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ORCHID SPECIES CULTURE Charles and Margaret Baker Catasetum integerrimum Hooker AKA: N/A. ORIGIN/HABITAT: Mexico through Central America to Nicaragua. Plants have been reported on in regions facing both the Pacific and Caribbean where they grow as epiphytes in humid forests, coffee plantations, or open country. Plants have been collected from near sea level up to about 5900 ft. (1800 m), although they occur mostly in low-elevation tropical forests. CLIMATE: Station #78720, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Lat. 14.1N, Long. 87.2W, at 3304 ft. (1007 m). The record high temperature is 92F (33C) and the record low is 35F (2C). N/HEMISPHERE JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC F AVG MAX 78 80 84 86 85 83 81 82 82 80 78 77 F AVG MIN 59 60 61 65 66 67 66 65 66 65 62 61 DIURNAL RANGE 19 20 23 21 19 16 15 17 16 15 16 16 RAIN/INCHES 0.6 0.2 0.4 1.1 6.1 6.5 3.6 4.4 6.9 5.6 1.6 0.6 HUMIDITY/% 74 68 63 63 70 79 78 76 80 81 79 77 BLOOM SEASON * * * * * ** * * DAYS CLR @6AM 7 7 15 6 1 1 0 1 0 1 2 6 DAYS CLR @12PM 11 11 16 7 0 0 0 0 1 2 4 4 RAIN/MM 15 5 10 28 155 165 91 112 175 142 41 15 C AVG MAX 25.6 26.7 28.9 30.0 29.4 28.5 27.3 27.8 27.8 26.7 25.6 25.0 C AVG MIN 15.0 15.6 16.1 18.3 18.9 19.4 18.9 18.3 18.9 18.3 16.7 16.1 DIURNAL RANGE 10.6 11.1 12.8 11.7 10.5 9.1 8.4 9.5 8.9 8.4 8.9 8.9 S/HEMISPHERE JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN Cultural Recommendations: LIGHT: 2500-4000 fc. Light should be bright but somewhat filtered or diffused. Although plants in nature are sometimes found almost fully exposed to the sun, cultivated plants are probably healthier if not exposed to direct sun at midday. Strong air movement should be provided at all times. TEMPERATURES: Summer days average 81-83F (27-29C), and nights average 65-67F (18-19C), with a diurnal range of 15-17F (8-10C). Temperatures in the preceding table represent the average conditions under which these plants should be grown. Because of the wide range in habitat elevation, plants should adapt to conditions either 6-8F (3-4C) warmer or cooler than indicated. HUMIDITY: 75-80% most of the year, dropping to 60-65% in late winter and early spring. WATER: Rainfall is moderate to heavy from late spring into autumn. Amounts then diminish rather rapidly into a winter dry season. Cultivated plants should be watered heavily while actively growing, but water should be drastically reduced after new growths mature in autumn. FERTILIZER: 1/4-1/2 recommended strength, applied weekly when 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: Winter days average 77-80F (25-27C), and nights average 59-61F (15-16C), with a diurnal range of 16-20F (9-11C). Growers are reminded that because of the range in habitat elevation, plants should adapt to conditions 6-8F (3-4C) warmer or cooler than indicated. Rainfall is very low in winter, but some additional moisture is available in the form of heavy dew. Cultivated plants should be allowed to dry out after leaves drop in autumn, with only enough water given to keep the pseudobulbs from shriveling. More plants are lost from overwatering in winter than from any other cause. Fertilizer should be eliminated during the rest period. Growers report that normal watering and fertilizing should be resumed only when new growth is well under way in spring and new roots are 0.8-1.6 in. (2-4 cm) long. GROWING MEDIA: Plants may be mounted on tree-fern slabs if humidity is high and plants are watered at least once daily in summer. Several waterings a day may be necessary for mounted plants during very hot, dry periods. Because most growers find it difficult to keep mounted plants moist enough, they are usually grown in perfectly drained pots or baskets using an open, fast draining medium which contains materials that retain some moisture such as chopped sphagnum and perlite. Charcoal is often added to help keep the medium open and prevent it from becoming sour. In addition to the usual fir bark mixes, growers report success with plants tightly potted in straight osmunda, tree-fern fiber, sphagnum moss, volcanic rock, cork chips, or even a mix made of equal parts of composted and fresh horse manure and charcoal. In effect, about any medium can be used if watering practices are adjusted for its use. Plants are usually more easily managed if the same medium is used for the entire collection, however. Because it breaks down rather rapidly, plants grown in sphagnum moss must be repotted every year. As these plants are intolerant of sour conditions at the roots, many growers suggest repotting every year regardless of the medium used. Repotting is done when a new growth appears at the base of the pseudobulb. All but the last 1-2 pseudobulbs should be removed. Some growers report that they routinely divide their plants into single pseudobulbs. The old roots will soon die, so most of them can be cut off. A few may be left to help anchor the plant in the new medium until new roots have developed. After repotting, plants should not be watered at all until the new growth has roots down into the medium and the new growth is 4-5 in. (10-12 cm) tall. The normal watering schedule may then be resumed, but care should be taken to keep water from getting into the funnel-like opening of the new growth as it can cause the loss of the growth from rot. Some growers recommend placing a little Banrot mix into the funnel to avoid this problem. After