I have been reading quite a lot lately about phaius tankervilleae
, more commonly known as the Nun's Orchid. My favorite nursery to purchase my plants from is perhaps an hour north of where I live and they had several for sale last time I was there. Of course, I was itching to get it! HOWEVER, while perusing another, local nursery yesterday, I picked one up for ten bucks less than the other nursery was asking for it!!!
Check her out:
I just LOVE how the blooms are so varied in coloration, don't you?
Here she stands in all her glory at a considerable three and half feet tall from root ball to top spike!
Best of all, the Nun's orchid is terrestrial, whereas most orchids are epiphytic. Therefore, she can be planted directly in your garden variety potting mix and kept indoors as a houseplant or even planted outside in your garden!!! How's that for a little bang for you buck?
Take a gander inside her throat and you'll see where this orchid gets her name. Do you see the white center of the bloom? See a resemblance to a nun bowed in prayer? (So I've heard and assume.)
She has such a complex bloom. I mean think about it! Burgundy lips, brown petals (on the front) and the backside is white!!!
There are many, many variations of this wonderful specimen and for a little detailed information check out this link below:
I take the following as a direct quote from that site:
These plants have large plicate leaves that lend a tropical appearance to any setting. They are topped by successively flowered inflorescences held on rigidly upright stalks with flowers that are usually somewhat nodding and variable in color as well as size. The lips are usually maroon turning reddish with age, although albinic forms exist that are nearly yellow. The smaller growing plants usually have darker flowers with yellowish green backs to the sepals and petals while some of the larger growing plants have white backs.
I had orginally submitted this post referring to the Nun's Orchid as bletilla striata
, but in doing further research (and a comment from kiki-do --thanks by the way), I found out that is another species altogether