Yellow Orchids

Sophrolaeliocattleya Golden Acclaim 'Richella' Orchid
Sophrolaeliocattleya Golden Acclaim 'Richella'

Hi everyone! Today I decided to show you a selection of the yellow orchids that have already bloomed on the balcony of the apartment. Curiously, most of them are hybrid orchids, a category I confess to appreciate very much. Still, I miss some more species in my collection.

Let´s get started with Sophrolaeliocattleya Golden Acclaim 'Richella', a compact yellow orchid with relatively large flowers. Since its arrival at the apartment, it has been blossoming uninterruptedly, several times a year. In addition, this orchid is usually very generous, being able to emit up to 5 flowers in the same pseudobulb.

Also in this yellow coloring, we have the famous dancing ladies orchids, very popular within the public in general. In this category I would like to mention Oncidium Aloha 'Iwanaga', Oncidium Twinkle 'Yellow Fantasy' and Oncidium pumilum, now Lophiaris pumila.

Oncidium Twinkle 'Yellow Fantasy' Orchid
Oncidium Twinkle 'Yellow Fantasy'

Another yellow orchid worth mentioning is Potinara Burana Beauty 'Burana', quite floriferous and showy. This is another hybrid that usually blooms more than once a year. Here in the apartment, it adapted very well, presenting a vigorous growth. The only problem is that it is a frequent victim of pests, especially scales.

I have controlled infestations of this kind with manual removal and by spraying them with a water solution with cooking oil and neutral liquid detergent.

Potinara Burana Beauty 'Burana' Orchid
Potinara Burana Beauty 'Burana'

This hybrid orchid of the genus Cymbidium, represented in the photo below, have flowers in a very soft yellow coloration, almost cream, depending on the light. The contrasting wine lip is very charming.

Hybrid Cymbidium orchid

Of course, talking about Orchids in Apartment, we should present a yellow micro orchid. The Masdevallia Angel Frost bellow is a miniature hybrid, quite delicate, with exotic and elegant blooms. This plant enjoys mild climates, shaded locations, with plenty of moisture. For this reason, its survival on the balcony of the apartment is often at risk.

Masdevallia Angel Frost Orchid
Masdevallia Angel Frost

Finally, a yellow orchid that is not very assiduous here in the apartment, but which deserves to be mentioned. It is Dendrobium Stardust 'Chiyomi', a hybrid that also exists in other colors. Due to my difficulty in applying a water stress, a procedure that consists in reducing watering during the winter, I usually spend a few years without seeing the flowering of this orchid.

Luckily, in the year 2016, this beautiful yellow orchid showed up and ended up appearing in a prestigious Brazilian newspaper, O Estado de São Paulo.

Dendrobium Stardust 'Chiyomi' Orchid
Dendrobium Stardust 'Chiyomi'

Certainly, this is not a complete list of yellow orchids, since I have a fair small collection. But this is a flower color I admire a lot and it is a pleasure to show you a few of them. Over time, I intend to acquire some other orchids and, if all goes well, I return to increase this compilation.

A translation of this article to Portuguese can be read in the link: Orquídeas Amarelas.

The Chocolate Orchid - Oncidium Sharry Baby

Chocolate orchid - Oncidium Sharry Baby 'Sweet Fragrance'
Oncidium Sharry Baby 'Sweet Fragrance'

From the moment I became interested in orchids, I started to spend months researching and studying them, having the internet as my main source of information. It was only after a long time that I had the opportunity to meet them in person at an exhibition. The first thing that amazed me was the variety of perfumes all those different orchids could exhale.

Among them, a particular micro orchid caught my attention. It was an Oncidium and its perfume could be smelled at distance, filling the whole room. It was a sweet aroma, which reminded me that of white chocolate. Some people mention vanilla (which, by the way, is extracted from another orchid). It was love at first sight. From this moment, I began to evaluate the orchid perfume as one of the requirements for deciding on new acquisitions.

Unfortunately, this orchid with its unmistakable aroma does not exist in nature. It was created by humans, by means of various crosses between different species of orchids. Its scientific name is Oncidium Sharry Baby 'Sweet Fragrance', being popularly known as chocolate orchid.

It is very common to see the name of this chocolate orchid written in different forms. Although the term that comes to mind is cherry, the correct registered version is sharry. The justification for this strange name is in the head of the cultivator who created the hybrid. It is up to him to register it properly, following the nomenclature rules for new botanical cultivars. For some reason, the creator of the orchid with chocolate aroma decided to baptize it Oncidium Sharry Baby 'Sweet Fragrance'.

This chocolate orchid is a hybrid whose parents are Oncidium Jamie Sutton and Oncidium Honolulu. It is a relatively new orchid and it was registered in 1983 by Dorothy A. O'Flaherty at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), a British entity officially responsible for the registration of new hybrids of orchids and other plants produced around the world.

Oncidium Sharry Baby is an orchid descended from Oncidium sotoanum, also known as Oncidium ornithorhynchum. This mexican orhid is also one of the progenitors of Oncidium Twinkle 'Yellow Fantasy', which can also be found in other colors, all of them are very fragrant.

It is curious to notice that the perfume of Oncidium ornithorhynchum is quite controversial. Some people like it, but most hate it. Undoubtedly, it is a strong and striking aroma. I feel the scent of egg, others think it smells like medicine. Who knows what happens… The descendants of Oncidium ornithorhynchum, on the other hand, usually have a more pleasant perfume.

