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Eulophia speciosa (Robert Brown ex Lindley) H. Bolus

This culture sheet was provided by Charles and Margaret Baker.
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Charles and Margaret Baker

Eulophia speciosa (Robert Brown ex Lindley) H. Bolus 

AKA: Lissochilus speciosus Robert Brown ex Lindley. 

ORIGIN/HABITAT: Widespread in tropical east Africa to as far south as Cape
Province in South Africa. In the Republic of South Africa, plants are
found in South and East Cape, Transkei, Natal, Swaziland, and East
Transvaal. They usually grow in old fixed sands, coastal podsols, and
reddish to light brown sands, clays and lateritic soils. They form local
colonies of up to 50 plants in open to rather sheltered places in coastal
brush, valley bushveld, thorny bush of the lowveld, and inland mountain
grassveld. Plants are reported at elevations from sea level to 3300 ft.
(1000 m). 

CLIMATE: Station #68816, Cape Town, So. Africa, Lat. 34.0S, Long. 18.6E,
at 151 ft. (46 m). The record high is 103F (39C), and the record low is
28F (-2C). 

F AVG MAX        63   64   65   70   73   76   78   79   77   72   67   65
F AVG MIN        46   46   49   52   55   58   60   60   58   53   49   46
DIURNAL RANGE    17   18   16   18   18   18   18   19   19   19   18   19
RAIN/INCHES     3.7  3.0  2.3  1.6  1.0  0.8  0.7  0.6  0.9  1.9  3.7  4.3
HUMIDITY/%       79   78   73   69   65   63   63   66   71   75   78   78
BLOOM SEASON                     *    *         *         *               
DAYS CLR @ 7AM   12   12   12   16   14   20   20   19   19   12   13   12
DAYS CLR @ 1PM   13   14   12   16   15   22   24   21   22   15   15   13
RAIN/MM          94   76   58   41   25   20   18   15   23   48   94  109
C AVG MAX      17.2 17.8 18.3 21.1 22.8 24.4 25.6 26.1 25.0 22.2 19.4 18.3
C AVG MIN       7.8  7.8  9.4 11.1 12.8 14.4 15.6 15.6 14.4 11.7  9.4  7.8
DIURNAL RANGE   9.4 10.0  8.9 10.0 10.0 10.0 10.0 10.5 10.6 10.5 10.0 10.5

Cultural Recommendations: 

LIGHT: 2000-3500 fc. Plants adapt to bright conditions, but light should
be diffused. When grown at higher light levels, care should be taken to
ensure the foliage does not burn. Strong air movement should be provided
at all times. 

TEMPERATURES: Summer days average 76-79F (24-26C), and nights average
58-60F (14-16C), with a diurnal range of 18-19F (10-11C). Because of the
large area of distribution and the relatively wide range in habitat
elevation, plants may adapt to conditions a little warmer or cooler than
indicated in the preceding table. 

HUMIDITY: 75-80% most of the year, dropping to 60-65% during the summer
dry season. 

WATER: Rainfall is light to moderate through the year. The dry season
extends from late spring into early autumn. Cultivated plants should be
watered heavily when they are actively growing, but the medium must drain
rapidly and be allowed to dry somewhat between waterings. Water should be
reduced after the new growth matures and flowering is completed, and then
reduced even more after the leaves change color and drop. 

FERTILIZER: A balanced fertilizer mixed at 1/4-1/2 recommended strength
should be applied weekly during periods of active growth. Many growers
recommend using a fertilizer lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus
when growth slows as the new growths mature. This will promote better
blooming the next season and allow the new growths to harden before the
rest period. In order to prevent salt buildup, the medium should be
leached each month during periods of heavy fertilizer applications. This
is especially important in areas with heavily mineralized water. Leaching
is performed by watering the plant as normal to dissolve any accumulated
salts, and then an hour or so later flushing the media with water equal to
about twice the volume of the pot.

REST PERIOD: Winter days average 63-65F (17-18C), and nights average 46F
(8C), with a diurnal range of 17-19F (9-11C). Although rainfall is
relatively high in the habitat during winter, water for cultivated plants
should be applied sparingly and the plants kept dry until new growth is
evident. Fertilizer should be eliminated until heavier watering is started
in spring. 

GROWING MEDIA: These terrestrial plants are usually grown in pots using an
especially well-drained medium. This is particularly important because
these plants are intolerant of stale conditions around their roots. The
medium used by many growers is made up of 1 part rich loam, 1 part well
rotted manure, 1/2 part shredded osmunda and 1/2 part chopped tree-fern
fiber. In addition, fir bark, leaf mould, peat moss, perlite, coarse sand,
pumice and charcoal are recommended in varying amounts by other growers.
The content of the mix should be adjusted by each grower to fit with the
particular growing conditions and watering practices. Because the plants
are intolerant of stale medium, they should be repotted before the medium
begins to break down. Therefore, repotting be done every year before new
growth begins. 

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The bloom season shown in the climate table is based
on cultivation records. In nature, plants bloom in spring. Growers report
that Eulophia species with underground tubers are difficult to maintain in
cultivation for more than a few years unless great care is given to the
watering regime.

Plant and Flower Information:

PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A rather stout terrestrial that grows 16-35 in.
(40-90 cm) tall. The growths emerge from irregular underground tubers that
are connected by a stout rhizome. 

LEAVES: Up to 24 in. (60 cm) long. The stiff, fleshy leaves, which are
only about 0.8 in. (2 cm) wide, are held in a fan. 

INFLORESCENCE: Up to 39 in. (100 cm) long. The erect inflorescence emerges
from the base of new growths at about the time the leaves mature. 

FLOWERS: 10-30 rather widely spaces blossoms are carried on each raceme.
The showy flowers, which are 1.0-1.4 in. (2.5-3.6 cm) across, have green
sepals, bright yellow petals, and a yellow lip, which is whitish on the
side lobes and is flecked and lined with red in the center. The small
sepals are about 0.3 in. (0.8 cm) long and 0.1-0.2 in. (0.3-0.4 cm) wide.
The much larger, spreading petals are up to 0.7 in. (1.8 cm) long and 0.6
in. (1.6 cm) wide. The lip is nearly as long as the petals. The erect,
exposed column is about 0.2 in. (0.6 cm) long. 



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

Hamilton, R. 1988. When does it flower? 2nd ed. Robert M. Hamilton, 9211
Beckwith Road, Richmond, B.C., Canada V6X 1V7.

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

Stewart, J., with H. Linder, E. Schlepe, and A. Hall. 1982. Wild Orchids
of Southern Africa. Macmillan South Africa, Ltd., Johannesburg. 


Copyright 1997, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. Baker
Sheet version 567179

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 "Orchid Species Culture" Charles & Margaret Baker, Portland, Oregon USA

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Go Back to Free Culture Sheet Index -- Baker's Home Page

This culture sheet was provided by Charles and Margaret Baker.
Please visit their web site to find out about their Orchid Species Culture books,
Pollination Database, and culture sheet subscription service.