We are fortunate to have the first bloom of a seedling of the very rare West Sydney variety of the well-known Australian species, Dockrillia teretifolia (Dendrobium teretifolium). This variety is thought to be extinct in the wild, and was “re-discovered” at Santa Barbara Orchid Estate by a visiting orchidologist.
As the story was told to us, the visiting Australian orchid specialist was perusing their extensive Dockrillia collection, most originally collected or obtained by Paul Gripp many decades ago. In the collection, he identified not one, but two plants, of the West Sydney variety of Dockrillia teretifolia (Dendrobium teretifolium). This variety is believed to no longer exist in the wild, presumably due to habitat loss in the expansive sprawl of the city of Sydney.
The folks at Santa Barbara Orchid Estate proceeded to make an outcross from the two plants, and send seed back to Australia. The seedling photographed here is the result of that cross, one of a few they had available for sale.
This is one of those seedlings for which you have to be a lover and dedicated collector of orchids to wish to purchase. Truly just a couple of drooping terete leaves in a 2″ pot with granite. We placed the 2″ pot in a larger pot and filled with hydroton — a successful culture method that we use for Dockrillia species. While many do well with bare roots in more humid conditions, our hotter, dried summers favor a more enclosed growing environment.
We looked at the little terete leaves for a couple years, saw a few roots grow, and hoped. To my joy and surprise, the seedling flowered in 2020, with this large, crisp white flower spike.
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