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ORCHID SPECIES CULTURE Charles and Margaret Baker Ancistrochilus rothschildanus O'Brien AKA: N/A. ORIGIN/HABITAT: Found from Sierra Leon to southern Nigeria in equatorial west Africa. A. rothschildanus is an uncommon rainforest epiphyte that usually grown at moderate elevations near the coast. However, plants have been reported growing inland as far east as a rainforest in central Uganda. CLIMATE: Station #65264, Calabar, Nigeria, Lat. 5.0N, Long. 8.4E, at 206 ft. (63 m). Temperatures are calculated for an elevation of 3000 ft. (910 m), resulting in probable extremes of 96F (35C) and 40F (4C). N/HEMISPHERE JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC F AVG MAX 77 80 80 79 78 77 76 74 75 76 78 77 F AVG MIN 62 63 64 63 63 62 62 62 62 63 63 62 DIURNAL RANGE 15 17 16 16 15 15 14 12 13 13 15 15 RAIN/INCHES 1.5 3.0 6.2 8.6 12.3 16.2 17.9 16.5 16.6 12.9 7.5 1.9 HUMIDITY/% 78 77 79 81 82 86 88 88 87 84 82 78 BLOOM SEASON ** * * * * DAYS CLR @ 6AM 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 DAYS CLR @ 1PM 9 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 9 RAIN/MM 38 76 157 218 312 411 455 419 422 328 191 48 C AVG MAX 25.0 26.7 26.7 26.1 25.6 25.2 24.5 23.3 23.9 24.4 25.6 25.0 C AVG MIN 16.7 17.1 17.7 17.1 17.1 16.5 16.5 16.5 16.5 17.1 17.1 16.5 DIURNAL RANGE 8.3 9.6 9.0 9.0 8.5 8.7 8.0 6.8 7.4 7.3 8.5 8.5 S/HEMISPHERE JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN Cultural Recommendations: LIGHT: 1800-2500 fc. Strong air movement is recommended at all times. TEMPERATURES: Conditions vary only slightly throughout the year. Days average 74-80F (23-27C), nights average 62-64F (17-18C), and the diurnal range is 12-17F (7-9C). HUMIDITY: 85-90% from summer through autumn, dropping to 75-80% in winter and spring. WATER: Rainfall is very heavy from spring through autumn, with a 2-3 month dry season in winter. Cultivated plants should be kept evenly moist and not be allowed to dry out completely between waterings while they are in active growth. However, water should be gradually reduced in late autumn after new growths mature. FERTILIZER: A solution mixed at 1/4-1/2 recommended strength should be applied weekly while plants are actively growing. A high-nitrogen fertilizer is beneficial from spring to midsummer, but a fertilizer high in phosphates should be used in late summer and autumn. REST PERIOD: Growing temperatures should be maintained throughout the year. While rainfall is less in winter, some does fall each month, and additional moisture is available from frequent heavy dews in the rainforest habitat. For cultivated plants, water should be reduced but not eliminated for 3 months in winter. Plants should be allowed be become almost dry between waterings. The normal watering schedule should be resumed in spring when new growth becomes evident. Growers report that a 54F (12C) dry rest is needed after leaf fall, but this is cooler than indicated by the climate table. However, keep in mind that the 3000 ft. (910 m) elevation used for habitat elevation is our interpretation of "grows at moderate elevations" If the habitat is actually at 5000 ft. (1520 m), temperatures would be 6-8F (3-4C) cooler than indicated in the table. Fertilizer should be reduced or eliminated during the dry rest and resumed when watering is increased in spring. GROWING MEDIA: Growers recommend a mix of fine fir bark with about 10% charcoal and 10% perlite added. Because long rhizomes result in a rather rambling growth habit, baskets, shallow pots, or bulb pans are generally preferred. This is especially true when growing a large, specimen type plant. The shallow depth of the container allows faster drying so that the medium does not become stale or soggy. Pots are usually filled about half with medium of coarse fir bark for improved drainage. The plants is set in place and the pot filled with fine bark or the mix previously mentioned. Since the plant is naturally an epiphyte, slab culture could probably also be used, but we have not found a single reference to its use