The Botanical Orchids
"B" & "D"

Bifrenaria

As far as the flower and form of the plants in genus Bifrenaria are concerned, they bear close resemblance to Anguloa and Lycaste. The pseudo bulbs of Bifrenaria orchids are firm, have a conical shape and each of them have a solitary large, broad, leathery and very closely veined leaf at their apex. The stems are short and arise from the bottom of the pseudo bulbs.

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Each stem carries anything between one and five dense, waxy blooms, which bear resemblance to those of cymbidiums. Bifrenaria plants flourish when grown in a coarse bark mixture and they bear the best flowers when they are grown in pots.

You need to provide these plants with intermediate to warm temperatures and they need bright light. At the same time, you should water the plants and feed them regularly till their growth is complete. Subsequently, provide the plants with drier and cooler conditions till new growth appears again.

Bifrenaria harrisoniae

The leaves of Bifrenaria harrisoniae grow up to a length of 12 inches and they are 5 inches in width. The ivory or greenish yellow flowers of this orchid species appear in inflorescence, which carry one or two blooms. The individual flowers measure about 3 inches across and color of their lip may vary from rose to red.

Some plants in this species bear flowers with a rosy suffusion; while there is a rare form whose flowers are pure white. The flowers appear in spring and are highly fragrant.

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Bifrenaria tetragona

The flowers of Bifrenaria tetragona are smaller compared to the blooms of B. harrisoniae. The flowers are green and deeply suffused with brown. Orchids in this species are in bloom in summer.

Bifrenaria tyrianthina

The flowers of this orchid species are larger than the blooms of B. harrisoniae to some extent. They have a pinkish purple hue and towards the center the color becomes baler. The lip of Bifrenaria tyrianthina flowers also has a pinkish purple color. The plants are in bloom in spring.

Bulbophyllum

Bulbophyllum is a very large orchid genus that comprises more than 1,000 species; many of them are greatly diverse in size, appearance and their place of origin. You will find orchids belonging to this genus growing in all the continents.

However, most Bulbophyllum orchids have their origin either in East Asia or Indonesia. Generally, these orchids have a preference for intermediate to warm temperatures and they need intense, diffused light. The pseudo bulbs of some orchids in this genus are compactly clustered, while others have long, thin rhizomes usually having a scattered growth.

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Similarly, some orchids bear large and scented flowers, while there are others whose flowers are diminutive and they smell awful - somewhat like a dead animal. Nearly all the flowers have a lip that is movable as well as hinged. The flowers of these orchids may be large and also solitary.

On the other hand, some plants may bear closely set flowers on plump spikes. Some plants produce slender flowers that spread out outward from the upper part of the stalk - something similar to the ray flowers borne by a daisy. Sometimes, this last groups splits from its parent genus and are called Cirrhopetalum.

Bulbophyllum barbigerum

The pseudo bulbs of Bulbophyllum barbigerum are round, compactly clustered, measure about an inch in thickness. The leaves measure about 4 inches, while the inflorescence is about 8 inches in length. Each inflorescence carries about a dozen narrow-petaled, purple flowers, each measuring about an inch across.

The flowers have a projecting slender lip that is tipped with a thick tuft of fine hairs whose color varies from red to purple. These dense clumps of fine hairs flutter even in the slightest breeze.

Bulbophyllum graveolens (Cirrhopetalum graveolens)

The pseudo bulbs of Bulbophyllum graveolens, also known as Cirrhopetalum graveolens, are about 3 inches wide and they produce 18-inch leaves at their apex. The inflorescence is wheel-shaped and is composed of long, slender yellowing green hued flowers having purplish red lips.

Bulbophyllum imbricatum

You may grow this orchid species not for its beauty, but for the peculiarity of the plant. The flower stalk of Bulbophyllum imbricatum grows up to a height of 5 inches and is densely covered having deep purplish bracts similar to scales, making them look like a slender lizard. The flowers are minute and have a dark purple color. The flowers appear from beneath the bracts a few at one time. However, the flowers are not outstanding, but they appear continuously.

