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Epi. ilense

This is a discussion on Epi. ilense within the Orchids of Other Genera IN BLOOM forums, part of the Orchid Photography category; This species was originally discovered in a remote forest in mountainous Ecuador in 1977. The ...

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  1. #1
    Piper's Avatar
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    Default Epi. ilense

    This species was originally discovered in a remote forest in mountainous Ecuador in 1977. The Marie Selby Institute in Sarasota, FL (both famous and infamous for its wild orchid collection) first obtained the species. When collectors went back six years later, deforestation of the area had obliterated all traces of this species in the wild.

    Thought to be extinct in the wild for years after that, two small populations have recently been discovered in Ecuador. They're not expected to survive unless efforts to protect their habitat are strengthened - they enjoy conditions favorable to banana culture, and bananas are a highly profitable crop for Ecuadorian farmers.

    Ilense is unusual for an Epidendrum, since it's free-flowering throughout the year and will bloom off old spikes. The flower is highly fimbriated, similar to the lip of a Brassavola (or Rhyncholaelia) digbyana.

    I've had this plant for nearly three years and had given up on being able to flower it. It's mounted and I assumed I just couldn't offer it the humidity it wanted. About a year ago I read it enjoys fairly high light levels (I had previously read that it didn't want much light - lots of conflicting info on its culture!), so I moved it into my brighter room. It grew very slowly after that. This week I tossed my frequently watered plants into the shower (to water them) before I went away for a couple of days. I forgot they were there before I left. When I got back the spike and buds were present!!!

    I guess it really does prefer less light, so back it goes into the Paph. room! I'm very excited this mule has finally deigned to grace us with its flowers! I'll post pics as they open.

    Julie
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    WONDERFUL!! i am very much looking forward to seeing the beautiful flowers. my uncle just ordered this species - quite an interesting and unusual example of epidroidae. Looks like youve got a new growth too!! CHEERS!

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    Looks good, Julie. How cool that once you left it in a dark shower it would put on a spike. Do you think it was the light or the stress of no light in a humid environment?

    Cheers!
    BD

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    Very nice, Julie! I want that plant too, hehhehehe!!!
    It could be that the warmth and humidity of your shower room trick the plant into blooming!
    Cheers. Hoa.

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    It beats me what the trigger was...

    I did look up the awards for this species (their date gives an idea of a plant's blooming season.) Most are July/Aug, so the shower sleepover could have just been a coincidence, but maybe not.

    I used to have more active growth on it, and this dark period did also initiate the new growth Colin mentioned, so I am quite sure the plant was stressed in the brighter light.

    We all have to become orchid whisperers to grow these darn things!

    Julie

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    Cool story Julie! can't wait to see the opened flower.

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    great history! very intriguing flower too--gotta see the pics when they open!

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    How exciting to get a surprise bloom, I always think that I have done something magical. We are heading up to the Marie Selby gardens in a couple of weeks.
    Cin

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    I am the uncle refered to earlier in the thread I just received mine. It looks as though it was seperated before it was sent out and that I have younger growths. I am curious as to where you keep it. North, west, east south.
    I have a good mostly west to slight north window, or an East south window. What is your recomendation?
    I have attached a photo and it looks like yours is a nice darker green, mine looks light weary.
    Last edited by etothex; July 4th, 2006 at 08:45 PM.

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    Hi Colin's Uncle, and welcome to the forum! We've seen photos of you (at the Smithsonian - with an exotic bird chewing on your ear) and we feel like you're one of us already!

    As for your Epi. ilense, many Central/South American orchids that first come up from the native nurseries are weary. They're actually fine. They're simply not in the condition US customers are used to. Retailers here often "fatten them up" for six months before they resell them. Thus it goes with the more unusual species.

    Yours looks fine. Mine is actually the third growth off plant I purchased nearly three years ago. The first growth was small and didn't last too long, and I broke the second growth, which later lost its leaves. But the plant was young then. The third growth was much stronger, and is what you see today. Higher light really did stress it, and new growth halted.

    I'm in Boston and I see you're in MD. Your light is more intense than mine, so I'd say go for the west window. That's where I've moved mine back to. The trouble with a mounted plant, not in a greenhouse, is the growth habit. It wants to be in the window, not beside it. If you hang it beside the window, growths will shoot out sideways towards the light.

    If you lean it on the windowsill, the growth will curve back towards the window, as mine has done. I don't know the answer, but that's my experience.

    Yours is mounted similarly to mine (with some moss around the roots.) I don't always get to water it daily, but I try to, and it's happiest if it doesn't go more than two days between waterings. It dries out quickly.

    It also won't get many nutrients mounted. It doesn't mind fertilizer, but it can burn the leaves, if you over fert and let the plant dry out too much. Go for half to quarter strength every week or every other week, and you should be fine.

    I use a reverse osmosis water filter on my showerhead, and water the plant in the shower (if I'm not fertilizing). I'm always picky about giving my species plants good water. Send me a private message (holler if you need help doing that), if you'd like a source for the showerhead filter.

    I'm hardly an expert on this species, but that's what I can offer. Good luck, and please keep up us posted on how yours does!

    Julie

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