Beautiful bloom at Botanic Park

The Queen of Orchids with its distinctive dark markings.

The Queen of Orchids, Grammatophyllum speciosum, is starting to bloom at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, General Manager John Lawrus said.

Botanic Park staffer Moses Haughton with the flowering orchid.

The orchid is located behind the Visitors Centre, on the patio.

“Currently, the flower spike is 4-5 feet in length, and may reach up to 8-9 feet in length,” said Mr. Lawrus.

He is hopeful that with the first bloom opening last week, the flowers may last until the upcoming orchid show on Feb. 27-28. “We originally received the orchid in 2003 as a plant that was only about 12 inches in size. It has grown over the years and finally has matured into a blooming-size plant,” he said.

The plant has many common names, such as Queen of Orchids, Tiger Orchid and Sugar Cane Orchid, and is native to South East Asia.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in England states that the Queen of Orchids may be the largest of all orchids, featuring immense leafy stems which can each be several meters long.

At maturity, it can flower every two to four years, with flowers lasting for up to two months.

Mr. Lawrus noted the flower spike can grow up to a half inch a day in perfect conditions. “The flowers are also beautifully fragrant, more noticeable in the early morning and late afternoon.

The park’s specimen has been taken care of by nursery staff, headed by Trevor Leslie and volunteer Lisa Brodlie.

“Please only take pictures and do not touch,” said Mr. Lawrus. “This will allow all visitors a chance to see this beauty for the month of February.”