11
Jan
2010
Bletilla striata
Flowers | Liliopsida

Scientific Name – Bletilla striata (Thunb. ex A. Murray) Rchb.

Synonim – Limodorum striatum Thunb., Epidendrum tuberosum Lour., Cymbidium hycanthinum J. E. Smith, Bletia byacinthina R. Br.

Common name(s) – shi-ran, pai chi, bai-ji, hardy orchid, hyacinth bletilla.

Distribution and Habitat – native to south Japan and China. Grow on grassy slopes and in the margins of woods and thickets, 1100 up to 3200 m.

Description – stem erect, irregular-ovoid pseudobulb. Leaves 4-5, oblong-lanceolate, 8-29 x 1.5-4 cm, acuminate at apex. Inflorecence terminal, 3-8 flowered; bracts caduceus; flowers 5-5.5 cm across, rose-pink or sometimes white; lip marked with white, yellow and purplish-pink; sepals and petals oblong-lanceolate, 2.8-3 cm x 7-8 mm; lip subovate, 2.3-2.8 x 2.2 cm, 3-lobed; side-lobes erect; mid-lobe sub-obovate, slightly emarginated at apex, strongly undulate on the margin. Flowering period April-June.

Growth rate

Tolerances – tolerate alkaline soils.

Requirements – prefer acid to neutral, fertile, moist, well-drained soils; full sun, afternoon shade.

Management – after flowering, the plants are fertilized with a balanced fertilizer monthly.

Propagation – by division of pseudobulbs, in early spring. Enrich the bed if needed of organic material; after a good soaking, the bed is ready for its new transplants. Mulch with pine needles.

Pest and Diseases – Slugs and snails can damage new growth emerging in spring.

Garden Partners – Corydalis sp., Heuchera sp., Polygonatum sp., Primula sp.

Cultivars – ‘Alba’ has white flowers.

‘Albostriata’ leaves with white margin.

‘First Kiss’ with white flowers and leaves with white margin.

Properties and Uses – rhizome is produced chiefly in southern and southwestern China, collected in summer and autumn. Functions : reduces swelling, and promotes the regeneration of tissue.

Curiosity

Bibliography

Hanne N. Rasmussen – Terrestrial Orchids from Seed to Mycotrophic Plant – Cambridge University Press, 1995

Marie Harrison – Groundcovers for the South – Pineapple Press, 2006

Sinqchi Chen, Zhanhuo Tsi, Yibo Luo – Native Orchids of China in Colour – Elsevier Science, 2007

Steven Foster, Yue Chonqxi – Herbal Emissaries – Healing Arts Press, 1992

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