Guest Author - Terri Lewin
Guest columnist Terri Lewin is a member of the American Orchid Society and the Niagara Frontier Orchid Society. She teaches horticulture at Niagara County Community College and is the curator of the orchid collection at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. She grows under lights at home and has a personal collection approximately 125 plants. This is a continuing series on miniature orchids she grows.
Oncidium cheirophorum is the perfect orchid for people who love the ‘dancing ladies’, but do not have room for larger Oncidiums. Nicknamed the “Hand carrying Orchid” and “Colombian Buttercup”; this small plant puts on a show of bright yellow fragrant flowers in the fall.
Oncidium cheirophorum has small roundish pseudobulbs with a single leaf at the top. It is easily grown under medium light conditions, but will like to be acclimated to either a South or West window, or stand it on a pot to get it closer to your fluorescent bulbs. Those of you growing under high intensity lights have enough light, but need to ensure that the smaller plants get enough humidity and do not get too warm. This plant likes to be grown under intermediate to cool temperature conditions. Flowers are formed on 12 inch inflorescences.
Oncidium cheirophorum is crossed with O. ornithorynchum to form a very popular cross, Oncidium Twinkle. Fragrance Fantasy is a good clone with off white flowers and a powerful fragrance, sometimes emitting two spikes from each bulb. There is also a brand new clone, Oncidium Twinkle ‘Sharry Baby’ which looks exactly like Onc. Sharry Baby ‘Sweet Fragrance’, except it is only 6” tall. ( Oncidium ornithorynchum, which is another worthwhile mini, is a grandparent of Onc. Sharry Baby, one of the best selling orchid grexes of all time.) These plants grow rapidly and robustly, producing a specimen plant in relatively little time.