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Sievekingia marsupialis Dodson

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ORCHID SPECIES CULTURE
Charles and Margaret Baker

Sievekingia marsupialis Dodson

AKA: N/A. 

ORIGIN/HABITAT: Ecuador. The type specimen was found in Morona-Santiago
Province in southern Ecuador. It was growing near Sucúa at 2600 ft. (800
m). Plants have since been found near Puyo in Pastaza Province. It grows
as an epiphyte in wet, lower montane forests. 

CLIMATE: Station #84163, Puyo, Ecuador, Lat. 1.6S, Long. 77.9W, at 3117
ft. (950 m). The record high temperature is 88F (31C), and the record low
is 48F (9C). 

N/HEMISPHERE    JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN  JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC
F AVG MAX        77   79   81   81   81   81   79   79   79   79   79   77
F AVG MIN        61   61   61   61   63   63   63   63   63   63   63   61
DIURNAL RANGE    16   18   20   20   18   18   16   16   16   16   16   16
RAIN/INCHES     9.3  8.9  9.1 12.0 11.6  8.3  8.0  8.1 11.3 15.0  8.0 10.9
HUMIDITY/%       89   87   87   88   88   88   89   89   89   89   89   89
BLOOM SEASON                                    *    *    *    *    *    *
DAYS CLR        N/A
RAIN/MM         236  227  231  304  295  212  203  206  287  380  204  276
C AVG MAX      25.0 26.0 27.0 27.0 27.0 27.0 26.0 26.0 26.0 26.0 26.0 25.0
C AVG MIN      16.0 16.0 16.0 16.0 17.0 17.0 17.0 17.0 17.0 17.0 17.0 16.0
DIURNAL RANGE   9.0 10.0 11.0 11.0 10.0 10.0  9.0  9.0  9.0  9.0  9.0  9.0
S/HEMISPHERE    JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC  JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN

Cultural Recommendations: 

LIGHT: 1500-2300 fc. Semishaded conditions with filtered or diffused light
are recommended. Plants should be protected from direct sun. Strong air
movement should be provided at all times. 

TEMPERATURES: Throughout the year, days average 77-81F (25-27C), and
nights average 61-63F (16-17C), with a diurnal range of 16-20F (9-11C).
Sievekingia marsupialis has been cultivated in Cuenca, Ecuador, at 8291
ft. (2527 m), so plants may adapt to temperatures 10-12F (6-7C) cooler
than indicated in the preceding table. Any move to cooler conditions
should be made very slowly. 

HUMIDITY: 85-90% year-round. 

WATER: Rainfall is very heavy throughout the year. Plants should be
watered heavily while actively growing, but drainage must be excellent and
conditions around the roots should always be open and well aerated. Hawkes
(1965) reported that "even a semblance of stale conditions at the roots
can rapidly prove fatal." 

FERTILIZER: 1/4-1/2 recommended strength, applied weekly when plants are
actively growing. A balanced fertilizer may be used throughout the year,
but some growers prefer a high-nitrogen fertilizer from spring to
midsummer, and switch to a high-phosphate formula in late summer and
autumn.

REST PERIOD: Growing conditions should be maintained all year. Cultivated
plants may need less water when they are not actively growing or if plants
are grown in the dark, short-day conditions common in temperate latitudes.
Plants should never dry out completely. Fertilizer should be reduced if
water is reduced. 

GROWING MEDIA: Sievekingia marsupialis has a pendent inflorescence that
emerges from the base of the pseudobulbs, so it probably would be easier
to manage if it was mounted tightly to a tree-fern slab. Mounted, plants
need high humidity, however, and at least daily watering when temperatures
are warm. Mounted plants may need several waterings a day during extremely
hot, dry weather. If keeping mounted plants is sufficiently moist, plants
may be grown in small slatted wood baskets or wire baskets made from
large-mesh wire. Baskets should be lined with sphagnum moss and filled
with an open, fast-draining medium. Growers indicate that the medium
should hold moisture without becoming soggy as the roots need to dry
fairly rapidly after watering. Hawkes (1965) recommended a potting mix
made of equal parts or chopped sphagnum moss and shredded tree-fern fiber.
Repotting or dividing should be done only when new root growth is just
starting. This allows the plant to become established in the shortest
possible time with the least amount of stress. 

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The bloom season shown in the climate table is based
on reports from the habitat. Hawkes (1965) reported that Sievekingia are
"often rather difficult to grow for more than a single season and are not
recommended for the amateur collector." 

Plant and Flower Information:

PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A rather large, 13 in. (34 cm) sympodial epiphyte. 

PSEUDOBULB: 1.8 in. (4.5 cm) long by 1.2 in. (3 cm) in diameter near the
base. The pear-shaped pseudobulbs are dark green and ribbed and the base
is covered with dry sheaths. 

LEAVES: 12 in. (30 cm) long by 3 in. (7.5 cm) wide. A single thin,
narrowly oval leaf is carried at the apex of each pseudobulb. It has a
rather thin substance with prominent, parallel, longitudinal veins on the
back side. The leaf narrows toward the apex to a sharply pointed tip, and
narrows near base forming a moderately long, grooved petiole. 

INFLORESCENCE: 2 in. (5 cm) long. A pendent peduncle emerges from the base
of a recently matured pseudobulb. The flower spike is surrounded by loose,
scarious bracts which may be up to 0.4 in. (1 cm) long. Flowers are
arranged in a dense cluster at the apex, and each blossom is carried on a
slender, terete ovary that is about 1.2 in. (3 cm) long. 

FLOWERS: 9-15. Blossoms have white sepals, orange petals, and the lip and
column are orange with a deeper red-orange spot in the throat of the lip.
The forward-pointing floral segments result in cupped flowers that are not
wide-spreading. They measure about 0.5 in. (1.2 cm) across the tips of the
petals by almost 1 in. (2.5 cm) long from the base of the flower to the
tips of the sepals and petals. The elliptic, sharply pointed, concave
dorsal sepal is 0.9 in. (2.4 cm) long by 0.3 in. (0.8 cm) wide. Lateral
sepals are obliquely egg-shaped, concave, and 1.0 in. (2.5 cm) long by 0.4
in. (1.1 cm) wide. The narrowly obovate petals are sharply pointed and 0.8
in. (2.0 cm) long by 0.2 in. (0.5 cm) wide. The shallowly, 3-lobed lip is
broadly egg-shaped when fully spread, with erect lateral lobes on each
side of the column and a sharply pointed tip. The lip is 0.6 in. (1.5 cm)
long by 0.8 in. (2.0 cm) wide when fully spread. There is a semicircle of
9-11 upturned teeth at the base and an oblong flap in the disc, which is
united to the base of the lip and along the margins but open at the apex.
The column, which is about 0.5 in. (1.2 cm) long, is terete below the
middle, and abruptly winged on the apical third with a pair of triangular
ears on each side of the anther. 

HYBRIDIZING NOTES: N/A. 

REFERENCES: 

Dodson, C., and P. de Dodson. 1984. Orchids of Ecuador. Fasc. 10, plates
901-1000. Icones Plantarum Tropicarum The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens,
811 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 33577. 

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

PHOTOS/DRAWINGS: 

Dodson, C., and P. de Dodson. 1984. Orchids of Ecuador. Fasc. 10, plates
901-1000. Icones Plantarum Tropicarum The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens,
811 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 33577. (Drawing)


Copyright 1999, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. Baker
Sheet version 65801884

.........................................................................
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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 "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.