Thursday, December 2, 2010
December is blooming season for quite a few orchids, including this beauty, Laelia anceps. I got the plant several years ago as a tiny seedling, and have been patiently waiting for it to mature and bloom. Day before yesterday it rewarded me with the first of two flowers on a stalk that would be almost 2 feet high above the plant were it not bent at a 90-degree angle from hitting the slatted bamboo shade covering that was above the shelf where it was growing. Before I noticed the spike, it had already hit the covering, turned around, and started growing toward the outside edge. The flowers are large and colorful, kind of a bright reddish lavender with slightly darker flares on the petals and a velvety dark magenta lip. The inside of the throat is decorated with a dramatic tracery of dark purple lines on a yellow background, all pointing inward as if toward a vanishing point, forming an extremely attractive landing strip for whatever insects would naturally pollinate the flowers.
Best of all, the flowers are fragrant, starting right from the day they open. It’s a light, sweet, moist, fruity fragrance, a bit like cut up peaches or apricots with a hint of iris - the real iris flower, not the perfumery note iris. Laelia anceps is a light, fruity floral scent that I can truly appreciate. It will be interesting to see how the fragrance develops over the next week or two.