Mid-July last year George’s glorious Stanhopea stevensonii orchid bloomed for the first time. An epiphytic (plants that grow on other plants rather than rooting in soil) species orchid native to Colombia, each flower spike produces two large flowers. This year there are SIX flower spikes, and the first opened this morning!
The rest of the flower spikes, in varying stages, should open over the next week.
You can see why they’re sometimes called upside-down orchids: the flower spikes grow downward and the flowers open facing down.
A wonderful passage from Robert Lauri’s blog, Stanhopea Culture, describes the elusive scent: “The fragrance of this Stanhopea is difficult to describe and smells sweet but rather chemical-like. The fragrance is similar to sweet grass with trace amounts of fresh pine needles.” The strong scent helps attract its pollinator, the male euglossine bee, to the flower because it doesn’t bloom for long.
This is a video of George showing and talking about the orchid.