Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mini Marvels

Christensonia vietnamica, near-blooming size!
Lucinda Winn, one of three owners of J&L Orchids, visited my local orchid society and gave a wonderful talk about miniatures. We were given a stunning visual tour of miniature species, and she discussed a good mix of familiar and unusual types. For me, two that stood out were Dendrobium cuthbertsonii (which stays in bloom 10 months) and Amesiella monticola (gorgeous white flowers).
The photo shows the Christensonia vietnamica I purchased. You can buy your own here.
Christensonia vietnamica was discovered in the early 1990s. Mine is about a year away from blooming and, when it does, I expect cool-looking green and white flowers on a very small plant. 

The genus Christensonia is named after the renown orchid taxonomist and author Eric Christensen. Harold Koopwitz described him as "closest to a true genius anyone could ever hope to come across" (Orchid Digest 75:3, 119). Lucinda Winn told me that she knew him as a high school student who came into J&L to buy orchids. I'm sad to say that he died last year at the too-young age of 55; an incredible loss for botanical science and the orchid community. 

Christensen is featured prominently in The Scent of Scandal, a book about the Phrag. kovachii controversy. I'll talk about the book in an upcoming post. Until then, please stop by J&L and buy a mini. You know you have room for one more....

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