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ORCHID SPECIES CULTURE Charles and Margaret Baker Psychopsis papilio (Lindley) H. G. Jones AKA: Oncidium papilio Lindley, Psychopsis picta Rafinesque. The name Oncidium papilio Lindley var. kramerianum (Rchb. f.) Lindley is now considered a synonym of Psychopsis krameriana Rchb. f. The name Psychopsis papilio is generally accepted, but growers and some taxonomists still use the earlier name Oncidium papilio. ORIGIN/HABITAT: Trinidad, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. In Venezuela, plants are found the northern Provinces of Carabobo, Lara, Mérida, Miranda, and Trujillo at 2600-3900 ft. (800-1200 m). Dunsterville & Garay (1961) stated that this species grows in fairly tall, dense forest at 1500 ft. (460 m) in Guatopo. They indicated that the species is generally widespread, but it is not common in the lower, drier parts of the coastal range forests. CLIMATE: Station #80413, Maracay, Venezuela, Lat. 10.3N, Long. 67.6W, at 1468 ft. (447 m). Temperatures are calculated for an elevation of 3300 ft. (1000 m), resulting in probable extremes of 93F (34C) and 44F (7C). N/HEMISPHERE JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC F AVG MAX 82 84 85 84 82 80 80 80 82 82 84 82 F AVG MIN 57 58 58 64 64 64 62 62 62 62 60 58 DIURNAL RANGE 25 26 27 20 18 16 18 18 20 20 24 24 RAIN/INCHES 0.3 0.4 0.0 1.0 4.1 5.9 5.2 7.9 5.3 3.3 1.6 1.0 HUMIDITY/% 70 66 62 66 74 77 79 81 80 78 76 74 BLOOM SEASON * * ** ** *** ** *** *** *** ** ** * DAYS CLR @ 7AM 14 10 9 4 3 2 8 6 5 9 4 9 RAIN/MM 8 10 0 25 104 150 132 201 135 84 41 25 C AVG MAX 27.8 28.9 29.4 28.9 27.8 26.8 26.7 26.7 27.8 27.8 28.9 27.8 C AVG MIN 13.9 14.4 14.4 17.8 17.8 17.8 16.6 16.6 16.6 16.6 15.5 14.4 DIURNAL RANGE 13.9 14.5 15.0 11.1 10.0 9.0 10.1 10.1 11.2 11.2 13.4 13.4 S/HEMISPHERE JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN Cultural Recommendations: LIGHT: 1800-2500 fc. Plants may tolerate higher light levels if high humidity and strong air movement are provided. TEMPERATURE: Summer days average 80F (27C), and nights average 62-64F (17-18C), with a diurnal range of 16-18F (9-10C). The wide range of distribution and habitat elevation suggest that plants should adapt to conditions 3-5F (2-3C) warmer than indicated. HUMIDITY: 75-80% during the growing season. WATER: Rainfall is moderate to heavy from late spring through early autumn. Cultivated plants should be watered often while actively growing, but successful growers indicate that plants need to dry out between waterings. In most growing areas, this means that plants should be watered every 2-3 days during the warmest days of summer. Mounted plants may need daily watering, and they may need several waterings a day in hot, dry weather. FERTILIZER: 1/4-1/2 recommended strength, applied weekly during periods of active growth. Many growers use a balanced fertilizer exclusively. Other growers use a fertilizer with lower nitrogen and higher phosphorus in autumn promotes better blooming the next season and allows new growths to mature before winter. REST PERIOD: Winter days average 82-84F (28-29C), and nights average 57-58F (14C), with a diurnal range of 24-26F (13-15C). The variation in habitat elevation indicates that plants should adapt to conditions 3-5F (2-3C) warmer than indicated. Winter rainfall is low for 4 months, indicating that water should be reduced but not eliminated in winter. High humidity and nightly cooling result in frequent and heavy deposits of dew, and even more water is available from mist, fog, and low clouds. Cultivated plants should dry out between waterings but should not be dry for long periods. In most growing areas, plant's should be watered every 2 weeks or so, and water is the most beneficial when clear, sunny weather. Occasional early morning mistings between waterings should keep plants adequately moist. Fertilizer should be reduced as long as water is reduced. GROWING MEDIA: Plants may be mounted on tree-fern or cork slabs if humidity is high and plants are watered at least once daily in summer. Several waterings a day may be necessary for mounted plants during very hot, dry weather. Because most growers find it difficult to keep mounted plants moist enough, they are usually grown in shallow pots or baskets using an open, fast-draining medium which contains materials that retain some moisture, such as chopped sphagnum or perlite, but dry fairly rapidly after watering. Charcoal is often added to help keep the medium open and prevent it from becoming sour. Repotting should be done only when necessary, and then only just as new root growth is starting to enable the plant to become reestablished in the shortest possible time. Our plants grow well in relatively small wire baskets, about 3 in. (7.5 cm) deep, that are lined with coconut fiber. The basket is then filled with a medium made from a mixture of fine- and medium-grade tree-fern fiber mixed with about 10% perlite and 10% charcoal. Most growers recommend using undersized pots that are just large enough to hold the roots. Others, however, with award winning plants, report using large, deep, plastic pots. When we purchased 2 comparably sized, fairly large seedlings about 2 years ago, one was placed in a basket that is 4 in. (10 cm) square while the other was placed in a