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Amesiella monticola – Orchid with a bloom bigger than its plant.

By Norby Bautista

Orchid with a bloom bigger than its plant. By Norby Bautista Amesiella monticola is a unique

Amesiella monticola is a unique and rare Philippine orchid species, as it is a small plant but with a large white flower, much larger than the plant itself.

Its genus name, Amesiella, was named after Professor Oakes Ames, an American botanist who did a lot of work documenting and describing our Philippine orchids. On the other hand, species epithet monticola refers to the mountainous habitat where the orchid species lives. It is endemic here in our country, commonly in the mountainous region of Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija, at an elevation between 1,800 and 2,200 meters above sea level. Since it is an upland orchid, it prefers to grow in cool nurseries or gardens. Years before, the plant is usually sold by orchid dealers here in Metro

the plant is usually sold by orchid dealers here in Metro Amesiella monticola – An Orchid
the plant is usually sold by orchid dealers here in Metro Amesiella monticola – An Orchid

Manila, collected straight from the forests. However, nowadays, the plant is being grown by some of our local orchid breeders and gardeners which makes it available.

The plant has an upright, monopodial growth habit, similar to that of the Phalaenopsis or butterfly orchid. It is a small plant, about 2.5 cm tall by 16 cm across the two leaves. The leaves are leathery, oblong and bilobed at the tips. During its blooming period, it usually has 3 blooms with 5 flowers, each about 6 cm in diameter across, which is quite significantly larger that the plant.

The flowers are white in color, some with faint yellow to orange stripes in the labellum, with a 11 cm long nectary , similar to that of a mouse tail. The flowers are noticeably scented, especially in the evening, suggesting that its pollinators are probably insects arising at night.

For plant lovers who would be interested to grow this plant, here are some tips on how to cultivate it.

The plant is a shade-loving plant, thus partial shade or diffused light is to be provided, and prevent the plant from being exposed to direct noon sunlight or else its leaves will

be scorched.

afternoon sunlight. light.

Place the plant in a location where it will receive bright morning or late

The plant can be grown indoors, if supplied with a bright artificial

This plant will require a high humidity, thus, provide the plant with plenty of companion plants like ferns, Tillandsias or Bromeliads. Mist the plant occasionally and you may place its pot over a dish of water with pebbles to provide moisture. The plant will benefit from daily watering, but must be able to dry afterwards. Protect plants from too much rain.

Place the plant in an area with enough space in between plants and to allow air movement, like a slight breeze, to help dry the leaves between watering. Ocassional use of an electric fan to induce air movement in indoor gardens is beneficial.

The plant will also benefit from a weekly spray of dilute orchid fertilizer for optimum growth.

The Amesiella can be potted on clay or plastic pots, with charcoal and chopped coconut husks, or mounted in wooden slabs.

The plant is sensitive to rotting if excessively watered. A spray of fungicides like Dithane or Captan will prevent rotting during the rainy season. The plant is also sensitive to spider mites infestation, and sucking insects. A dilute spray of insecticides

and sucking insects. A dilute spray of insecticides Amesiella monticola – An Orchid with a bloom
and sucking insects. A dilute spray of insecticides Amesiella monticola – An Orchid with a bloom

like Sevin or Lanate can discourage insects. For slugs and snails, a molluscide bait can be used.

Amesiella can be propagated by keikis or anak, or if one has access to an orchid laboratory, its flowers can be pollinated to produce an orchid capsule with seeds. Orchid seeds are usually sown in a sterile flask with artificial culture medium through the process of orchid embryo culture. This is usually done in legitimate orchid conservation works.

The Amesiella monticola is a beautiful and elegant orchid to conserve and grow, a pride among plant lovers in the highlands of Nueva Vizcaya. It is worth saving through the country’s plant conservation efforts, and from these species stock, new miniature orchid hybrids can be bred.

species stock, new miniature orchid hybrids can be bred. Amesiella monticola – An Orchid with a
species stock, new miniature orchid hybrids can be bred. Amesiella monticola – An Orchid with a