Rhynchostylis gigantea 'alba' Kew Gardens

Rhynchostylis gigantea ‘alba’
Kew Gardens

Rhynchostylis gigantea is an orchid with beautiful hanging clusters of fragrant flowers.

It is closely related to Vanda and has about the same culture conditions but should not have direct sunlight.

They differ morphologically from Vanda by the monolobed lip.

There are two subspecies: Rhynchostylis gigantea subsp. gigantea and Rhynchostylis gigantea subsp. violacea.

There are also numerous cultivars with remarkable colors, such as Rhynchostylis gigantea ‘alba’ which is completely white and other that are completely red.

It belongs to the family of Orchidaceae, subfamily Epidendroideae, tribe Vandeae, sub-tribe Aeridinae, genus Rhynchostylis.

Description:

Rhynchostylis gigantea is a large monopodial epiphytic orchid of 60 cm high.

The pseudobulb is up to 10 cm long. The stem is stout but very short, densely leafy and produces numerous thick roots. The stems branch.

Leaves are 30 cm long and 5-7.5 cm wide, dark green, very thick and leathery and often marked with prominent, light green longitudinal stripes.

The inflorescence is up to 38 cm long. The hanging, densely flowerd raceme is located on a stalk which appears from the base of the leaves. Each raceme carries up to 50 flowers. There may be 3-4 flower stems on a medium-sized plant and much more on larger specimens.

Flowers are 2.5- 3.8 cm wide, waxy, very fragrant and last about 2 weeks. The flowers are usually white with red-violet, purple or magenta spots. The lip is red-violet, purple or magenta which usually fades to a whitish color to the base and to the middle.

Flowering takes place in autumn to winter.

Nomenclature:

Synonyms:

Anota densiflora, Anota gigantea, Anota hainanensis, Anota harrisoniana, Gastrochilus giganteus, Rhynchostylis gigantea subsp. gigantea, Rhynchostylis gigantea f. harrisoniana, Saccolabium albolineatum, Saccolabium giganteum, Saccolabium giganteum var. petotianum, Saccolabium harrisonianum, Saccolabium violaceum var. harrisonianum, Vanda densiflora, Vanda hainanensis

Etymology:

Rhynchostylis: from the Greek rhynchos (beak) and stylos (column)
Gigantea: from the Latin giganteus (giant)

Origin:

Burma, Indochina, China, Malaysia, Borneo, Philippines

Habitat:

Forests at low altitude, up to 700 m



Care:

Temperature:

Summer:
Diurnal temperature: 30-35°C
Nocturnal temperature: 20-25 °C

Winter:
Withstands temperatures between 16-21 °C

Light:

Light, no direct sunlight

Water:

Regular watering in summer but no standing water. In winter, a little less water. The roots must be able to dry between waterings.

Hygrometry:

70-80%

Substrate:

Airy substrate (coconut bark) or without substrate directly in hanging basket

Pot:

Hanging basket because of its drooping growth and inflorescence

Repotting:

The roots are quite sensitive and don’t like repotting. But as they need to be very well aired, it is necessary to repot whenever the roots have grown so much that aeration is compromised.

Fertilizer:

1/4 to 1/2 of the recommended dilution. Weekly during growing period.
Some growers use a balanced fertilizer throughout the year, others use a fertilizer high in N content during growing season and high P content in the fall.

Propagation:

Keiki:

Keiki are small plants that occur on the nodes of the flower stem. When the keiki is sufficiently developed and has sufficient roots, it can be separated from the mother plant and repotted separately.

Division:

Divide and repot the plant separately.

Image sources

  • Rhynchostylis gigantea ‘alba’: Own work

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