basket about 5 in. (12 cm) square. This was not done through design or planned experiment on our part. The baskets used were simply ones that were already made up and available. Interestingly, the plant in the smaller basket has always grown better, has now filled the basket with multiple growths, and has produced 3 flower spikes this year. The other plant continues to live, but it makes only one growth a year and has not bloomed. We have concluded that for this particular species, smaller containers work best in our growing environment with our watering schedule. Each grower should experiment to find which combination of containers and medium work best in a particular growing area with their watering practices. MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The bloom season shown in the climate table is based on cultivation records. Confusion sometimes arises between this species and its close relative, Psychopsis krameriana. The plants may be differentiated by examining the upper portion of the flower stem. On Psychopsis papilio, the stem is wide and flattened compare to the round stem found on Psychopsis krameriana. Plant and Flower Information: PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A moderately sized, 7.5-11.0 in. (19-28 cm), sympodial epiphyte. PSEUDOBULBS: 1.5-2.0 in. (3.7-5.0 cm) tall. The pseudobulbs are oval to nearly round, tightly clustered, flattened, wrinkled, and often mottled dull red with darker blotches. LEAVES: 6-9 in. (15-23 cm) tall. One leaf is produced at the top of each pseudobulb. They are rigidly erect, dull green, and mottled or blotched with purplish red on both sides. INFLORESCENCE: 24-60 in. (61-152 cm) tall. A single flower spike per growth normally emerges from the base of recently matured pseudobulbs. Inflorescences are erect to arching and flattened in the upper portion where single flowers are produced in succession over a period of several months. During this time, the inflorescences continue to lengthen as new flowers are produced. The inflorescence should not be removed after flowering as it usually continues to elongate and produce additional blooms for several years. FLOWERS: 1 at a time. A well-grown plant may display several flowering inflorescences at the same time. Blossoms are 5-6 in. (13-15 cm) long and extremely long lasting. The dorsal sepal and petals are erect, dull reddish crimson, and frequently marked with a few yellow transverse stripes. The sickle-shaped, bright chestnut-red lateral sepals are wavy along the margins with occasional yellow markings. The large, expanded, 3-lobed lip is about 1.6 in. (4 cm) long and 1.4 in. (3.5 cm) wide. The sidelobes are rounded and small, the midlobe, which is broadly clawed, has a wavy margin that is irregularly notched with a deep notch at the apex. The yellow lip is marked with orange-brown or red-brown near the base and in a relatively wide, solid colored band around the edge of the midlobe. The callus is made up of 3 erect ridges on a fleshy plate, with the middle ridge much longer than the side ridges. The erect column has wings with fringed edges. There is an antennalike projection with a knoblike tip above the wings on each side of the column below the anther cap. The flattened upper portion of the inflorescence and the distinctive column-wings with their knob-tipped upper fimbriae are the easiest and quickest ways to differentiate Psychopsis papilio from other members of the genus. HYBRIDIZING NOTES: Chromosome count is 2n = 38. REFERENCES: Bechtel, H., P. Cribb, and E. Launert. 1980. Manual of cultivated orchid species. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. Braem, G. J. 1993. Studies in the Oncidiinae. Schlechteriana 4(1-2):8-29. Dunsterville, G., and E. Dunsterville. 1988. Orchid hunting in the lost world (and elsewhere in Venezuela). American Orchid Society, Inc., 6000 South Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33405, U. S. A. Dunsterville, G., and L. Garay. 1961. Venezuelan orchids illustrated, vol. 2. Orchid Herbarium of Oakes Ames, Botanical Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Foldats, E. 1970. Flora of Venezuela --Orchidaceae. Parts 1-6. Instituto Botanico, Direcdeion de recursos Naturales Renovables. Ministerio De Agricultura Y Cria. Caracas. Hamilton, R. 1988. When does it flower? 2nd ed. Robert M. Hamilton, 9211 Beckwith Road, Richmond, B. C., Canada V6X 1V7. Copyright 1997, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. Baker Sheet version 94436186 ......................................................................... Please remember that this sheet is for your use only, and though it was provided free of charge, it may not be reproduced or retransmitted in any way without permission. ......................................................................... __________________________________________________________________________ "Orchid Species Culture" Charles & Margaret Baker, Portland, Oregon USA Orchid Culture & Pollination site http://www.orchidculture.com email <email@example.com> __________________________________________________________________________ "Orchid Species Culture Vol. 1 - Pescatorea, Phaius, Phalaenopsis, Pholidota, Phragmipedium, Pleione" 250 pages of culture information. 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