Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stanhopea hernandezii

This is another beautiful stanhopea with very colorful history. It was named after Fernando Hernandez, scholar of medical and other natural sciences from Toledo, Spain who was instructed by King Philipp II of Spain in 1569 to complete natural history of plants, minerals and animals of Nueva Espania (Mexico). Hernandez travelled through Mexico and documented and described everything he came across with and in 1576 total of 16 volumes was completed called “ De Rerum Medicarum Nova Hispaniae Thesaurus”. Five of the plants he encountered on his journey were orchids and one of them was stanhopea. Unfortunately, he died in 1578, without seeing his life-work printed, and in 1671 medico-botanical part of his work only was published, with everything else burnt later. It’s interesting that only in 1918 stanhopea that he described and documented was finally named after him – stanhopea hernandezii.

Stanhopea heranadezii is a very decorative orchid and can be a bit of a challenge to bring it to flower. It prefers a lot of moisture during growing season and dry, warm period during winter. The plant itself is on the smallish size compared to other stanhopea’s, yet the flowers a large and full. My plant sent one flower spike with two beautiful flowers early in the season and then about a month later another flower spike appeared with another two flowers, making it a double flowering this summer.

It’s striking, beautiful, dramatic looking stanhopea and another variety to admire and cherish for any stanhopea collector.

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