Chocolate Orchid - Oncidium Sharry Baby 'Sweet Fragrance'
Oncidium Sharry Baby 'Sweet Fragrance'

Extremely generous, the Oncidium Sharry Baby orchid can develop numerous floral stems, usually filled with small flowers measuring approximately 2 cm in diameter. A stem can hold more than 70 flowers, which enhances the scent of this orchid with chocolate aroma, strongly emphasizing its presence in any environment, especially indoors.

The number of flowers and floral stems that a chocolate orchid can produce varies accordingly to three factors. First, the age of the plant. The more mature the orchid, the more pseudobulbs the plant possesses, and the better and more abundant will be its flowering. The other two crucial factors are light and fertilizers.

The long leaves of this particular orchid are cause for concern and controversy. Here in Brazil, invariably, they have several black spots, especially on the extremities. Many beginners think that it is a serious disease and even discard the plant after flowering. However, this is a common feature of this hybrid orchid, which does not compromise its development. It continues to grow and bloom normally, despite the spots. The main drawback of this feature is aesthetic. Some orchid growers claim it to be a virus, others report that the phenomenon occurs in environments with excess light. I have never seen an Oncidium Sharry Baby orchid without spots. I think it's charming.

Oncidium Sharry Baby does not have a specific season to bloom. Due to its hybrid nature, it can flower at different times in the year. When well cultivated, the chocolate orchid can bloom more than once a year. Like most orchids of its genus, this orchid appreciates places with plenty of indirect light. The substrate should be composed of materials that dry quickly, as the plant does not tolerate wet roots.

The combination of materials I use to grow the chocolate orchid, here in the apartment, is the plastic pot filled with mixed substrate, composed of pine bark and charcoal. Eventually, I add a little amount of moss sphagnum to the material, so that the moisture is retained for longer periods of time. However, it is important not to compress it around the roots. As always, watering should only happen when the substrate is dry and the vessel is light weighted.

Although I have already killed some of these chocolate orchids, I must mention that it is an orchid considered easy to grow. I have already obtained beautiful blooms inside my bedroom, using the windowsill as the main place of cultivation. Which means that this chocolate orchid does not require intense light to bloom.

For those who enjoy delicate and fragrant orchid flowers, arranged in long stems in the form of nice cascades, this Oncidium Sharry Baby is an excellent acquisition.

This article can also be read in Portuguese: Orquídea Chocolate.

The controversial Denphal orchid

Denphal orchid
Denphal orchid

These beautiful flowers in different colors, arranged around elegant stems that rise above hard cane shaped pseudobulbs, make this hybrid orchid, popularly known as Denphal, a case of success among orchid lovers. The Denphal orchid can be found in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Its flowering presents a good durability, lasting for some months. Its popularization made it possible to find this orchid everywhere, from elegant flower shops to garden centers and grocery stores. 

However, many still have doubts about who is, in fact, the Denphal orchid. In this article, I try to clarify some myths regarding this hybrid orchid. 

Known by everyone as Denphal or Denphalen, this poor orchid is the victim of a series of misunderstandings and polemics. The fusion of the prefixes 'Den' and 'Phal' leads many to believe that it is a hybrid resulting from the cross between Dendrobium and Phalaenopsis. However, this is not true. Due to the large genetic differences between these two genera of orchids, it could never be possible to exist a viable descendant of this mixture.

Denphal orchid
Denphal orchid

The unfortunate nickname arose due to the fact that Denphal is an orchid with the vegetative aspect of a typical Dendrobium, with the cane-shaped pseudobulbs. On the other hand, it also produces a flowering reminiscent of that the Phalaenopsis orchid presents, composed of a long stem bearing moth-shaped flowers.

However, nobody is obliged to know that it is impossible to cross Dendrobium with Phalaenopsis. It’s a technical matter. Besides that, the name Denphal does not help to clarify this polemic.

The fact is that the Denphal orchid is simply a hybrid Dendrobium. To increase the confusion, the main species of Dendrobium in the genealogy of most of the hybrids known as Denphal is Dendrobium phalaenopsis, described in 1880. Yes, there is a native species with this name! Subsequently, they changed its classification to Dendrobium bigibbum.

To summarize all this confusion, the important thing is to know that Denphal is not the result of the crossing between Dendrobium and Phalaenopsis. Also, it does not refer to the species Dendrobium phalaenopsis described in the nineteenth century.

Denphal is only a mixture of several species, with a strong participation of Dendrobium bigibbum. The term Denphal is very popular among the consumers and is widely used among orchid traders. 

Many orchid enthusiasts refuse even to admit that there is a Denphal orchid. The fact is that this is a popular name, as well as 'doll eye orchid', the nickname of another hybrid Dendrobium (nobile related) quite common in the Brazilian market. Ignoring popular names and staying on a pedestal only makes it more difficult to disseminate information about orchids among the general public. It only harms sales and complicates the communication between lovers of these beautiful flowers.

Denphal orchid
Denphal orchid

The flowers of the Denphal orchids that illustrate this article are a result of the opening of some buds I’ve been watching for a few months. Unlike most orchids, whose floral buds resemble American footballs, those of the genus Dendrobium have a peculiar shape, which reminds me an abstract sculpture.

There are a Portuguese version of this article here: Orquídea Denphal.