Bulbophyllum lobbii

Bulbophyllum lobbii orchids produce clusters of pseudo bulbs, each measuring about 2 inches in length. Each pseudo bulb produces a solitary flower on a stem that grows up to a height of 6 inches. The individual flowers are yellow with brown stripes and have an odd shape.

The flowers measure 4 inches across each and are fragrant as well as long lasting. The oddity of the flowers is that the tall dorsal sepal as well as the lateral sepals sweeps outward, downward and finally toward the stalk. The plants are in bloom in spring and summer.

Bulbophyllum longiflorum (Cirrhopetalum umbellatum)

The pseudo bulbs of Bulbophyllum longiflorum, also known as Cirrhopetalum umbellatum, are clumped together and they produce leaves measuring 3 ½ inches in length. The inflorescence is about 8 inches in length and at its top they bear a half circle of flowers whose color varies from cream to yellow and have red spots.

The lip of the flower is dark red. In fact, the inflorescence of this orchid species can measure about 4 inches in diameter. The plants are in bloom in fall and winter.

Bulbophyllum macranthum

The pseudo bulbs of Bulbophyllum macranthum measure about an inch in length and they produce succulent leaves measuring about 10 inches in length. Each flower stalk carries a solitary flower measuring about 2 ½ inches across. The petals of the flowers are dark red with deeper red speckles, while the sepals may be green or yellow. The lip of this orchid flower is minuscule.

Bulbophyllum medusae (Cirrhopetalum medusae)

The inflorescence of Bulbophyllum medusae, also known as Cirrhopetalum medusae, is actually a mop head growing up to 5 inches in length. The sepals are straw-colored and trail somewhat like the tentacles of a jellyfish. These orchids are in bloom in fall and in winter.

Bulbophyllum ornatissimum (Cirrhopetalum ornatissimum)

The pseudo bulb of Bulbophyllum ornatissimum, also known as Cirrhopetalum ornatissimum, is 2-inch long and it produces leaves measuring 6 inches in length. The flowering stalks are just a little longer compared to the leaves and each carry three yellow flowers having purple markings. The individual flowers measure about 4 inches across. The lateral petals of this orchid actually give the flowers their length, as the other parts of the flower are really small.


The Botanical Orchids
"D"

Dendrochilum

The orchids in this genus are of small size and they are generally grown for their elegant carriage as well as enjoyable fragrance. The plants are small, but packed together and attractive. The pseudo bulbs produce a couple of leaves at their apex.

The flowering spikes are long and can be arching or trailing. They comprise loosely set minute flowers creating a necklace or chain effect. You may grow many flowering plants in a small pot affecting a cascade of bloom. These orchids flourish well in bright light and intermediate temperatures.

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Dendrochilum cobbianum

The leaves of Dendrochilum cobbianum orchid grows up to a length of a foot. The flowering spikes are arching and subsequently drooping and may grow up to a length of about 20 inches. Each flowering spike bears several dozens of white or greenish white blooms having an orange yellow hued lip. The individual flowers measure about ¾ inch to 1 inch across. This orchid species is in bloom in any season.

Dendrochilum filiforme

Plants belonging to the Dendrochilum filiforme species are similar to those of D. cobbianum, but they produce very thin flowering spikes, each of which carries about 100 little yellow blooms. The plants are in bloom in summer and again in fall.

Dendrochilum glumaceum

Dendrochilum glumaceum orchid species bears resemblance to those in the D. cobbianum species. However, Dendrochilum glumaceum plants have large bracts among partially closed white blooms having orange yellow lips. These plants are in bloom in fall.

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Dendrochilum uncatum

The orchids belonging to Dendrochilum uncatum are miniature versions of D. filiforme species. The inflorescences of this species have a straw yellow hue and grow up to a length of 4 inches. The leaves too measure 4 inches in length. These plants bear flowers twice a year – once in summer and again in fall.

