classification
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Maxillarieae
Subtribe: Lycastinae
Genus: Anguloa
Species: A. uniflora

THE SWADDLED BABIES ORCHID

The swaddled babies orchid - Anguloa uniflora is a stunningly beautiful terrestrial orchid from the Colombian Andes. It was discovered during a ten year expedition (1777 to 1788) to Peru and Chile by botanists Hipólito Ruiz López and José Antonio Pavón Jiménez. However it wasn't formally classified until 1798 when it was named in honor of Don Francisco de Angulo, Director-General of Mines, in Peru.

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Anguloa uniflora is only about 18 to 24 inches tall with thin pleated leaves above conical pseudobulbs. The most outstanding feature of this plant are its complex flowers which, at a certain stage of opening, look uncannily like a baby wrapped in swaddling cloth - be it a rather ugly one. These large, fragrant, creamy-white, waxy flowers usually bloom in the spring and in the summer and are overwhelmingly fragrant. Each bloom develops from a single stem that rises from the base of the pseudobulbs. 

The lip of the flower is hinged so when pollinating insects enter the flower in search for nectar, they are pushed against the column where a packet of pollen (called a pollinium) is secured to them, generally on the head or abdomen. When the insect enters another flower of the same species, the pollinium will stick to the stigma of the second flower. 

In its natural habitat Anguloa uniflora is found at elevations of 1400 to 2500 meters, so it is no surprise that when growing it at home you will need to create shady conditions of intermediate to cold temperatures. The growing medium should be kept evenly moist although it will require less water in winter. To encourage flowering, watering should be decreased after it has finished its growth. 

For related article click onto the following links:

Naked Man Orchid - Orchis italica  The Angel orchid - Habenaria Grandifloriformis   THE ORCHID CACTUS - Disocactus ackermannii    The Orchid Primula  THE MOTH ORCHID - Phalaenopsis species and cultivars    The White Egret Flower

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About the Author

The 'Seeds of Eaden' website is the brainchild of professional horticulturist and multi-award winning gardener Simon Eade. After six years of study; two years 'Retail Horticulture' at Hadlow College, then four years Commercial Horticulture at Greenwich University, Simon has worked in a number of 'fields' within the industry for over twenty years. Most notably, managing the prestigious Alexandra Palace garden centre in London. Since then he has become an internationally published writer, and author of the popular 'Garden of Eaden' blog.

Simon Eade is also a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Banksian medal

You can contact the 'Seeds of Eaden' at gardenofeaden@gmail.com