Masdevallia vexilliferaI bought this plant last November. But what I had originally ordered as Masdevallia decumana, a lovely little epiphyte from Peru and Ecuador, actually turned out to be Masdevallia vexillifera, a quite rare species from Peru. I noticed already before the bud opened up that it was much too light to be a decumana, but I thought it might be the pallida color form which is much lighter. But once the flower opened up, the lower sepals begun to pull back, the flower took on a rather different shape than that of a decumana. Finally I got the real name from a friend who saw the photo on Flickr (thanks for the ID Hachadourian).

This is actually a case where I am quite pleased about the mixup. Masdevallia decumana is not hard to find, in fact I just picked up a new plant this weekend, but I have never seen Masdevallia vexillifera offered for sale. I bought it from the “Peru” import list from Orchids and More, which means that the plant most likely came from Peruflora. But I spoke to my friend Manolo from Peruflora at the orchid show this weekend, and he said that he had never seen the species before. Kew has this down as a Peruvian species and he said that one of their goals is to cultivate all Peruvian native species in their nurseries. I promised to try and pollinate the plant and send him a seedpod for this purpose as soon as I can. Quite an exciting little story for this plant, and I adore it.

Masdevallia vexilliferaMasdevallia vexilliferaMasdevallia vexilliferaMasdevallia vexillifera