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Bletilla striata

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Bletilla striata

Bletilla striata2

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Family:Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Arethuseae
SubTribe: Bletiinae
Genus: Bletilla
Species: Ble. striata
Alliance:
Binomial name
Bletilla striata
(Thunb.) Rchb.f. 1878


Bletilla striata is the most common form found in the nursery trade and is often labeled simply as 'Hardy Orchid' or 'Chinese Ground Orchid' and is quite inexpensive.

DescriptionEdit

This beautiful and hardy deciduous orchid has the distinction of being one of the first orchids in cultivation in England dating from around 1794. The very flat knob-like tuberous root system is typically sympodial, expansive and each shoot is of annual duration only. On established plants, almost every new growth shoot has a flower spike before leaves fully develop. Each shoot can have up to fourteen beautiful rose-mauve flowers with a ruffled lip about 30mm diameter, scentless and looking something like a miniature Cattleya orchid flower. An established clump can have literally dozens of flower spikes flowering in the late Spring and the clumps only increase in beauty with time. They rarely exceed two feet in height.

The flowers and leaves are at the mercy of late frosts, which are to be avoided if at all possible with coverings of a sheet or newspapers. Resist the temptation to remove the mulch layer even if the new growths are raising up the mulch due to an early Spring, unless no more frosts are likely. Unlike most tropical orchids, B. striata has attractive foliage even when not flowering. The pleated, tapered foliage looks very similar to the juvenile leaves of many palm species. The plant blooms in the spring to summer with 5cm wide fragrant flowers.

A well established clump of these in flower is quite beautiful and they are surprisingly hardy even into USDA Zone 5 with a heavy mulch. They easily succeed in USDA Zone 6 with only a moderate mulch of straw or leaves. These hardiness ratings only apply to plants in the ground with the idea of preventing the actual root system from being frozen. If potted, they should be placed in a frost-free location if winter temperatures go below freezing. The plant is generally considered hardy without a mulch if minimum winter temperatures do not go below 25°F.

DistributionEdit

Plants are found growing in soil in Japan, Okinawa, and China.

CultureEdit

Keep in cool to warm temperatures with bright light. Water regularly. They have a great reputation of being the absolute easiest orchid for a beginner to grow. Unlike most tropical epiphytic orchids, this plant comes from somewhat temperate zones and grows in soil rather than on trees and require no extraordinary care to grow successfully. They prefer well drained evenly moist soils that are high in organic material and that never dry out nor remain sodden. They are sympodial growers and will form handsome clumps in only a few years.

VarietiesEdit

ImageNameDescription
Bletilla striata var Bletilla striata variant Petals and sepals are white, lip is pink

NamingEdit

Bletilla striata plate

Bletilla striata illustration

Common Names: The Striped Bletilla


SynonymsEdit

  1. Bletilla elegantula (Kraenzl.) Garay & G.A.Romero 1998
  2. Bletia gebina [Lindley]Rchb.f 1847
  3. Bletia hyacinthina [Willd.] R. Br. 1813
  4. Bletia striata [Thunb] Druce 1917
  5. Bletilla gebina [Lindley]Rchb.f. 1852-3
  6. Bletilla hyacintha (Sm.) Rchb. f. 1878
  7. Bletilla striata f. gebina (Lindl.) Ohwi 1953
  8. Bletilla striata var. albomarginata Makino 1929
  9. Bletilla striata var. gebina (Lindl.) Rchb.f. in ?.
  10. Calanthe gebina Lodd. ex Lindl. 1855
  11. Coelogyne elegantula Kraenzl. 1921
  12. Cymbidium hyacinthinum Sims 1812
  13. Cymbidium hyacinthinum Sm. 1906
  14. Cymbidium hyacinthinum [Thunb.] Swartz
  15. Cymbidium striatum [Thunb.]Sw. 1799
  16. Epidendrum striatum (Thunb.) Thunb. 1794
  17. Epidendrum tuberosum Lour. 1763
  18. Gyas humilis Salisb. 1812
  19. Jimensia striatum [Thunb.]Garay & Schultes 1958
  20. Limodorum hyacinthinum (Sm.) Donn 1807
  21. Limodorum striatum Thunb 1784
  22. Sobralia bletioides Brongn. ex Decne. 1847

ResourcesEdit

PDF iconNovel bibenzyl derivatives from the tubers of Bletilla striata

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