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Epidendrum parkinsonianum Hooker

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Epidendrum parkinsonianum Hooker 

AKA: Epidendrum aloifolium Bateman, Epidendrum falcatum var. zeledoniae
Schlechter, Brassavola pescatorei Hort. ex Stein. 

ORIGIN/HABITAT: Southern Mexico through Central America to Panama. In
Mexico, plants are found in the states of Jalisco, Michoacan, Mexico,
Morelos, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Chiapas. It is a widespread but
uncommon species which normally grows epiphytically in pine-oak forests at
4900-7550 ft. (1500-2300 m). 

CLIMATE: Station #76775, Oaxaca, Mexico, Lat. 17.0N, Long. 96.7W, at 5012
ft. (1528 m). Temperatures are calculated for an elevation of 6000 ft.
(1830 m), resulting in probable extremes of 97F (36C) and 31F (-1C). 

F AVG MAX        74   78   82   85   84   80   79   78   77   76   76   74
F AVG MIN        44   47   51   54   56   57   56   56   55   53   49   45
DIURNAL RANGE    30   31   31   31   28   23   23   22   22   23   27   29
RAIN/INCHES     0.1  0.2  0.6  1.5  3.2  6.7  3.5  4.1  4.9  2.0  0.4  0.2
HUMIDITY/%       59   58   55   56   62   72   72   71   75   70   64   62
BLOOM SEASON      *    *    *   **    *    *   **    *    *    *    *
DAYS CLR @  6AM  26   24   24   24    9    8    4    8    5   14   20   26
DAYS CLR @ 12PM  25   26   23   22   11    8    3    5    4   13   22   27
RAIN/MM           3    5   15   38   81  170   89  104  124   51   10    5
C AVG MAX      23.3 25.6 27.8 29.4 28.9 26.8 26.2 25.6 25.0 24.4 24.4 23.3
C AVG MIN       6.7  8.2 10.4 12.1 13.2 13.7 13.2 13.2 12.6 11.5  9.3  7.1
DIURNAL RANGE  16.6 17.4 17.4 17.3 15.7 13.1 13.0 12.4 12.4 12.9 15.1 16.2

Cultural Recommendations: 

LIGHT: 2000-3000 fc. Throughout the year, plants should receive as much
light as possible, short of burning the foliage. The leaves may have a
purple tinge when light levels are near the maximum the plant can

TEMPERATURES: Summer days average 78-80F (26-27C), nights average 56-57F
(13-14C), and the diurnal range is 22-23F (12-13C). Spring, before the
start of the rainy season, is the warmest time of year. Days average
82-85F (28-29C), nights warm from 51 to 56F (10 to 13C), and the diurnal
range is 28-31F (16-17C). 

HUMIDITY: 70-75% in summer and early autumn, dropping to 55-60% in winter
and early spring. 

WATER: Rainfall is moderate to heavy from late spring to early autumn.
Additional moisture is also available from heavy dews which are common
most of the year except for 2-3 months in late winter and early spring.
Actively growing plants should be kept relatively moist with only slight
drying allowed between waterings. Water should be gradually reduced in
autumn after new growths have matured. 

FERTILIZER: 1/4-1/2 recommended strength, applied weekly. 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 74-78F (23-26C), nights are 44-47F
(7-8C), and the diurnal range is 29-31F (16-17C). Rainfall is low for 5-6
months from late autumn to early spring, but moisture from frequent dew is
available for most of this period. For cultivated plants, water should be
reduced and the plants allowed to dry out between waterings, but they
should never remain completely dry for long periods. Occasional early
morning mistings between waterings may prevent the plants from becoming
too dry. For 1-2 months in late winter and early spring, however, water
should be limited to only occasional mistings. This corresponds to that
time in the habitat when conditions are so dry that even dew is uncommon.
Water should be increased when the flowers start to develop. Fertilizer
should be reduced or eliminated until water is increased in spring. 

GROWING MEDIA: Because of the large, pendulous, branching growth habit,
plants should be mounted on cork, rough bark, or tree-fern slabs. Plants
may also be grown in hanging pots or baskets if a very open, fast draining
medium is used. Some growers report that divisions may be made by cutting
through the rhizome and mounting the divisions, even those with only a
single growth, on a slab with the leaf uppermost. The plant will resume
its pendent growth habit as new growths are made.

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The bloom season shown in the climate table is based
on cultivation reports. In nature, plants bloom mostly in spring and
summer, but they may bloom more than once each year. Since its discovery,
Epidendrum parkinsonianum has often been confused with Epidendrum
falcatum, which is a creeping lithophytic plant with brittle,
pseudobulbous stems, somewhat smaller flowers with broader segments which
have a pinkish hue on the outside, and a lip with a midlobe that is only
very slightly longer than the side lobes. 

Plant and Flower Information: 

PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A large, strongly pendulous epiphyte that often forms
clumps more than 79 in. (200 cm) long. 

PSEUDOBULB: Up to 4 in. (10 cm) long. pseudobulbs are clustered,
curved-ascending, slender, terete, concealed by translucent, often rough
sheaths, and may be difficult to distinguish from the rhizome. 

LEAVES: 1 or more per pseudobulb. Leaves are up to 18 in. (46 cm) long,
often almost cylindrical, very fleshy, flaccid, and are deep green often
tinged with purple. 

INFLORESCENCE: The short peduncles emerge from the top of the pseudobulbs
on new growths. 

FLOWERS: 1-3 per inflorescence. The blossoms are showy, fragrant, long
lasting, and may be more than 6 in. (15 cm) across, although they are
usually somewhat smaller. The long, narrow, widely spreading sepals and
petals may be whitish, tan, pale yellow, or yellowish green. They are
often tinged with mauve or purplish bronze on the outside. The large,
white lip, which has a more or less distinct yellow or yellowish orange
blotch on the disk, is 3-lobed with the narrow, pointed midlobe much
longer than the sidelobes. 

HYBRIDIZING NOTES: Natural hybrids between Epidendrum parkinsonianum and
Epidendrum falcatum have been found in one locality in the state of


Ames, O. and D. S. Correll. (1952-1965) 1985. Orchids of Guatemala and
Belize. Dover Publications, New York. 

Hágsater, E., and G. Salazar. 1990. Icones orchidacearum, fasc. I, orchids
of Mexico part 1. Asociacion Mexicana de Orquideologia A. C., Mexico.

Hamer, F. 1964. Orchids of El Salvador, vol. 1. The Marie Selby Botanical
Gardens, 811 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 33577. 

Hamer, F. 1983. Orchids of Nicaragua, part 2 Icones Plantarum Tropicarum
fascicle 8, plates 701-800. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 South
Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 33577. 

Hawkes, A. [1965] 1987. Encyclopaedia of cultivated orchids. Faber and
Faber, London. 

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.

Pridgeon, A. ed. 1992. The illistrated encyclopedia of orchids. Timber
Press, Portland, OR. 

Veitch, J., 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.

Wiard, L. 198?. An introduction to the orchids of Mexico. Comstock
Publishing Assoc. Ithaca and London. 

Williams, L. [1951] 1986. The Orchidaceae of Mexico. CEIBA 2(1-4):1-256. 

Copyright 1997, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. Baker
Sheet version 568369

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