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Orchids/Phalaenopsis type with center flower spike


4  nubs
4 nubs  

I have a large orchid that had one center spike when I purchased it and white Phalaenopsis type flowers. The spike did not come from the side above a leaf but right out of the center.

The plant was not in good shape, in fact it had been kept too wet and was in the process of dying. I took it out of the pot, cut off the dead roots and repotted it into new clean bark. It survived and is now a very healthy looking plant. When I repotted it I noticed what I thought were 4 root beginnings below the lowest leaf. They were immediately next to one another and a reddish brown color. Now some 3 years later they are still there and have not grown, nor has it produced another flower spike or leaf. It has made lots of new roots.

My questions are 2. What might those 4 nubs be and is this ever likely to spike again? As the spike came from the center I don't see how it could produce another. Oh, one more question, what kind of orchid might this be?

Thank you,

ANSWER: Thank you Linda.  Very interesting.  It is difficult to identify the part of the plant from which the four nubs originate. It may be an old leaf which was cut off near its base.  The nubs may be roots whose growth was aborted when the leaf was cut off.  Leaves and flower spikes originate from meristemmatic tissue near the base of the plant.  If that tissue was damaged (due to extremely wet conditions), you may have root growth but no leaves or flower spikes.  Best way to check this out is to increase the light level.  Light levels sufficient for growth may not be sufficient to promote flowering. Sufficient light may produce a slight reddening of leaf tissue.  Dark green leaves make for a healthy plant but a nonflowering plant.  Your pictures appear to depict a phalaenopsis or doritanopsis type of orchid.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks, I will try more light.

I am still wondering though how any more leaves or flowers can be produced since the last spike was a terminal one. Would it produce a new plant from the base? If not is it just a matter of time before the whole thing dies?


Linda, it may be that any future flowering would arise from new vegetative growth (ie leaves). New leaf growth suggests viable meristemmatic tissue. Yes, if you get no more leaf growth, then this suggests that there is no remaining meristemmatic tissue.


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Wayne King


Any question about orchid culture. I have thirty+ yrs of growing experience,president 2x of our local Orchid Growers Guild,held a position in most all other offices associated with the Guild at one time or another. Head of Orchid judging team for local club meetings and some shows. Member of two Orchid Socities and local Rep.for Mid America Orchid Congress for several yrs.I have in my collection about 800 Orchid plants of all types.


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