Thursday, 1 August 2013

Vanda Royal Blue

Vanda Royal Blue
Vanda coerulea was first described in 1847 by John Lindley  from the description of a blue orchid found in the Khasia Hills of Assam by William Griffiths. It is a striking species with large, flat, vivid blue, long-lasting flowers. It is greatly prized by growers who have used it extensively in breeding to produce deep blue and purple hybrids.

The striking blue flowers of Vanda coerulea are its most recognisable characteristic, with blue pigmentation only seen elsewhere in this genus in V. coerulescens, V. tessellata, and V. testacea. The leaves are leathery and strap-like and attached to prominent leaf sheaths (part of leaf stalk that covers and rises up from the stem). The flowers are around 13 cm across and notable for their small lip (labellum), approximately 2 cm in length, an unusual characteristic for this genus, shared only with the similarly pigmented, closely related, but much smaller flowered, V. coerulescens. The flower spikes of V. coerulea are occasionally branched, and bear more flowers than is usual in this genus (20–30 per plant, on multiple flower spikes). All characteristics plus the species’ cold tolerance (due to the elevation of its native habitat) make it highly desirable to orchid hybridisers. Pink and white forms also occur in nature – the white forms being the most pure white flowers found in the genus.

Info: Kew Gardens

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