in cultivation. Also, we have found no reference to the use of tree-fern fiber as a medium for A. rothschildianus. It should work well, however, especially in baskets or in drier regions where a medium that retains more moisture is desired. MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: These plants have a growth and blooming habit very similar to the autumn blooming Pleiones. We treat them much the same, except for warmer temperatures and a little more water for the Ancistrochilus during the winter rest. Our winter minimum temperatures are held at about 60F (15C) with occasional brief drops to near 55F (13C) during exceptionally cold periods. Plant and Flower Information: PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A small epiphytic plant that grows to 6-14 in. (15-35 cm) tall. PSEUDOBULB: Loosely clustered with a relatively long connecting rhizome. They are up to 2 in. (5 cm) across, conical or pyriform, appearing somewhat like a dried and rather wrinkled "chocolate kiss".. LEAVES: 2 per growth that emerge from the top of the pseudobulb. They are 4-16 in. (10-40 cm) long, thin and soft textured, suberect to arching, and are usually deciduous at the end of the growing season. INFLORESCENCE: Usually 1, occasionally 2 per growth. Each inflorescence is 2-3 in. (5-8 cm) long. They emerge from the base of mature pseudobulbs, usually as the leaves begin to fall. FLOWERS: 2-5 per inflorescence. The 2 in. (5 cm) flowers are fragrant, long lasting, and are large and showy for the size of the plant. The sepals and petals are white, lilac, or rose pink. The pointed mid-lobe of the lip is a rich purple with 5 dark rose ridges, and the side lobes and column are creamy green stippled with brown. HYBRIDIZING NOTES: We are unaware of any hybridizing efforts using this species. It is self fertile, however; and when our plant was selfed, viable dry seed was produced after only 75 days with no prior color change or warning of any sort before the fruit opened. REFERENCES: Bechtel, H., P. Cribb, and E. Launert. 1980. Manual of cultivated orchid species. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. Hamilton, R. M. 1988. When does it flower? 2nd ed. Robert M. Hamilton, 9211 Beckwith Road, Richmond, B.C., Canada V6X 1V7. Northen, R. T. 1980. Miniature orchids. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York. Segerbäck, L. B. 1983. Orchids of Nigeria. A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam. Stewart, J. 1979. An Introduction to the orchid genera of Africa--from A to Z. American Orchid Society Bulletin 48(2):151. Copyright 1997, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. Baker Sheet version 564510 ......................................................................... Please remember that this sheet is for your use only, and though it was provided free of charge, it may not be reproduced or retransmitted in any way without permission. ......................................................................... __________________________________________________________________________ "Orchid Species Culture" Charles & Margaret Baker, Portland, Oregon USA Orchid Culture & Pollination site http://www.orchidculture.com email <firstname.lastname@example.org> __________________________________________________________________________ "Orchid Species Culture Vol. 1 - Pescatorea, Phaius, Phalaenopsis, Pholidota, Phragmipedium, Pleione" 250 pages of culture information. "Orchid Species Culture Vol. 2 - Dendrobium" 850 pages of culture information for more than 1230 Dendrobium species. "The genus Paphiopedilum--Natural History and Cultivation" - Part 1 Dr. Guido Braem, Charles and Margaret Baker ISBN 0-9665337-0-4 Full page color photograph of each species. "The genus Paphiopedilum--Natural History and Cultivation" - Part 2 Dr. Guido Braem, Charles and Margaret Baker ISBN 0-9665337-1-2 Full page color photograph of each species. "Orchid Species Culture Vol. 3 - The Laelia/Cattleya Alliance" coming in a few months. __________________________________________________________________________