This is a very happy and proud time for me as an orchid grower. I have sooo many lovely Lepanthes in bud or bloom right now that I have not had time to photograph them all – let alone blog about them! It is a fairly recent fascination of mine, Lepanthes, but it has quickly become a passionate one. Lepanthes is very a large genus of miniature orchids with about 700+ recorded species (and probably hundreds more out there), distributed in the Antilles and Central- to South America. Luckily a good friend of mine is a long time fan of this genus and has been very generous with divisions.
So, first out is this lovely litte gem… Lepanthes hermansii. It is a cold growing epiphyte found at high altitudes of Cerro de la Muerte in Costa Rica. The species was registered by Luer in 1995, but it was actually discovered by Johan Hermans and his wife Clair – hence the name. Story has it that the pair found found a total of 6 different new species on that one trip! Just imagine how many more species are still out there to be discovered, especially tiny ones like this.
Cerro de la Muerte, or “Mountain of Death” is the highest point in the Costa Rican section of the Inter-American Highway and a mountain in Cordillera de Talamanca, a range which extends from eastern Costa Rica into neighboring western Panama. The range is the result of tectonic uplift and its separation from other mountain ranges means that it has developed many endemic species, often with closer affinities to the Andes (source Wikipedia).
I grow mine mounted on a moss covered EpiWeb branch in the cool vivarium under medium light and high humidity. The flowers measure only 2 mm and was not easy to photograph, despite macro gear – let me tell you! But I trust that practice in this area on my part, will eventually make perfect. It is well worth the effort to get nice pictures of these miniatures as the details often are quite breathtaking!