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Avatar for olga_batalov
May 2, 2020 11:12 PM CST

Organic Gardener Region: Southwest Gardening Region: California Irises Orchids Roses
Hybridizer Hummingbirder Cat Lover
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
Thumb of 2020-05-03/olga_batalov/c6b9ce Thumb of 2020-05-03/olga_batalov/da06a5
Thumb of 2020-05-03/olga_batalov/a36777 Thumb of 2020-05-03/olga_batalov/7a1247

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.
Thumb of 2020-05-03/olga_batalov/971fa3 Thumb of 2020-05-03/olga_batalov/7051aa

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.
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May 3, 2020 6:52 AM CST
Moderator
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Orchids Plumerias Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers
Greenhouse Ponds Keeper of Koi Forum moderator Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Adeniums
Olga, how interesting and beautiful! Thumbs up I can imagine the awesome scent too, strongly spicy- aromatic!
Nice job detailing the pollination!
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May 3, 2020 6:58 AM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
GROW ORCHIDS!!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
I have never pollinated a Stanhopea. But it is like most other orchids. Check the web for a total flower image naming all of the flower parts. You simply take the pollinia from one flower and place it on the stigmatic surface (female part ) of another flower. When pollinated the male flowers ( donors ) collapse almost immediately or quickly. The one that has been pollinated may indeed hold onto the flower a bit longer.
Have you secured a laboratory to sow the seeds?




We see them so infrequently on the judging table due to their short life span. And then they have to get safely to
Judging without damaging the flowers! This is no small feat. Then if it gets an award, like the one I am showing, then the fun begins trying to describe it lip, and petals and sepals. Wait. Is that the lip or is that the lip?? Then the fancy terms come in, mesochile, hypochile and so on and so forth. Makes me wish I got paid for judging!! Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Just starting a Stanhopea thread was Fabulous!! Just Fantastic!!!
Great job!!
Taught classes on Orchids and Orchid growing and led hundreds of bird walks. Retired Wildlife Biologist.
Last edited by BigBill May 3, 2020 7:09 AM Icon for preview
Avatar for olga_batalov
May 3, 2020 5:59 PM CST

Organic Gardener Region: Southwest Gardening Region: California Irises Orchids Roses
Hybridizer Hummingbirder Cat Lover
Here are the pods, not as plump as I expected after a month so maybe there will not be that many seeds, but if the pollination did not take at all I imagine they would have fallen off by now.
Thumb of 2020-05-03/olga_batalov/02d863

I was thinking about trying to germinate the seeds myself. I have worked in plant labs before and there are enough media recipes and instructions out there. However, I also have a former co-worker, from the plant biotech company that I worked at up until a year ago, who quit to start her own tissue culture business. In the back and forth with her, with suggestions on equipment and consumables that I would need, she also offer to grow my seedlings for a small fee. She is taking over the business of one of the local long-time orchid tissue culture labs whose owners are retiring. While the idea of having an in-house low tech and low throughput DIY lab setup is intriguing (I might still buy a pressure cooker and a sterile hood, take it slow), she is being handed down knowledge from years of experience and she knows what she is doing.

An update on my Phalaenopsis crosses, a little off topic, 9 of the 12 crosses took!
The thread "Phalaenopsis ID - species or possibly primary hybrid" in Orchids forum
These I would definitely hand off to my former co-worker. Besides, I trust her to pick out the phenotype I am looking for - highly spotted leaves. The three crosses that did not take were 2x Phal. philippinensis x stuartiana (pollen) and the Phal. stuartiana self.
Thumb of 2020-05-03/olga_batalov/c63b64 < Phal. stuartiana
Thumb of 2020-05-03/olga_batalov/d19ce2 < Phal. "schilleriana" (not)
Thumb of 2020-05-03/olga_batalov/ff4a42 < Phal. philippinensis
Avatar for dixiewynne11
Jan 18, 2022 12:27 AM CST

Hello Olga, BigBill and Ursula,
At 82 I finally have time to think of growing orchids other than my Australian native dendrobiums. Two years ago I found a wizened sad looking clump of pseudobulbs that the chap throwing them into the local council compost said had 'once bloomed and smelled of warm dark chocolate' but had done nothing since. As you can imagine, I had a ball learning how to coax life back. This summer there were four blooms of Stanhopea tigrina that looked great and oh the perfume was mouth-watering (instant joy for any chocoholic). Finding your blog, Olga, and your wise comments BigBill, has inspired me to continue this adventure but Whew! it means I've got a mountain range of learning ahead. Starting, I guess, with how to upload a photograph to share with you. And thank you. DixieWynne (Wollongong, Australia)
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Jan 18, 2022 6:34 AM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
GROW ORCHIDS!!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
When I make a post, like right now, I have a green band immediate below my text box to the left. It says "upload an image". When I want to download an image I click on that and 3 options appear. The top one says "photo library" I believe. That refers to my 'collection' of images stored on my I phone.
Then once I am in my photo collection I tap on and at the same time highlight the image that I want to include. Having done that at the top right corner a little blue box "add" appears. If I click on 'add', that selected image gets incorporated into my ongoing post.
Then when complete I click on "finish", the little green box to the lower right where I am typing out my post. At least this is what I do.
I am a 'Technical Moron' and I don't know yet how to get images included that I might have taken with my Digital SLR camera. I have to go to school to learn how to do that.
In the future you might get more thorough and quicker results when it comes to orchid problems by posting a new thread within the ORCHID FORUMS!!

Regardless, welcome to the site.
Hopefully you'll get more tech savvy people to respond.
Taught classes on Orchids and Orchid growing and led hundreds of bird walks. Retired Wildlife Biologist.
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