Saturday, December 27, 2008

Orchid tags are important to me.

I got this plant about a year and a half ago. It was on the opportunity table at San Francisco. I collect Encyclia and it was a species name I knew I didn't have so I picked it up.

As plant tags go this one is perfectly readable. There was nothing I thought I was guessing about except where the award came from. Yet when I tried to find "Enc laterace" on OrchidSpecies.com there was nothing at all.

Ok, not unheard-of but unusual. OrchidSpecies.com adds species all the time and of course there is the whole Genus renaming situation to keep up with.

I looked at the species name and thought it looked odd. Perhaps it is a hybrid even though the first letter is lower case. Quite a common error. I checked the Royal Horticultural Society. Again nothing. The same for a straight Google.

It sat for a year in the greenhouse. I didn't add it to the collection inventory since plants must be identified for that. It bloomed and the inflorescence came from the base of mature pseudobulbs. I decided it wasn't an Encyclia at all.

I finally identified the plant when I got another one in trade. As soon as I saw the plant I knew they were the same, expecially with the "Emerald Gardens" name.

What happened? I don't know for sure. The only thing that makes sense is that the plant my division was taken from had an unreadable tag and the owner made their best guess when writing the new tag.

Epidendrum laterale grows in Costa Rica and Panama and into Colombia. It grows very tropical in humid, warm to hot conditions at low elevations. It is fragrant and the flowers are reasonably long lasting.

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