the front 1-2 pseudobulbs have been repotted, the "backbulbs" can be used to start additional plants. Remove the old roots and lay the backbulbs down on a bench top or in a flat until a new growth starts at the bottom or sides of the pseudobulb. Some growers recommend that the backbulbs be placed in a vertical position in an empty pot during this waiting phase. Be patient, because it may take several months for the new growth to appear. Once the new growth has started, pot the pseudobulb so that the new growth is at or slightly below the surface of the potting media. If several growths appear along the sides of the pseudobulb, it can simply be laid on the surface of the potting media. MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The bloom season shown in the climate table is based on cultivation records. In nature, the plants bloom in early autumn. The highly fragrant flowers common to the genus Catasetum can be male or female depending on the condition under which they are grown. Female flowers are often produced under conditions of high light and low moisture whereas male blossoms generally result when plants are grown in shadier, more moist conditions. Plant and Flower Information: PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A stout epiphyte, usually to about 20 in. (50 cm) tall, normally consisting of one leaf-bearing pseudobulb and numerous coarse, leafless pseudobulbs. PSEUDOBULB: The somewhat spindle-shaped pseudobulbs are 3-6 in. (8-15 cm) long by about 2 in. (5 cm) in diameter. When young, they are covered with thin, dry, membranelike, overlapping leaf-sheaths. LEAVES: Up to 26 in. (65 cm) long by 5 in. (12 cm) wide, although they are generally somewhat smaller. About 6 distichous, linear-lanceolate, elliptic-lanceolate, or oblong-elliptic leaves with fanlike longitudinal folds and abruptly pointed tips are carried on each pseudobulb. Leaves are usually deciduous at the end of the growing season. INFLORESCENCE: Up to 16in. (40 cm) long. The lateral to erect peduncle emerges fro, the base of the newly developed pseudobulb. FLOWERS: 3-10 blossoms are carried on a simple raceme near the top of each inflorescence. The non-resupinate flowers (lip held uppermost) are usually yellowish green with fleshy green lips and are often spotted with red. Some writers report that blossoms may also be purplish with darker spots or suffusions. Each blossom is carried on a combined pedicel and ovary that is about 1.2 in. (3 cm) long. On the male blossoms, the erect to bow-shaped sepals are broadly oblong-elliptic with blunt or abruptly pointed tips. They are 1.3-1.9 in. (3.2-4.8 cm) long by 0.6-0.9 in. (1.5-2.3 cm) wide and are occasionally widest above the middle. The oval-elliptic to elliptic-obovate petals are blunt with a short, abruptly sharp tip at the apex. At 1.2-1.6 in. (3-4 cm) long by 0.7-1.0 in. (1.8-2.5 cm) wide, they are slightly shorter but a little wider than the sepals. The sack or slipperlike lip, which is held uppermost, is rigid and fleshy. It is laterally compressed, bluntly conical at the base, is about 1.2 in. (3 cm) long by 0.8-1.0 in. (2.0-2.5 cm) wide by 0.9-1.1 in. (2.3-2.8 cm) deep. The margin of the orifice is ciliate-toothed on the basal portion but is otherwise smooth. The column, which is up to 1.4 in. (3.5 cm) long, has a long beak at the apex, is concave on the anterior surface, and has a terete, curved antenna on each side at the base which projects downward. On the female blossoms, the sepals and petals are concave-incurved over the column. The sepals are oblong-squarish to egg-shaped to somewhat square. The sepals, which are 1.1-1.4 in. (2.8-3.5 cm) long by about 0.8 in. (2 cm) wide, are broadly rounded at the apex with a short, sharp, abrupt projection. The petals are about 1.1 in. (2.7 cm) long by 0.8 in (2 cm) wide. They are suborbicular to squarish and are abruptly pointed at the apex. The broad, slipperlike lip is rigid and fleshy and is dorsally compressed. It is about 1.6 in (4 cm) long by 1.6 in. (4 cm) wide by 1 in. (2.5 cm) deep. The margin of the orifice is smooth. The fleshy-thickened column is about 0.8 in. (2 cm) long and has a long beak at the apex. HYBRIDIZING NOTES: N/A. REFERENCES: . Ames, O. and D. Correll. (1952-1965) 1985. Orchids of Guatemala and Belize. Dover Publications, New York. Bechtel, H., P. Cribb, and E. Launert. 1980. Manual of cultivated orchid species. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. Hamer, F. 1982. Orchids of Nicaragua, part 1. Icones Plantarum Tropicarum fasc. 7, plates 601-700. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 33577. Hamilton, R. 1988. When does it flower? 2nd ed. Robert M. Hamilton, 9211 Beckwith Road, Richmond, B. C., Canada V6X 1V7. Hawkes, A.  1987. Encyclopaedia of cultivated orchids. Faber and Faber, London. Hills, H. G. 1995. Culture of Catasetinae Schlechter, revised 2/95. Personal communication 3/95. 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. Paget, F. 1995. Catasetum Culture. The newsletter of the Oregon orchid society March 1995. Pridgeon, A. ed. 1992. The illustrated encyclopedia of orchids. Timber Press, Portland, OR. Wiard, L. 1987. An introduction to the orchids of Mexico. Comstock Publishing Assoc. Ithaca and London. Williams, L.  1986. The Orchidaceae of Mexico. CEIBA 2(1-4):1-256. PHOTOS/DRAWINGS: . Copyright 1997, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. 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