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This is a discussion on Another one bites the dust ...*SIGH* within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I hate to break it to you, but Ornithocephalus has a life span... they eventually ...
I hate to break it to you, but Ornithocephalus has a life span... they eventually die, maybe 3-5 years in cultivation, at least from what I have seen in the past... good luck growing,
Thanks for the sympathy, folks.
Hadn't heard about ethylene causing leaf drop before, Julie. Interesting since w/ bromeliads ethylene gas can induce flowering. I did get a bunch of apples recently but as they are not right next to the terr I'd be surprised if that was the cause ... but who knows?
As for age, I don't think it very old. Bruce, generally short lived ones -- if you're lucky will send out keikis before dying off. Psygmorchis pusilla is one of those that only lives for 3-5 years then dies. Too bad too because it is a cutie.
I think it is quite unknown why the plants have a life span in and out of cultivation... I find this to be true with Ornithocephalus and Psygmorchis (just for the Oncidiinae), and Telipogon and Fernandezia (which can be prolonged in cultivation longer with proper care)... Epidendrum magnoliae, a South-Eastern US native, and Central American native, also has a life span, though much longer.
I am unsure about all species of Ornithocephalus, but the more common species, Orni. inflexus and Orni. gladiatus, are definitely governed by a life span... I was able to keep my single Ornithocephalus for 5 years... unfortunately, it just randomly drops its leaves (which were still green!)... kinda like suicide to me...
Hope it comes back!