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Orchids of Summer: Oncidium boothianum

Oncidium boothianum, color

Oncidium boothianum, color

While I enjoy orchids hybrids, I am a sucker for species plants. They tend to be more difficult to maintain and are often not all that glamorous, yet there is something special that attracts me to them. Case in point: Oncidium boothianum, an orchid from the cloud forests of Venezuela. I acquired this plant over a year ago not knowing what to expect. To be honest, it's kind of a ratty, nondescript plant even as orchids go. But its flowers are something else. While they're small (dime sized), there are hundreds carried on a multiply branched flower spike that, in my plant's case, is about 5 feet tall. It looks like a fountain of yellow, red, and umber flowers right now. I'm still waiting to smell what is reported to be a "strong honey aroma" from these blooms, but even it that doesn't happen, I hope you will agree that the flowers are quite nice.

Oh, one other thing: this plant is not for the impatient grower. That flower spike first appeared in early February when my plants were still indoors. That's seven months waiting for the darn thing to bloom!

Best wishes,

     Bob