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SIGMATOSTALIX amazonica

Image of Sigmatostalix amazonica

Michael Charters, www.calflora.net

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

SIGMATOSTALIX amazonica

Plant Common Name

Amazon Sigmatostalix Orchid, Miniature Orchid

General Description

Dainty on all counts, Amazon sigmatostalix is a miniature orchid that displays an arching cluster of yellowish green and ivory blossoms in winter and early spring. This tropical evergreen orchid is native to the hot, wet rainforests of northernmost South America. It is an epiphyte meaning it grows on other plants, most notably rainforest trees.

The plant is comprised of compressed clustered pseudobulbss of yellowish green. Each bears one light green leaf that is wide and lance-shaped. From spring to autumn, when tropical heat and rainfall is most plentiful, this orchid grows new pseudobulbs and roots. The newly mature pseudobulbs will each bear a slender, arching flower panicle in midwinter. Large, robust pseudobulbs may develop multiple flowering stems. Each panicle bears up to twenty small, yellow to yellow-green blossoms that open successively. Each small blossom has a much larger lower lip that may be white or deeper yellow, sometimes with small bars of brown. The flowers resemble small women with full skirts. Plants undergo a brief dormancy until spring's warmth triggers new root growth.

Grow the Amazon sigmatostalix orchid in partial sun to full shade, protecting the plant from hot direct sunlight in the middle of the day. Protect this tropical from even the lightest frost. It does not grow in soil, but should be mounted on a tree or palm trunk, bark slab or wood block, or nestled in a small pot or slatted basket with tiny bark nuggets. Water must freely drain from containers; good air circulation is also required to keep plants healthy. Feed with a diluted fertilizer solution weekly when this orchid is actively growing from spring to fall. Refrain from feeding and reduce watering in winter.

Use this miniature orchid as an accent upon a small tropical tree, in a small hanging basket or little pot on the brightly lit but shaded patio. Indoors it needs warm conditions, a hot to warm greenhouse is ideal. Increase ambient humidity by placing it on a tray of rocks filled with water. If light levels are too low, flowering will likely be sparse. Low light usually causes the leaves to be dark green instead of bright green to nearly yellow-green. Repot only when rootbound and after flowering in earliest spring when new roots are just elongating.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    13 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H2

  • Plant Type

    Epiphyte

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    5"-7" / 12.7cm - 17.8cm

  • Width

    6"-10" / 15.2cm - 25.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Winter, Late Winter

  • Native To

    South America, Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow, Yellow Green, Brown

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No