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Thread: Maxillaria tenuifolia - what are their natural pollinators?

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  1. #1
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    Default Maxillaria tenuifolia - what are their natural pollinators?

    Hello Everyone,

    The Maxillaria tenuifolia that I bought from the recent orchid fair turns out its not as protective of its virtue as I originally thought.

    A little background:
    Sometime last week I noticed a couple of the flowers were wilting but in an unusual manner. When the other flowers wilt on this plant, the petals and sepals dry up slowly and the flower stem itself turns yellow and drops along with the flower. The two were not fading in the usual manner but appears to be getting petrified and turning black, and the flower stems stayed green.

    At first I thought that they might have been pollinated. Flowers usually wilt differently when pollinated compared to natural aging of the flowers.
    But I did not pollinate any of these flowers, and the entire plant looks healthy so this was a puzzle.

    Well, this morning I was checking the plant again and the two suspicious flowers were still attached but look burned to a crisp. One had the flower stem starting to turn yellow, but the other one's flower stem was still a healthy green and noticeably "plump".
    "Well, that answers that!" I thought to myself.

    So my questions are:
    1. Do Maxillaria tenuifolia flowers self pollinate? Or at least flowers on the same plant cross pollinate with each other?

    2. What are the target pollinators for this plant? We have a lot of bees from the adjacent orange grove visit my yard and pollinate our fruit trees for me, but they usually avoid my greenhouse (bees do not like the very warm conditions in my greenhouse). But perhaps the very strong coconut oil scent lured an errant bee inside?

    3. What other genera can maxillarias cross with? I doubt that any of my current bloomers would have been the pollen parent.
    I checked all open blooms (and yes even the 52 flowers on the Den. Blue Violetta) and none of them were emasculated. Unless some pollen got out without removing the pollinia? I'm not even sure thats possible.

    Maybe someone within the bees flight path is also growing some maxillarias in bloom.

    Anyway, since the pollen parent is an unknown I will be removing the fertilized ovary to allow the plant to direct all energy to growing.

    Of all the orchids out there, I bring home a tramp. tsk tsk.

  2. #2
    Real Name
    Bruce Brown
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    Quote Originally Posted by wetfeet101b View Post
    ...Of all the orchids out there, I bring home a tramp. tsk tsk.
    LOL. Maybe she is not a tramp, but just 'lonely'. Sounds like to me she wants some more Maxillaria company.

    I would guess you are right about the bee. That seems a very logical assumption.


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