Phalaenopsis Photos: Phalaenopsis amabilis(4N)

phalaenopsis amabilis
Phal. amabilis close-up

>  double spikes
> smaller round white blooms
> arching, or branched spikes
> long-lasting flowers
>ovoid leaves
>hold more leaves than
many hybrids

orcihd I phalaenopsis amabilis in bloom
(Above) Young plant blooming in
a 3.5" pot with a single spike.
(Right) same plant a year later.


Phalaenopsis amabilis is one of the best-known of the phalaenopsis orchid species. It looks like a slightly smaller version of the white hybrids that are so easily available today. Well, this little gem has been used to breed those large white phalaenopsis hybrids!  

In nature its range is quite wide from Australia to Indonesia and the Philippines. It's an epiphytes growing high in trees either in dense forests or sometimes, close to the ocean. Phalaenopsis amabilis is actually quite easy to grow and adaptable. Given its native habitat, it will thrive in temperatures from 65° at night to 85° during the day. Low night temperatures are more important in the fall and winter months to induce blooming which often takes place over several months during the spring, and early summer as the flowers are very long-lasting. It's fairly typical for the species to produce two spikes at the same time when mature with blooms neatly arranged on either side of the spike. That leaves of the species tend to be more oval in shape and the plant is quite attractive even when not phalaenopsis amabilis (species)

 in flower. This species has been bred to produce round well shaped flowers with a crystalline texture, far removed from the more open flowers of their wild ancestors. Many wonderful new cultivars are emerging from Taiwan that produce more, and better quality, blooms. The standard for these is so high that just about any modern day phalaenopsis amabilis cultivar should produce beautiful flowers.

Many of these are tetraploids(4N) which means they have twice number of chromosomes as regular plants. This results in larger more robust plants and flowers than usual. While tetraploid are often slower growing, this does not seem to matter much in the case of phalaenopsis which grow continuously throughout the year. So if you see see a tetraploid cross for sale(look for 4n on the label) and they do show up, be sure to grab it!







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