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K-w SoundEagle: Is this Cattleya true in colour, Barbara, Craig and Stephen? Stephen Lynch: Lynch I would be tempted to say yes it is a real cattleya and the combination of yellow/red and violet gives the black, if it's not it's one of the best photoshop jobs i've ever seen I can't find a mistake anywhere Craig Scott-Harden: Hmmm not so sure??? I would love to know the breeding! Cause I can't imagine where the hell that colour comes from???? If ya have a close look towards the centre of the petals there seems to be a yellow base colour coming through???! Robert Bird: AOS Award Photos by maureen mckovich Stephen Lynch: the lip and substance is forbesii, i can see some trianae in the shape so i would start there Barbara Haywood: Yes K.W. it is pretty much so
There are about ten species in the genus Mystacidium, which is native to eastern and southern...


There are about ten species in the genus Mystacidium, which is native to eastern and southern Africa from Tanzania to South Africa. The name itself originates from the Greek word mystax, meaning moustache, which the hairy rostellum lobes in some species of the genus resemble. Within the genus, Mystacidium capense is the smallest species and yet has the largest flower. The foliage of a specimen in full bloom can be almost obscured by its plentiful starry white flowers born on pendulous racemes. Hence, this orchid is indeed a minute but showy denizen in the Angraecinae or Angraeco​id alliance. Whilst the stature of this little epiphytic orchid is diminutive, its fleshy root system is by comparison quite extensive, providing ample support and absorbing moisture and nutrients for the plant.

Much like its much larger cousin, Angraecum sesquipedale (also known as Darwin’s orchid, Christmas orchid, Star of Bethlehem orchid, Madagascan Star orchid, Comet orchid, and King of the Angraecums), Mystacidium capense bears the hallmark of Flower-Pollinator Relationship in particular and Insect-Plant Relationship in general, through the dynamics of pairwise coevolution, reciprocal evolution, mutualism and service-resource relationship. It is almost certainly pollinated by moths, judging by the fragrance and whiteness of its flower, and by the flower’s long, tubular corolla structure known as a spur or nectary.

Those who are interested in detailed discussions on the coevolution of insects and plants may consult the following posts:

There are two common names and more than half a dozen botanical names for this diminutive gem from South Africa and the Kingdom of Swaziland:

Synonyms of Mystacidium capense

Common Names

  1. Cape Of Good Hope Mystacidium
  2. Iphamba (Zulu)

Botanical Names

  1. Aeranthes filicornis (Lindl.) Rchb. f. 1864
  2. Angraecum capense Lindl. 1830-40
  3. Epidendrum capense L. f. 1782
  4. Epidorchis longicornis (Sw.) Kuntze 1891
  5. Limodorum longicornu Sw. 1799
  6. Mystacidium filicorne Lindley 1836
  7. Mystacidium longicornu T. Durand & Schinz 1895

As shown above, Mystacidium capense carries a common name bearing the prominent stature and geographical fame of the Cape of Good Hope, which is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa, and which is often mistakenly believed to be the southernmost point of Africa, as qualified by Cape Agulhas, approximately 150 km to the east-southeast.

According to Brian Tarr from the Natal National Botanic Garden, writing for the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s plant information website in December 2003, Mystacidium capense is traditionally used as a protective and love charm. In the Natal Midlands, the orchid’s dustlike seeds sprout easily on non-indigenous tree species such as cypress and oranges (to the annoyance of some farmers). Other host plants on which the orchid species has been observed in situ as well as the range of winter and summer temperatures and rainfalls are documented as follows by Brenda Oviatt and Bill Nerison, who regard the species as a collector’s item:

Mystacidium capense is the most widespread species of Mystacidium in South Africa. It is found at low altitudes (sea level to 2,300 feet [700 m]) in the hotter, drier areas of the region. It grows epiphytically in Acacia (thorn tree) woodlands and bush, a habitat where few, if any, other epiphytic orchids occur, and sometimes even grows on succulent candelabra Euphorbia trees. We’ve seen pictures of it growing on False Olive (Buddleja saligna), a common shrub in South Africa. In one locality where Mycdm. capense is found, the average June and July temperatures range from lows of 50 F (10 C) to highs of 73.4 F (23 C) with 0.8 inch (21 mm) of rainfall. Average December and January temperatures are lows of 64.4 F (18 C) and highs of 80.6 F (27 C) with about 4¾ inches (120 mm) of rainfall. Do keep in mind that this is in the southern hemisphere.

