After my Brassia maculata orchids finished blooming (last August) I divided 2 original pots into 6 separate clumps. I gave one group away, wired 3 to various branches in the bauhinia tree, and placed the remaining divisions in a basket:
Brassias are sympodial (bulbous) orchids whose large fleshy leaves and woody flower spikes emerge from oval pseudobulbs along the soil line. Each pseudobulb provides nutrients and water for a single bloom cycle before becoming a dormant ”backbulb.” When things proceed normally, backbulbs divert their remaining energy to producing next year’s growth, as illustrated by this group wired to the tree:
The severe wrinkling tells me these pseudobulbs COMPLETELY depleted themselves to ensure the next generations’ survival…the new growth looks absolutely normal…..and not at all like what’s going on in the basket!
I’m uncertain what’s growing from the “V” in the leaf…it has the overlapping, braided look of a pseudobulb but is way too thin, long, and misplaced. I don’t think it’s a flower spike because it looks nothing like last summer’s growth, and is emerging from an atypical spot. Weird!
Now for that strange disc shaped thingy growing from the root! Here’s a close-up:
….and another from a slightly different angle showing hairlike roots emanating from the attached leaves.
I bought my first orchids in 2010 and have probably learned more from making mistakes than doing research! Dividing these brassias, placing them in a tree that provided inadequate shade, and then not watering enough, clearly stressed them to the max!
Under severe stress,(and sometimes for no reason at all!) brassias are known to asexually reproduce via the process of developing a keiki. Keiki is Hawaiian for child/baby but is a bit of a misnomer: orchid keikis are clones of the original plant. Eventually the keikis develop a full root system that allows them to survive independently.
Needless to say, I’ll be watching the basket for further developments! If any of you are orchid experts or have seen similar strange and unexpected growths, please comment!
Until next time…..