Horticultural apprentice Reece Pennick with the Stanhopea tigrina

Rare Orchid Flowers At Houghall Campus

Wed, 2001-10-17 01:00

An exotic rare orchid has started to flower at East Durham College’s Houghall Campus Butterfly House for the first time in 10 years.

The Stanhopea tigrina, named after the Earl of Stanhope, former President of the Medico-Botanical Society, originates from South America.

Members of staff at the Houghall Campus have had the Orchid planted in the Butterfly House on an artificial tree for 10 years.

The Orchid has continued to grow during this period, giving off the odd flower, but this is the first time it has had multiple flowers growing from it.

The flowers are born in pairs, each the size of a fist and they are pollinated by a specific kind of Iridescent Bee but the heavily scented flowers only last for a few days.

The flowering has been met with huge excitement from experts around the Houghall site, due to the rarity of the flowers and the number it has produced, despite only surviving for a short time.

Mike Hirst, a horticultural lecturer at Houghall for over 30 years, said: “It was really impressive. In all my years I have never seen a plant of this species in cultivation produce so many flowers.

“The Stanhopea has not flowered here for a number of years and it was exciting to see it produce so many, even though individually they only last two or three days.”