As the following excerpt from described, this monopodial orchid is a cool to cold growing miniature that prefers growing in shade and being mounted:

Flower Size 1/2″ to 1 1/4″ [1.5 to 3 cm]

Found in South Africa as a miniature sized, clump forming, shade and humidity loving, cool to cold growing epiphyte occuring at elevations of sealevel to 700 meters in the dry savannahs and in evergreen forests in deep shade and has a monopodial growth habit with a short stem covered by sheathing leaf bases each carrying spreading, obovate to oblanceolate, unequally roundly or obtusely bilobed apically leaves that are articulated to the basal leaf sheath bases and all held in one plane that blooms in the late spring and summer on an axillary, pendant, 2 to 4″ [5 to 10 cm] long, few to several [6 to 12] flowered, racemose inflorescence with ovate to obovate, acute or apiculate floral bracts and carrying nocturnally jasmine scented flowers.

Mount this species on cork and hang in semi-shade, give cold to warm temperatures, regular watering while in growth and with a definite drying out and a dry winter rest.

According to Ron (from Lynden, Washington, Pacific Northwest, United States) who published the following on his blog entitled “Orchids in Bloom: My orchidarium and some of the orchids I’ve bloomed”:

Mystacidium capense is a small orchid related to Angraecum and Aerangis and comes from the same general area, in this case from South Africa.  The plant is 8-10 cm across and the flowers are 2 cm tall, but have a very long, 6 cm spur on the back of the lip which is nearly transparent and in which one can see the nectar that attracts the pollinators, almost surely a night-flying moth of some kind.  The flowers have a crystalline texture that is visible in the photos and are sweetly fragrant as well.  The plant is best grown mounted to accommodate the pendant flower spikes and prefer warm temperatures, though I grown it cool to intermediate.

Mystacidium capense Out of Africa

In Australia, Mystacidium capense is still very much a collector’s item, its availability being restricted to dedicated experts and connoisseurs of orchids orginating from South Africa in particular, and of orchids in the Angraecinae or Angraeco​id alliance in general. However, its visibility has been given a substantial boost through high-profile awards in 2015 and 2016 conferred on a floriferous specimen grown by the Haywoods residing in Bendigo, as shown in the following photos.

The Four-Year Journey of a Special Mystacidium capense
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AOC Species Orchid of the year 2015

Tuesday 1:29pm 29 March 2016

Barbara Haywood: Easter here was a quiet affair. We were busy about the garden weeding and watering etc. Potting a few orchids and fertilizing those in the Hothouse.
Sunday we got the most wonderful news. The Secretary of Our VRJP/AOC panel, Stephen, sent us an Email to advise us that our Mystacidium capense ‘Nasarka’ FCC/AOC was officially voted by all the states as AOC Species Orchid of the year 2015. Thank you to everyone on our VRJP/AOC panel and to all those AOC judges who voted for it Australia wide. We are over the moon. Never had we ever dreamed of winning such an award. We are so chuffed, so appreciative, we cannot find enough words!!😀😀😀Max and Barbara.💖

6 inflorecences of 220mm with 39 flowers (9 relevant); petals and sepals White group NN155C with Yellow/Green 145B behind column; labellum White group NN155C

We are very proud tonight. We were presented with the AOC Victorian Species of the year 2015 certificate and the Plaque for the National AOC Species of the year 2015. For our Mystacidium Capense ‘Nasarka’ FCC/AOC. Thank you to all the Victorian and Australian judges who voted for it. Barbara and Max.

Kyk nou wil ek regtig spog met my nuwe toevoeging tot my orgidee’s versameling….Mystacidium Capense….wens julle kan dit sien en ruik…

Mystacidium capense (L.f.) Schltr., Orchideen: 597 (1914).
In habitat, a cool to cold growing epiphyte from South Africa at elevations of sea level to around 800 metres.
The cultivar shown is Mystacidium capense ‘Nasarka’ FCC/AOC
Grown by Barbara Haywood
Photo © Barbara Haywood
‪#‎orchid‬ ‪#‎orchids‬ ‪#‎Gawler‬ ‪#‎art‬ ‪#‎botany‬ ‪#‎Botanical‬

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✿❀ ALISON VIATOS at Queensland Orchid International ❀✿ Originally from New Zealand, Alison...


