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What's the difference between a keiki and a terminal spike?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by jameslee22, Jul 1, 2020.

  1. jameslee22

    jameslee22 New Member

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    Hi all, new member here for Cape Cod, Mass. I was gifted an orchid August 2019 while it was in bloom and although it was visibly dormant after it bloomed, I checked on it's roots in April and noticed they were plump, green and likely ready to be re-potted which is exactly what I did. I read to re-pot it when it had new growth (a new bloom stalk was growing from the old one) and shortly after, it started to produce a new root and what I thought was a new leaf. I was very excited about this because I read online that new leaves and roots normally indicate that a new bloom stalk with begin to grow. But the leaf didn't grow like an ordinary leaf. It grew with a very long stem and what looked like a small leaf/bloom stalk inside of it. After more research (I had heard the term keiki before but from what I read, everything seemed to suggest that keiki's grow only from bloom stalks), I found the term "terminal spike," which (from what I gathered) indicates a last ditch effort at life before the orchid dies. It said this could be from anywhere between 2 to 3 years. As I researched further, I read that a terminal spike is also considered to be a keiki and can later be transplanted around the 8-9 month time frame. I am very curious what this means for my plant. Are keiki's and terminal spikes the same thing? Are terminal spikes also keiki's but keiki's are not terminal spike? I know the terminal spike means that there will be no more leaf growth from that area since it sprouted directly from between the leaves but can my plant survive this or is the terminal spike a death sentence? I am very saddened to read what I read online but I understand I will get a new plant out of this regardless. Please let me know your thoughts and what this could mean for my plant!
     
  2. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A keiki (pronounced kay key) is Hawaiian for baby and it is a growth of the plant. A terminal spike or terminal inflorescence would produce flowers. The are not the same thing. A keiki can be produce from a growth and is quite common on some types of orchids. Sometimes it is produced on an inflorescence. For most orchids, the general rule is to repot when you see a new growth starting at the base of the plant. Generally, roots will be produce shortly after the growth has initiated.
     
  3. jameslee22

    jameslee22 New Member

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    Thank you! If you don't mind me asking, what does the terminal spike mean for my orchid? Is it going to die like I have read online or is this a sign of health and growth? I re-potted it already in April, should I plan on re-potting it again?
     
  4. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My understanding is that a terminal spike is one that comes from the end/apex of a growth rather than some other area of the plant. I wouldn't repot it until it has outgrown the pot or the medium has started to deteriorate. If you post a picture of what you are asking about, it might be easier to see what is going on.
     
  5. jameslee22

    jameslee22 New Member

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    Ok sorry about that. Attaching one below. Let me know your thoughts.

    Thanks!
     

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  6. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Can you post an image that is larger? That is too small to see what is there and I don't know what am looking at. The plant looks healthy.
     
  7. jameslee22

    jameslee22 New Member

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    Yes, here's a few more from a few different angles.
    First: new root growth and what i believe is the terminal spike or keiki
    Second: terminal spike or keiki with what i think is a bloom stalk coming out of the middle
    Third: it bloomed last week
     

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  8. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, I can see much better in these pictures. It looks to me as if that is a spike coming out of the top. I haven't seen that before, but I wouldn't assume that it is fatal. Your plant looks healthy and it isn't creating a spike as a last ditch effort to propagate. You could cut the spike if it bothers you. It would be interesting to see what it does.
     
  9. jameslee22

    jameslee22 New Member

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    I will let it continue to grow! Everyone I have talked to about it says the same thing; they've never seen anything like that before. I am curious to see what it turns into as well. That is very good to hear; thank you! I will post pictures as it continues to evolve. Thanks for your help!
     
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