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Epidendrum magnoliae (syn. Epi. conopseum)

This is a discussion on Epidendrum magnoliae (syn. Epi. conopseum) within the Photography Archive 1 forums, part of the Orchid Photography category; This diminutive epiphyte is the most far-ranging epiphytic orchid in the United States, growing along ...

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  1. #1
    prem's Avatar
    prem is offline Senior Member
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    Default Epidendrum magnoliae (syn. Epi. conopseum)

    This diminutive epiphyte is the most far-ranging epiphytic orchid in the United States, growing along the Gulf coast into western Louisiana, skipping Texas and then re-emerging in eastern Mexico. To the east, it ranges up the Atlantic coast into North Carolina. In Florida, it ranges down about three-quarters of the way into the peninsula, but is generally not seen south of Lake Okeechobee. It usually grows in close association with resurrection fern (<i>Polypodium polypodioides</i>) on various species of trees, including live oak (<i>Quercus virginiana</i>), eastern red cedar (<i>Juniperus virginiana</i>), bald cypress (<i>Taxodium distichum</i>), and southern magnolia (<i>Magnolia grandiflora</i>).

    Apparently, the first botanical description of this orchid was in association with the last of the trees mentioned above. The priority of that description was somehow lost and the name <i>Epidendrum conopseum</i>, published two weeks later, became the recognized name for this species. It was only within the last few years that this mistake has been remedied.

    The species is divided into two subspecies, ssp. magnoliae tends to be more northerly, has much smaller canes (reaching lengths of 3-4 inches with 3-4 leaves at most) and smaller flower counts (between 3 and 12 flowers per spike). The southern variant, ssp. mexicanum, occurs in Mexico and in central-southern Florida. It has canes that can be 10 inches or more tall with 8 or 9 leaves and flower counts that can range up into the 30's.

    The small, green flowers range from 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter, are usually green on the lip and petals and range from greenish to reddish brown on the sepals depending on light levels. The opening beneath the column is usually ringed with purple. The flowers become intensely fragrant at night. Flower spikes usually emerge from the leaf axils during the late spring to early summer, but a separate growth that is just a spike can emerge in late summer through early winter.

    These plants are reasonably easy to cultivate, but must be kept in balance between two competing elements...their roots like to stay somewhat moist, perhaps a little drier than one would keep a Phalaenopsis, but the plant itself can succumb to rots easily. I tend to fertilize very lightly and have found that fertilizing at the same strength as regular orchids tends to burn root tips. Roots seem to respond well to hormone treatments, such as superthrive and rootone, branching much more frequently than in the wild. Light levels should be kept to that of a Cattleya...a bit of a reddish suffusion on the leaves is a good indicator of adequate light. These orchids are quite cold tolerant, able to withstand winter temperatures down into the upper teens and lower 20's Fahrenheit, although plants grown in greenhouses tend to do just as well at more even temperatures.

    Pictured below is an Epidendrum magnoliae ssp. magnoliae collected from a fallen branch in a friend's yard in Wakulla County, Florida.



  2. #2
    Heather is offline Banned
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    That was quite the novel there, Prem, very interesting! I love that you just collected it in someone's yard! Lol, thank goodness we cannot do that here, my house would be full up!

  3. #3
    Forrest is offline Senior Member
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    very nice Prem.

  4. #4
    LJA's Avatar
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    That's beautiful, Prem! What a cool looking flower. And thanks too for all the info about it!

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