✿❀ ALISON VIATOS at Queensland Orchid International ❀✿

Originally from New Zealand, (image)Alison Viatos has been residing in Australia and living the good life of an enthusiastic traveller for many years. As a florist and horticulturist by trade, she possesses a keen eye on the floras and staged presentations of many tourist destinations on the one hand. On the other, she is able to observe local vegetations and customs even as she ventures away from the beaten paths into remote trails and villages, especially when she can be assisted by a guide, driver and/or language interpreter.

Being the seasoned vacationer, Alison seems to be fond of visiting once a year one major destination whose name begins with the alphabet B: Brisbane in 2014, Bali in 2015, and Bendigo in 2016. Whilst visiting Brisbane, she had a chance to celebrate Australia Day at the Government House with the Governor, the ex-Patron of the Queensland Orchid Society. One wonders what Alison’s future tours and targets will be in 2017 and beyond, as she continues to be unstoppable on her many shared journeys. Is her next stop going to be Bangkok, Brunei, Bhutan or somewhere else in Southeast Asia or even Australasia?

Having edited and formatted Alison’s essay as well as inserted various photos into their respective places to create a cohesive multimedia post, SoundEagle would hereby like to present to you Alison’s account of her trip to Bali. Hopefully, she will provide additional notes or commentaries on some or all of the photos, each of which can be enlarged and commented upon by anyone reading this post.

An introduction by (image)SoundEagle on 29 July 2016(image)

The Island of Bali in Indonesia

From Sydney to Bali

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, covering an area almost the size of Australia but only 20% is land, the rest is water. My holiday destination was Bali, one of over 17,500 islands that make up Indonesia! Admittedly only about 6000 island are inhabited. My airline flights were rescheduled three times due to volcanic ash clouds in the atmosphere which, when you understand that Indonesia is home to approximately 400 volcanos of which about 130 are active, this is to be expected – right?

Travelling before Christmas of 2015 in Sydney is a perfect time to avoid heavily congested roads and stressed shoppers. However, traveling closer to the equator has certain disadvantages, for example: 100% humidity!!!

My flight was enjoyable and a good opportunity to watch two movies very cheaply to pass the time. There are now facilities to recharge the all-important mobile phone while you sit quietly. My time in Bali was short – only one week. So I was very grateful to have been recommended not only a fantastic, affordable accommodation but also a lovely personal driver by the name of Jack, by my friends who had only recently returned from Bali.

Staying in Seminyak is a must when in Bali. The suburb boasts fashion designer boutiques, homewares, restaurants, cafes and beachside bars in which anyone can enjoy 5 o’clock cocktails and watch the sun setting into the ocean.


Once I had satisfied my shopping needs, I couldn’t wait to get out to the country and see agriculture, landscape and meet the locals – although someone should have mentioned that there are 300 ethnic groups and about 365 different languages spoken!! Thank goodness for Jack – my driver/guide and translator. Local knowledge is a very underestimated treasure!!

(image)(image)(image) Villa accomodation complete with jackfruit tree growing through the bedroom! (image)(image)

I travelled as far north as Bedugal, which is ¾ of the way up the island and situated on Lake Beraton. The major land mark is a Shivaite Balinese Hindu water Temple called: Ulan Danu Bratan Temple.


Local restaurants have the local delicacy of gourami on the menu. I have heard it described as a delicious tasting fish, especially after it’s eaten your expensive fish in the tank!! Only joking!!! I did observe fish farming in the lake.

The journey north was winding and hilly, where single-carriage way was buzzing with scooters around slower cars. The scooters are truly utilized in Asia and often carry whole families and cargo, sometimes both! It is very noticeable when you encounter a tourist riding a scooter or bicycle! It probably takes years of practice to become any good at it. Once again, I was very grateful to have Jack’s driving experience.

