I could not find a post on this forum about Stanhopea pollination, so I figured I would start one. My Stanhopea tigrina spiked recently and the flowers finally opened on April 3rd. I had heard that Stanhopea blooms are very short lived, a couple of days at most. These two blooms looked and felt like they were molded from plastic through at least April 5th and started looking more wilted on the 6th or 7th. They were certainly fragrant, an exotic overpoweringly sweet smell that I can best describe as cough syrup like (not really in a good way but not as strong as paper-whites). Unfortunately, photos cannot transmit touch or smell, but even the flowers themselves are best viewed in person - no still image does them justice.
< bud on April 2nd
I knew I wanted to take the opportunity to try to self the flowers, using pollen from one bloom on the other just in case that made any difference. A Google search led me to a post on another orchid forum (http://www.orchidboard.com/com...
) which led me to this article about Coryanthes (a close relative of Stanhopea) pollination: https://lab.troymeyers.com/fla...
April 3rd was chaotic so I did not get around to manipulating the flowers in any way until the 4th. Much like the above forum post mentioned, no obvious structure to attach the pollinia was present until the day after I removed the pollen caps with their pollinia (refer to arrow above).
A slit opened up on Sunday on both flowers, into which I inserted the pollinia using tweezers, again switching between the two flower sources to reduce the chances of self-incompatibility.
Perhaps the pollination was partially responsible for the flowers lasting as long as they did, perhaps not. In any case, the pollination seems to have taken because even one month later the developing seedpods are still attached! - I will take a picture tomorrow.
Hope this helps someone else! Always fun to try something new, but it helps when there are instructions.