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Angraecum leonis (Rchb.f.) Veitch

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Charles and Margaret Baker

Angraecum leonis (Rchb.f.) Veitch

AKA: Aeranthus leonis (H.G. Reichenbach), Angraecum humblotti Rchb. f.,
Mystacidium leonis Rolfe, and Macroplectrum leonis Finet.

ORIGIN/HABITAT: There are two forms of this species found in very
different areas. The smaller form is found at the northern tip of Malagasy
(Madagascar) growing near sea level. The second and larger form is found
in the Comoro Islands growing at about 3000 ft. (910 m). 

CLIMATE: Station #67009, Diego Suarez, Malagasy, Lat. 12.3S, Long. 49.3E,
at 95 ft. (29 m). Record extreme temperatures are 98F (37C) and 63F (17C).

F AVG MAX        84   84   84   86   88   90   88   89   88   88   85   85
F AVG MIN        69   69   70   72   74   75   75   75   75   75   74   71
DIURNAL RANGE    15   15   14   14   14   15   13   14   13   13   11   14
RAIN/INCHES      .2   .2   .2   .4   .9  4.9 10.4  8.1  7.2  2.3   .3   .3
HUMIDITY/%       65   65   66   69   73   76   82   83   81   76   69   67
BLOOM SEASON      *    *   **   **   **    *    *    *    *    *    *    *
DAYS CLR @ 3AM   21   21   21   21   14   11   10    9   10   13   19   20
DAYS CLR @ 3PM   10   14   16   19   12    4    2    1    1    7   13   12
RAIN/MM           5    5    5   10   23  124  264  206  183   58    8    8
C AVG MAX      28.9 28.9 28.9 30.0 31.1 32.2 31.1 31.7 31.1 31.1 29.4 29.4
C AVG MIN      20.6 20.6 21.1 22.2 23.3 23.9 23.9 23.9 23.9 23.9 23.3 21.7
DIURNAL RANGE   8.3  8.3  7.8  7.8  7.8  8.3  7.2  7.8  7.2  7.2  6.1  7.7

Cultural Recommendations:
The following recommendations are based on averages in the habitat. They
may be used as a guide for newly acquired plants whose requirements are
unknown, or for plants that are not growing or flowering as well as they
should. Reports from growers are included when they indicate success with
conditions in cultivation that are outside the range found in the habitat.

LIGHT: 2500-4000 fc. Plants may tolerate as much as 50% sunlight if
gradually introduced to the higher levels. Plants will bloom under a wide
range of light levels, however, and high light is not necessary or

TEMPERATURES: Summer days average 88-90F (31-32C), and nights average 75F
(24C), with a diurnal range of 13-15F (7-8C). Conditions throughout the
year for the Comoro Islands form average about 10F (6C) cooler than
indicated for the Madagascan form.

HUMIDITY: 75-85% from summer into autumn, decreasing to near 65% in winter
and spring.

WATER: Rainfall is moderate to heavy from summer to early autumn.
Cultivated plants should be watered sufficiently to keep the foliage plump
and firm. If leaves become shriveled or wrinkled, water more often, or
move the plant to an area where it is misted more frequently during the
summer. The summer wet season is followed immediately by a very dry season
from late autumn into spring when conditions are so dry that even dew is
uncommon. The dry season for the Cormoro Island form is neither quite so
long or as severe as indicated for the Madagascan form.

FERTILIZER: A balanced fertilizer, mixed at 1/4-1/2 recommended strength,
should be applied weekly during periods of active growth. Many growers use
a fertililzer with lower nitrogen and higher phosphate in autumn. This
improves blooming the next season and encourages new growths to harden
before winter. Pots should be leaached every few weeks to prevent salt
buildup, especially when fertilizer is being applied most heavily. Plants
should first be watered normally to disolve any accumulated salts. An hour
or so later, the medium is flushed with water equal to about twice the
volume of the pot. Year-round leaching is important in areas with heavily
mineralized water.

REST PERIOD: Winter days average 84-85F (29C), and nights average 69-71F
(21-22C), with a diurnal range of 14-15F (8C). Rainfall is low during a 6
month period in winter. Water for cultivated plants should be greatly
reduced during this time. Usually, an occasional early morning misting is
sufficient if a period of bright sunny weather is expected. Water should
be increased if the leaves show signs of stress by becoming wrinkled.
Extreme care should be taken not to overwater potted plants, however, 
since the symptoms for root rot caused by too much water are the same as
the signs indicating a lack of water.

GROWING MEDIA: Plants may be mounted on slabs of cork or tree fern fiber
if high humidity can be maintained, and if water can be applied at least
daily during the summer. If potted, a very open, fast draining medium such
as medium to large fir bark or cork nuggets is recommended. Some growers
report that plants grow well when potted in coconut fiber. Undersized pots
large enough to hold the roots should be used, and repotting should be
done just as new root growth is starting, or as soon after flowering as

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The bloom times indicated in the table are based on
cultivation reports. In nature, A. leonis blooms in late winter, near the
end of the dry season.

Plant and Flower Information:

PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A medium sized epiphyte that grows to 6-8 in. (15-20
cm) wide, and is usually less than 6 in. (15 cm) tall. While usually a
monopod with a short, stout stem, secondary growths will occasionally be
made from near the base of the stem. All measurements given are for the
Madagascan form. The Comoro Island form may be as much as twice the size


LEAVES: Usually there 4-5 thick, sickle-shaped, distichous leaves on the
almost stemless plant and any one time. They are 4-6 in. (10-15 cm) long
and 0.6-1.0 in. (1.5-2.5 cm) wide.

INFLORESCENCE: 1-2 stout inflorescences emerge from below the leaves. They
are 3-4 in. (8-10 cm) long, and may be erect or suberect.

FLOWERS: 1-7 on each inflorescence. The long-lasting, fragrant flowers are
pure white and measure 1.2-1.6 in. (3-4 cm) wide and 1.6-2.0 in. (4-5 cm)

HYBRIDIZING NOTES: Chromosome count is 2n = 40.


Bechtel, H., P. Cribb, and E. Launert. 1980. Manual of cultivated orchid
species. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.

Hawkes, A. D. (1965) 1987. Encyclopaedia of cultivated orchids. Faber and
Faber, London. 

Hillerman, F. E., and A. W. Holst. 1986. An introduction to the cultivated
Angraecoid orchids of Madagascar. Timber Press, Portland, Ore.

Northen, R. T. 1980. Miniature orchids. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.

Veitch, James, and Sons. [1887-1894] 1963, 1981. Manual of orchidaceous
plants. Vols. I-II. James Veitch and Sons, Royal Exotic Nursery, Chelsea,
London. Reprint, Vol. I, A. Asher and Co., Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
reprint, Vol. II, Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra Dun, India.

Copyright 1997, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. Baker
Sheet version 564517

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.

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This culture sheet was provided by Charles and Margaret Baker.
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