Sexing Up Sarcoglottis

The Sarcoglottis sceptrodes I got from Al's in January was just starting to bloom when I picked it up. Then it kept starting to bloom. It kept starting to bloom so high I had to rearrange the plant so the flower spike could ascend two and a half feet or so through two shelves on my metal shelving unit. Once the flowers opened, I was less impressed with the plant. I mean, the individual flowers are okay and all, but they're green and small, and there aren't enough of them on the inflorescence to make a statement.

See? Nice stripes and all, but the colour doesn't distinguish it well enough from the rest of the plant, to be honest. Plus, some of the leaves died back after I removed the plant from a more congenial environment (Al's greenhouse), so it's not even that pretty below, either.

And yet, I decided to pollinate them. I ripped one flower off and opened it up to figure out how pollination works with these orchids. It's pretty easy--an insect (or The Indoor Garden(er)'s exploratory forefinger) approaches a flower, and a sticky thing attaches to whatever surface it touches. That sticky thing holds the anthers and pollen, which slides into a slot below a fold in another flower to pollinate it. So I grabbed a few sticky things and slid them in and out of the slots in the flowers. Almost immediately, I noticed the tips of the flowers withering--it's a sign of "something happened, probably fertilization." Or, at least, attempted fertilization. A lot of orchids do things like this, I believe, to inhibit fertilization or to prevent insects from trying to fertilize them again. They got what they wanted, they don't need any more pollen! I was initially heartened by the fact that most of the flowers hadn't entirely fallen off--if fertilization had been unsuccessful, I would imagine the withering would extend beyond just the petal region. But then it did. Now, all of these flowers have browned and seemingly dry-rotted off the spike. What teases!

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2 Responses to Sexing Up Sarcoglottis

  1. I read what you wrote and can not all well-translated Google Translate, but you admire. I would never attempt such a thing to do. Let your attempts ended in August successfully. Yours

  2. Thank you, Giga! I understand that Google Translate wouldn't work so well with my blog--I have an awkward tendency to make words up or use less obvious ones for whatever reason.


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