Dendrochilum wenzelii

The leaves of Dendrochilum wenzelii orchids grow up to a length of 8 inches and measure about ¼ inch wide. The inflorescence is crowded with tiny flowers, each measuring 3/8 inch across. Usually the flowers of this orchid species are red; many plants may bear yellow, brown or orange flowers. The plants are in bloom in winter.

Disa uniflora

This orchid genus comprises more than 100 species or African origin. Among these terrestrial species only the species D. uniflora (also known as D. grandiflora) is seen and that too very rarely. The original habitat of these orchids is the stream banks close to Cape Town. Occasionally, it is also referred to as the "pride of Table Mountain". The plants of this species grow up to a height of anything between 6 inches to 2 feet and just one to three (seldom more) flowers. The individual flower measures about 4 inches across. The flowers have a triangular form, while the sepals are hooded and have an orange red hue with strongly bright red veins.

The color of the lateral sepals is bright red, while the petals and the lips are unremarkable. It is not easy to grow Disa uniflora orchids as the plants demand plenty of water, rich soil and appropriate temperature. These plants require cool temperatures and soils that are free draining, growing medium whose pH level between neutral and acid and based on peat or sand.

Moreover, the water you provide these orchids should not contain any mineral salt and be neutral to acid. Nevertheless, several hobbyists have achieved success in growing Disa uniflora in coarse sand employing hydroponic techniques.

Dracula

As the name of this orchid genus suggests, often these plants appear to be threatening, or if not threatening, they are certainly bizarre. The most prominent part of the flowers of this genus is the triangle created by their three sepals. While the points lead to long trails, the color of the flowers has a tendency to be muted as well as mottled.

At the same time, the texture of the flowers may be shaggy or warty and the blooms may have hairs. The petals are tiny and ridiculous, to some extent appearing similar to eyes peer out from the depth of the blooms. The lip is inflated and it bears resemblance to the nose of a menacing clown.

Earlier, these orchids belonged to the genus Masdevallia and they were grown under common conditions. Nevertheless, in spite of their ability to endure heat better, the Dracula orchids are very finicky. These orchids require shade, cool temperatures and high level of humidity along with excellent air circulation.

In addition, they need moisture constantly, but not sogginess. Interestingly enough, the species in genus Dracula do not have pseudo bulbs. The flowering stalks grow directly from the rhizome. Ideally, you should grow the plants in this species in an open, loose growing medium in wire baskets or slatted wood, as this will allow the flowers to emerge from the bottom or the sides. In fact, beginners should never try to grow draculas as these orchids are really difficult to cultivate.

Dracula chimaera (Masdevallia chimaera)

The leaves of Dracula chimaera (also known as Masdevallia chimaera) orchid have a leathery texture and grow up to a length of 10 inches and 2 inches in width, while the inflorescence grows up to a length of about 10 inches.

The individual flowers of this orchid species are about 6 inches across, but the individual sepals have a 6-inch tail at its end, which makes it about 12 inches to 15 inches in length. The flowers have a buff hue and are closely spotted in maroon, in addition to having maroon tails. The whole flower is sheathed with fine hairs as well as warty growths. The flowering season of this orchid is changeable.

Dracula erythrochaete

The plants of Dracula erythrochaete have a relatively less threatening appearance compared to those belonging to D. chimaera. The flowers of this orchid species measures about an inch in width, and each sepal has a 2-inch tail at its terminal. The color of the flower is creamy white, and it deepens to pinkish or greyish shades having maroon dots near the center. The tails have a reddish brown hue. Plants in this orchid species are in bloom more than a few times every year.

Dracula vampire

The flower stalks of Dracula vampire are drooping and each carries yellowish white to yellowish green flowers with brownish black stripes along the edges of the sepals. The individual flowers are large and may measure about a foot in diameter.

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