Ludisia discolor
Anoechtochilus formosum

The Ill-Named "Ground Orchids"- Part 3- Jewel Orchids

In this article I'll look at what I call the "real" terrestrial orchids, obligated to live in soil, and almost never found on trees. These orchids in many aspects quite delicate, often growing well in terrariums, not suited for landscape culture anywhere but in their native habitat. One of the many neat aspects of these gorgeous little plants is their slow growth rate, and the fact they'll never get of of control (unlikely in your lifetime).

Macodes petola / javanica

Sarchoglottis sceptrodes
courtesy of EFG orchids

Goodyera pubescens- native species

Goodyera pubescens - native species

There are numerous genera and species in this group, with one of the group being native to this country, the Rattlesnake Plantain, Goodyera pubescens. This can be grown as a landscape plant in its native habitat in the coastal eastern states, but would be considered difficult in cultivation in containers. Many geographic areas have Jewel Orchids, but southeast Asia is the mother lode, with some fabulous miniature species. One of the most enchanting is Macodes , which is well suited to terrarium or really-humid-greenhouse culture.

In the last few years several orchid growers have grown tissue-cultured Jewel Orchids, especially EFG Orchids in Deland, Florida. In fact they have grown numerous genera of terrestrial orchids, including Phaius, Calanthe, Phaiocalanthe, Macodes, Sarcoglottis ( the silver-leaf style of Jewel Orchids) and many others. These plants require shade, moisture, fresh air and high humidity. The results are beautiful foliage, some very ethereal flowers and a style of orchid growing unlike any other.

Craig Morell
Pinecrest Gardens

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