Michael Charters, www.calflora.net
Plant Common Name
Aerides Orchid, Orchid
This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.
The fragrant orchids in the genus Aerides inhabit the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia and India. The specific number of species is under question, but in a recent revision of the genus 21 were legitimized. These orchids are commonly called cat's tail or fox brush orchids because their blooms are borne in pendulous racemes that look tail-like. There are two distinct flower types in Aerides, one with an pollinator spur entrance that's hidden and one that's open, but these differences are more important to scientists, breeders and insects than the average grower. Most species are epiphytes (tree growers) with the exception of the lithophyte (rock grower), Aerides krabviensis.
The thick, waxy green leaves of Aerides are arranged in vertical rows and form short or elongated rosettes. Some species have broad leaves while others are very linear. They attach or cling to trees via many thick, fleshy roots. All are monopodial, which means they lack bulbous bases (pseudobulbs) unlike many other orchids. The long, hanging flower clusters produced by Aerides appear at different times of the year, depending on the species, but all consist of many blooms. Each flower has spreading petals and sepals and may have a conical or horn-shaped spur that holds nectar. Flower color may be ivory, white, pink, rose, or orange. Aerides are largely bee pollinated.
Culture may vary from one species to the next, but most Aerides are subtropical or tropical epiphytes that prefer bright but filtered light, high humidity and regular water. They prefer distilled or collected rain water and should be rooted in a bark mix formulated for orchids. Orchids are thought to be difficult to grow, but many are quite easy and will grow will in a bright window (no full sun) on a tray of rocks, to increase drainage and humidity, and prefer regular water and fertilizer.
Bark or Stem Fragrant
Flower Petal Number