October 8, 2010

Lepanthes niesseniae

This miniature species is from Columbia.  It grows about 5-6 cm tall and has flowers that are quite large for Lepanthes, a little less than 1 cm in size.  The single leaves are held on wiry stems and the flowers arise from the base of the leaf on short, thread-like spikes.   Under good light the leaves are have a reddish color with darker veining, forming a very attractive little clump..

Lepanthes belongs to a genus of orchids called Pleurothallids, many of them high altitude plants.  This plant, therefore, does best in cooler temperatures and high humidity and since it continues to produces flowers from the same leaf it is almost always in bloom.  The plant was described for the first time and is named for Andrea Niessen, a Colombian collector and grower.

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