February 12, 2013

Angraecum cf. breve

My Angraecum breve is in bloom again, this time with two flowers.  It had one flower last year and I pollinated that and harvested the pod just a few weeks ago, but I had worried that holding a seed pod for a year would weaken the plant and that it wouldn't bloom this year.  To my surprise it started two spikes.

The plant is a micro-miniature, a little fan of patterned leaves 4 cm (1.5 in.) across.  The star-shaped flower is 3 cm (1 in. plus) in size and the spur is over 10 cm long (approx. 4.5 in.) when the flower opens and it is fully uncurled.  The sepals are greenish when first open but soon fade to a lovely crystalline white.

Once again I took photos at different stages of the flowers' development.  The flower's coiled spur I find particularly charming when it is first tightly curled beneath the flower and then also as it begins to uncurl.  Very early on in its development the nectar is already visible in the spur, which is nearly transparent.

Developing Buds

Newly Opened Flowers

Mature Flowers

I received the following note from a friend: "I should tell you that your plant and the others that have come out of Madagascar recently under the name of Angraecum breve don't match the description for the species, so until the taxonomists can work out what this different, wonderful species is, it might be good to include 'cf.' in the name e.g. Angraecum cf. breve or just Angraecum sp. 'breve'."

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