlands and foothills in the states of Guerrero, Jalisco, and Michoacán. They usually grow at 100-1300 ft. (25-400 m), but plants are reported as high as 3300 ft. (1000 m). They grow high in trees in dense clumps of tropical-deciduous- or subdeciduous-forest along highways or in similar locations where they receive high light and air movement. CLIMATE: Station #76805, Acapulco, Mexico, Lat.16.8N, Long. 99.8W, at 10 ft. (3 m). Temperatures are calculated for an elevation of 1000 ft. (300 m), resulting in probable extremes of 94F (34C) and 57F (14C). N/HEMISPHERE JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC F AVG MAX 82 84 84 84 86 86 86 86 85 85 85 84 F AVG MIN 67 67 67 68 71 73 72 72 72 71 69 67 DIURNAL RANGE 15 17 17 16 15 13 14 14 13 14 16 17 RAIN/INCHES 3.2 T 0.0 T 1.4 12.8 9.1 9.3 13.9 6.7 1.2 0.4 HUMIDITY/% 75 75 75 75 74 77 77 77 80 79 77 75 BLOOM SEASON * * * * DAYS CLR N/A RAIN/MM 81 1 0 1 36 325 231 236 353 170 30 10 C AVG MAX 27.8 28.9 28.9 28.9 30.0 30.2 30.1 30.0 29.4 29.4 29.4 28.9 C AVG MIN 19.4 19.3 19.3 19.9 21.5 22.6 22.1 22.1 22.1 21.5 20.4 19.3 DIURNAL RANGE 8.4 9.6 9.6 9.0 8.5 7.6 8.0 7.9 7.3 7.9 9.0 9.6 S/HEMISPHERE JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN Cultural Recommendations: LIGHT: 3500-4500 fc. Plants need high light, but in areas with many clear summer days, light may be somewhat filtered or diffused. Growers recommend hanging plants high in the greenhouse near the glass where they will receive the brightest possible light. In some areas, plants may need protection from direct midday sun. Strong air movement should be provided at all times. TEMPERATURES: Summer days average 86F (30C), and nights average 72-73F (22-23C), with a diurnal range of 13-14F (8C). HUMIDITY: 75-80% year-round. WATER: Rainfall is heavy in summer and early autumn. Monthly amounts then diminish rapidly into the dry season that lasts from late autumn to spring. Cultivated plants should be watered frequently while actively growing, but the roots must always dry rapidly after watering. After new growths mature in autumn, water should be reduced so plants can dry out between waterings. FERTILIZER: 1/4-1/2 recommended strength, applied weekly during periods of active growth. Most growers use a balanced fertilizer, but others recommend a lower nitrogen fertilizer and a higher phosphate formula in late summer and autumn, as that ratio promotes better blooming the next season and the new growths to mature before the winter dry season. REST PERIOD: Winter days average 82-84F (28-29C), and nights average 67F (19C), with a diurnal range of 15-17F (8-10C). During the prolonged dry season, which starts in late autumn and lasts through spring, rainfall averages are rather low. In fact, only a trace of rainfall is received during the driest part of the season. However, the high humidity and the relatively large diurnal temperature range indicates frequent heavy deposits of dew. Therefore, while water should be reduced for cultivated plants in winter and spring, they should not be completely dry for long periods. Occasional early morning mistings, especially on bright sunny days, should provide the moisture needed and keep plants from becoming too dry. Water should be increased slightly if pseudobulbs show excessive shriveling. Fertilizer should be reduced or eliminated until new growth starts and normal watering is resumed in spring. GROWING MEDIA: Plants are usually grown in baskets or shallow pots using a very open, fast-draining medium that allows the roots to dry rapidly after watering. Charcoal is often added to help hold the medium open and help prevent souring. Plants often sulk for several years after repotting or dividing, so growers recommend that plants be repotted or divided as infrequently as possible. A medium that does not break down rapidly is best and can be based on materials such as chunks of tree-fern fiber, extra coarse fir bark, or cork nuggets. Plants should grow over the side of the pot for several seasons before repotting, waiting to repot until the medium starts to break down. When repotting is necessary, however, it is best done just as new roots are starting to grow, which is when the plant is most able to become reestablished as rapidly as possible. Plants may be mounted on tree-fern or cork slabs if humidity is high and plants are watered at least once a day in summer. Mounted plants may need several waterings a day during very hot, dry weather. MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The bloom season shown in the climate table is based on cultivation reports. In the habitat, plants flower from late summer through autumn. Plant and Flower Information: PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A moderate-to-large, coarse, 9-19 in. (22-47cm) sympodial epiphyte.. PSEUDOBULB: 4-12 in. (10-30 cm) long. The elongated pseudobulbs have 3-6 nodes. They are terete when young but become somewhat grooved with 8-15 angles when mature. Each growth is 0.8-1.6 in. (2-4 cm) thick at the somewhat rounded base then tapers gradually to the apex where it is 0.4-1.0 in. (1.0-2.5 cm) thick. Kennedy (1979) included this species in his list of plants with hollow pseudobulbs, McVaugh (1989) states that plants from southwestern Mexico have solid pseudobulbs. LEAVES: 5-7 in. (12-17 cm) long, 2-3 times as long as they are wide. Growths produce 2-4 coarse, very thick, leathery leaves, which are carried at the top of each pseudobulb. The elliptical leaf blades are concave on the bottom side. INFLORESCENCE: 39-79 in. (100-200 cm) long. The peduncle, which emerges at the top of the most recently matured pseudobulb, is commonly half the length of the entire inflorescence and is covered with somewhat leathery sheathing bracts that are 0.6-0.8 in. (1.5-2.0 cm) long. The panicle on the upper half of the inflorescence is made up of many 1.0-1.6 in. (2.5-4.0 cm) long branches. FLOWERS: 10-15. The showy blossoms open in succession starting at the bottom branches of the panicle. Flowers are 2.4-2.8 in. (6-7 cm) across with sepals and petals that are more or less a uniform lavender or purple but the petals may be somewhat darker at the edges. The lip is white or yellowish white in the throat. The upturned tips of the lateral lobes and the midlobe are either the same color as the sepals and petals or are a darker magenta-purple. Sepals are more rippled than the petals, but all are less wavy or crisped than other schomburgkias. Petals are noticeably wider than the sepals and stand out at almost right angles to the dorsal sepal. The 3-lobed lip has sidelobes that turn up to form a tube around the column and a open fully midlobe which is semicircular, fan shape with a wavy surface and an indented apex. The lip has 3-5 keeled or raised veins that extend from near the base of the lip well onto the midlobe. The column is comparatively slender. The anther cap shows divergent lobes which are sometimes described as horns. HYBRIDIZING NOTES: N/A. REFERENCES: Hamilton, R. 1988. When does it flower? 2nd ed. Robert M. Hamilton, 9211 Beckwith Road, Richmond, B. C., Canada V6X 1V7. Kennedy, G. 1979. The genera Schomburgkia and Myrmecophila. Orchid Digest, 43(6): 204-211. McVaugh, R. 1989 (1986). Orchidaceae, in Flora Novo-Galiciana vol. 16, a descriptive account of the vascular plants of western Mexico. Ed. W. R. Anderson. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U. S. A. Wiard, L. 1987. An introduction to the orchids of Mexico. Comstock Publishing Assoc. Ithaca and London. Withner, C. 1993. The cattleyas and their relatives, vol. 3: the Schomburgkia, Sophronitis, and other South American genera. Timber Press, Portland, OR. Copyright 1999, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. Baker Sheet version 77078058 ......................................................................... 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