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  #1  
Old 07-13-2020, 06:30 PM
MJG MJG is offline
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Red spots on maxillaria elatior Female
Default Red spots on maxillaria elatior

Any idea what these red spots could be on my maxillaria elatior? They are decidedly RED! There are several other leaves yellowing without red spots. I don't know if that's normal die-off, or if some sort of blight is moving in. Thanks!
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:27 PM
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It's probably pigment from fungi that feed on dead plant matter. A lot of fungi produce chemicals that we see as colored, though the fungus probably doesn't intend them for that purpose.
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Old 07-14-2020, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estación seca View Post
It's probably pigment from fungi that feed on dead plant matter. A lot of fungi produce chemicals that we see as colored, though the fungus probably doesn't intend them for that purpose.
ES, I am convinced by now that you know everything about orchids and probably a lot of other subjects.

It sounds like if it's just a fungus that feeds on dead plant matter, then I don't need to worry about it. Is that correct?
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Old 07-14-2020, 02:01 PM
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I don't know much at all, compared to how much there is to know. But I'm probably a lot older, and I still remember things.

Most leaves of all types of plants get all types of weird spots when they're in the process of normal dying. It's even more accentuated in humid environments. Once you get more orchid growing under your belt you will have seen this sort of thing happen a lot.

Fungi that feed on dead or dying plant material almost never attack living tissue. Yes, it is correct you don't need to worry about fungi that feed on dead or dying plant material. You should ask yourself why the dead or dying plant material is there, however, and you should ask yourself whether maybe the roots or leaves are being kept too wet or humid. The answer might be, yes, they are appropriately wet and humid, but you need to ask.
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Old 08-24-2020, 01:46 AM
philiplowrey philiplowrey is offline
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Maxillaria Elatior shed lower leaves as they grow new pseudobulbs (which frequently split the leaves) leaving behind the brown bases of the leaves which form a sort or "wicker" look which covers/protects roots (the roots grow down from the new pseudobulbes through this into the substrate). This is similar to a Max Tenuifolia growth pattern. If this is happening, I recommend letting the leaves fall naturally, and never "clean-up" the brown bases, as they are protecting roots.
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Old 08-24-2020, 04:20 PM
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Thanks Philip. I think I finally have this orchid figured out. At the time I started this thread I had just received the plant. In addition to the red spots, it continued to drop a lot of leaves. I finally used a copper fungicide on it.

Now that it's settled down, I think the leaf drop was from traveling in the mail and then adjusting to a new environment. The leaf drop has slowed to normal and as leaves periodically die they still develop the red spots as part of that process. I'm convinced that ES's description of pigment from fungi on the dying leaves was apt. It's normal.

Your point about not removing the "wicker" is important for maxillaria growers to know. Also your observations about the grow pattern is helpful.

This orchid is a weird one. I have 2 other maxillaria and they're petite and manicured looking by nature. This one is big and wild looking, with lots of shaggy roots and sporting black bumps here and there. It wants to be staked. In a better climate I think I could set it by a tree outside and it would climb right up into it. I can't wait until it blooms!
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Old 08-24-2020, 06:26 PM
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Climbing is exactly what this species does. Here is what I did with mine. The plant is potted normally in bark. Then behind it I have a big piece of cork, on which I tied some sphag for moisture, and tied the plant to it (garden Velcro). I hold it in place with a stick that I attached to the cork (zip ties), sticking down into the pot. It hasn't rooted to the cork, but it is supported, and it can root if it wants to.
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Old 08-24-2020, 07:33 PM
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Nice pictures and nice way to accommodate the climbing nature of the plant. I was just showing this orchid to my husband today....showing him how there's a rootball that sits in a pot, with what appears to be rhizome climbing straight up for a couple of feet with p'bulbs growing every couple of inches. Confounding! I'm going to borrow your idea to give it some support.
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Old 08-25-2020, 01:00 PM
philiplowrey philiplowrey is offline
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A couple pictures of mine. I turned it to show different angles so you could see the structure of the plant. Its in an 8" bulb pan and is about 18" tall. Growing outdoors in coastal SOCAL
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Old 08-25-2020, 01:42 PM
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That's magnificent! I had not encountered anything like this growth pattern before. Thanks for the pictures.
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