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Stelis sp.

Discussion in 'Orchid Species' started by JohnsonS, Nov 8, 2014.

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  1. JohnsonS

    JohnsonS Active Member

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    I purchased this one early last summer and it came to me as a small mounted plant from Ecuagenera with 11 leaves, labelled as Stelis patens. It seems to be liking the conditions provided by my cylindrical vivarium, as it now has over 20 leaves! I was very happy to see it putting out some spikes a few weeks back, but the blooms are proving difficult to photograph; the blooms seem to only open up during the night and at the first sign of light they begin to close up. I have to lift the cylinder off of the vivarium it is in to take photos, which significantly drops the humidity in a short period of time - this also affects the blooms. Within less than 8 minutes of taking it out of the enclosure they are fully closed up. I found myself waking up early in the morning and using a flashlight to assist in focusing to get a few decent shots of this little guy. I finally ended up cutting off the first spike it sent out so I could get the photos you see here. It is currently sending out two more spikes, though. The plant itself has leaves that are no larger than about 1" (~2.5cm) tall, though most of them are slightly under that.

    I can't find much info on S. patens online, but it doesn't seem to resemble the photos I've seen while searching.


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    Closing…

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    Almost closed…

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    SBA likes this.
  2. bob williams

    bob williams Member Supporting Member

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    that's so cool, the flower open's and closes with the light. hope you can find out what it is, i want one too. bob
     
  3. wpinnix

    wpinnix William Pinnix

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    I'm on the hunt. How many flowers per spike? Is the spike longer or shorter than the leaves?
     
  4. wpinnix

    wpinnix William Pinnix

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    I'm on the hunt for the name, but need to know how many flowers per spike? Also, is the spike shorter or longer than the leaves? Are the flowers congested or spaced widely on the spike?
     
  5. wpinnix

    wpinnix William Pinnix

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    I'm sure it's not patens, in that species the lateral sepals are slightly fused (connate) forming a slight cup. Also patens has purple petals and lip. I'm still looking.
     
  6. JohnsonS

    JohnsonS Active Member

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    Actually, now that I think about it, it probably doesn't have anything to do with the lights at all. The circulation fan that I have in the tank is on the same timer as the lights, so the humidity most likely drops shortly after the lights turn on…


    I'm trying to remember how many were on the spike that I cut off… There were three open and then I think at least two more buds - so, probably at least five but maybe even one or two more than that; I'll have to check on the new spikes in the morning to make sure, though. The spike is much longer than the leaves - at least 2-2.5x longer. The flowers are spaced widely on the spike.

    That's what I have been seeing in the photos of that species, while searching - certainly much different than what I have.

    Thanks for searching, William. Let me know if you find it, or something similar!
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  7. wpinnix

    wpinnix William Pinnix

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    I believe it's the humidity drop causing the flowers to close. I've seen it many times before with other stelis species.
     
  8. wpinnix

    wpinnix William Pinnix

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    Can you take measurements? Leaf height, ramicaul (leaf stem) height, flower size. There are a lot of flower details for definitively identifying which really need a microscope to see...but we might get close with measurements.
     
  9. JohnsonS

    JohnsonS Active Member

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    Okay, here are some measurements. The leaf details are approximate, but should be close. I feel that the flower measurements are quite accurate, as I just tried this with a S. morganii flower and those measurements were dead on (no open buds on the Stelis species in question at the moment). One of the new spikes looks like it will have about seven buds that I can make out so far; once that spike begins to mature I can take additional photos if needed.

    Overall Leaf Height (of largest leaf): ~42mm
    Leaf Width: ~6.5mm
    Ramicaul Height: ~19mm
    Flower Spike Length: ~80mm
    Flower Size: see photo


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    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  10. wpinnix

    wpinnix William Pinnix

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    Awesome measurements! I'll go though the key later tonight. Do you know if the lip has a small point at the center of the tip? I can't tell from the straight on angle.
     
  11. wpinnix

    wpinnix William Pinnix

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    The lip is the top structure in the photo.
     
  12. wpinnix

    wpinnix William Pinnix

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    The small point would be pointed directly at the camera in the photos.
     
  13. JohnsonS

    JohnsonS Active Member

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    No, as far as I can tell, the lip appears to be completely rounded with no tip.

    Can you tell from this view?

     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  14. wpinnix

    wpinnix William Pinnix

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    Well this one is tricky, like a lot of Stelis species. To make a determination, I would really need to have the flowers, dissect them, and determine characteristics under a microscope. That being said, if you want to send me flowers, I'd be happy to give them a look.

    So, if the petals are one veined, Carl Luer's key leads to Stelis hallii. All measurements match, the color form is listed as correct, BUT the floral bracts are supposed to be longer than the pedicels. From the photos, the opposite seems to be true.

    IF, the petals are 3 veined, then the key leads to Stelis hydroidea. A definitive feature of this species is a 'furry patch' (my words) at the base of the lip; this feature is obscured by the column and would only be seen on the dissected lip.

    So, at this point it's Stelis spp. until we get some dissected flowers. Measurements of the floral bract and pedicel (the 'stem' that connects the flower to the spike) would help.

    On the hunt, Bill
     
  15. JohnsonS

    JohnsonS Active Member

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    When you say "veined petals" are you referring to the striations visible on the petals, or something else? If it's the former, it would appear that the petals on my Stelis have three veins each. All of the photos I have seen of S. hallii appear to have five veins - though, I can't seem to find an illustration online of this species - so, I'm not quite sure if that's what you are referring to.

    Is the floral bract the small sheath at the base of the pedicel? If so, the floral bract is certainly shorter than the pedicel.

    I have an old microscope that I may be able to use for dissection, but if that fails I may take you up on your offer and send you a spike from my plant. I really appreciate you taking the time to look through the key for an identification for me - thank you!
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  16. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't know if it works with stelis, but for dracula flowers that have wilted from lack of humidity you can dip them in cold water for a bit and the will plump back up (usually long enough to photograph).
     
  17. wpinnix

    wpinnix William Pinnix

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    The veins are very difficult to see, even under a microscope. They are internal structures; I've had the best luck by smashing the petal and pulling the outer layer away. It's tricky and you need good tools.

    Yes, that is it.

    I think this is probably not hallii. If you can verify the number of petal veins, and if you can remove the lip and look for the villose (hairy) base of the lip on the upper surface, then we can determine if it's another species.
     
  18. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    All I can say is that I am continuously amazed at the depth and breath of knowledge that people on this site have. Wow.
     
  19. lthoerle

    lthoerle New Member

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    Many of us find that the easiest way to see the venation of petals (and thicker or heavily pigmented sepals, etc.) is to drop the flower in vodka for a couple of hours. After the pigment is eluted, you'll have a ghostly flower, nearly transparent and pleased to share the secrets of its venation with you. It makes counting veins a snap unless the flower is very thick (rarely the case for a pleur).
     
  20. wpinnix

    wpinnix William Pinnix

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    I'll have to try the alcohol trick next time, that seems much easier than my method.