Bob Belas Photography Blog

Orchids of Summer: Mtssa Shelob 'Tolkien'

Mtssa Shelob 'Tolkien', color

Mtssa Shelob 'Tolkien', color

For those who love big, showy flowers, here is Miltassia Shelob 'Tolkien', named after the giant spider in "The Lord of the Rings". It is the epitome of orchid hybridization gone crazy, in my opinion, with genes from 4 or 5 genera and who knows how many species or cultivars interspersed in this baby. Especially prominent are the characteristics of the spider orchid genus, Brassia, evident in the flower shape that resembles its spider namesake. Not only are the flowers showy, but they're also fragrant, with notes of spice and pepper that permeate the area immediately around the plant in the morning until early afternoon. This spike has five flowers and a bud, but as the plant matures, I anticipate up to 15 flowers per spike, with two spikes blooming at a time. That would be a sight worth seeing.

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