Pterigodium, Doubletail or Donkey Orchid

Comments to the offered plants:

Pterygodium catholicum is distibuted in the region east and west of Cape Town. The winters there are cool and wet, and summers are warm and dry. It can be found in sunny or slightly shaded places in bushland (fynbos). Plants produce three or more tubers and form dense colonies. In poor soils or deeper shade Pterygodium catholicum rarely flowers. Strong flowering plants are resticted to more fertile soils and places which have been burned the previous season. Therefore it needs regular fertilization in culture. Pterygodim catholicum shows medium sized greenish yellow to redish flowers which produced a strong pungent scent.

Seventeen species restricted to southern Africa and one species in Tanzania (H.P. Linder and H. Kurzweil, 1999).

Flower stems 10 to 150cm high, with one or several leaves. Depending on species with few or numerous flowers. Flowers are hooded and strongly scented. Pollinated by insects.

Pterygodium orchids are not difficult to grow. Most plants occur in the winter wet region of South Africa and are summer dormant and rest as round tuberoids. Plants emerge in late summer and flower in late winter, spring or early summer. Some other species are found in the summer rain region of south eastern Africa and are winter dormant. Regular watering during the growing period is essential. Culture as sunny as possible. Frost hardy up to -4°C. Fertilize monthly with 0.2g/l until flowering. Reduce watering with the onset of flowers and stop as the leaves die back. Completely dry during dormancy. Occasioally a light spray of water for small plants and seedlings to prevent dehydration.

Recommended potting mixes:
80% Seramis or fine to medium grade Perlite. 20% organic components. Favourable are fermented or N-impregnated wood shavings or wood fibre. No peat. Spagnum moss is suitable. Substrates have to be well draining with a pH of 5 to 6.

Further reading:
Wild orchids of Southern Africa
. J. Stuart, H.P. Linder, E.A. Schelpe, A.V.  Hall, 1982. Macmillan South  Africa.(Publishers)(Pty)Ltd. ISBN  0 86954  070  X.
Growing South African indigenous orchids. Karsten, B. Woodrich, 1997.Balkema ISBN 90 5410 650 6.
Orchids of Kenia. Joyce Stuart,  1996. St Pauls  Bibliographies,Winchester.ISBN 1 873040 28 8.
Orchids of Southern Africa. H.P. Linder and H. Kurzweil, 1999. A.A. Balkema/Rotterdam/Brookfield. ISBN 90 5410 4457.

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