I was offered the opportunity to see the beautiful Nungnung waterfall rated as the third most beautiful waterfall in Bali. However, there was one catch – 509 steps down and 509 steps up!!! Now that I know where it is, I shall return when the temperature is cooler and humidity less than 100%!! Postcards have their uses!!

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the vast jungles, tropical fruits and spices growing. In the 1600s, Moluccas Islands were called the Spice Islands, when trades in spices led to the great voyages of Ferdinand Magellan, Christopher Columbus and others.


I only saw one snake slithering into a rice padi near Ubud and we came across a python squished on the road (2 metres long) – it smelt like fish.


A highlight was meeting a luwak (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and tasting the world’s most expensive coffee. The civit /cat like animal swings through the jungle trees at night using its powerful claws and eats fruit and coffee berries, all going well and then there’s the down side whereby they are caged and feed coffee berries exclusively for luwak coffee production.


I observed locals processing the fibre that hangs from palm trees for use in roofing, palm fruit is fermented to make palm sugar – delicious!


Basically, nothing is wasted. I saw cocoa, coconuts, bananas, papaya, peanuts, rice, durian, cloves, passionfruit, cinnamon, mangosteen, mangos, strawberries, jackfruit, mandarins, teak, coffee, vegetables and more.


Bearing in mind all the tropical produce, it stands to reason that the bird life would be impressive. I especially loved the parrots with their colourful plumage.


Bali is a special mix of Balinese Hinduism (or Agama Hindu Dharma) a mix of Buddhism, Hinduism and animism, which is the belief that souls and spirits can be found in all things. Indonesia calls their national airline Garuda, which translates as:

  1. A supernatural eagle-like being that serves as Vishnu’s mount.
  2. The eagle in the coat of arms of Indonesia.

Did you know that the largest flower in the world is Rafflesia arnoldii and is only found in certain parts of Sumatra? Indonesia is also home to the world’s largest lizard – the komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). And no, I didn’t see one this trip – maybe next time and I’d better have my Nike shoes on as they can travel up to 20km per hour!!

From Bali with Orchids

I can hear you say: “What about Orchids?” Well, we’re nearly at the botanical gardens in Pura Ulan Danu in the north. This botanical garden is one of four located in Bali (I’ll leave some for the next trip!!), and construction was in progress, renovating a large fountain in the orchid area.

Emphasis was given to species. The Coelogyne were gorgeous in bloom.


Botanical gardens in Bali


And I saw some Vandas, Phragmipediums, Epidendrums and more.


The cacti glasshouse was truly spectacular as I’m sure that you’ll agree. Interestingly, cacti were introduced to Indonesia by the Dutch in the late 19th century as cattle fodder especially during the dry season. Nowadays cacti are ornamental and some like the dragon fruit (Hylocereus spp) are edible.

(image)(image)(image)(image) Orchid Nursery and Garden Centres

I’d been told about Sanur, a district or suburb, and in between tropical downpours, I visited several garden centres there but mainly orchid ones. The photos tell the story and I was glad to help Jack (my driver) with choosing some Phalaenopsis very cheaply for his wife who, I’m told, has a green thumb. There is one photo of a dwelling and yes it was situated right in the middle of the nursery! It was definitely a family business and I spotted at least three generations busily working. It did seem that some specializing was evident.


And yes, flasks were available – unfortunately, I don’t have space nor the facilities for such purchases as yet.


I loved the tree fern stands with pots for orchids, and watched the nurseryman planting one up ready to go out as an order.


Anyone who knows me will know that I love bromeliads. I couldn’t resist crossing the traffic and photographing this dragon installation made with potted bromeliads. It was an impressive size and made a big impact, especially to me!!


Unfortunately, my week wasn’t to be extended due to the courtesy of Mt Bromo, and I had an overnight flight home until I visit again.

(image) Photo & Video Contributions

Those who are interested in contributing photos or videos can upload them to the Queensland Orchid International Facebook Group.

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Alison Viatos: From Bali with Love✿❀ ALISON VIATOS at Queensland Orchid International ❀✿ Originally from New Zealand, Alison Viatos has been residing in Australia and living the good life of an enthusiastic traveller for many years.
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