Guest Author - Susan Taylor
The genus has a total of six species of which two species are commonly grown by orchid enthuiasts Hexisea bidentata and Hexisea imbricata . They are found in Central to South America generally growing in intermediate conditions. The name indicates that the three sepals and three petals are equal in size and shape, rather than having a distinguishing lip as most orchids have. Both plants mentioned here have an unusual growth habit, the bulbs grow on top of each other eventually making a mound -- to 12 inches, 30.5 centimeters -- if left unchecked. They can be kept to a small size by removing the new bulbs from the top of the mound and planting them. Most are small plants which can be grown with Cattleya Alliance plants.
Hexisea bidentata is the type species (first named species in the genus). This plant is somewhat larger than the following and is distinguished by a darker purple spot on the lip. The bright red flowers are presented in clusters with half-inch or one centimeter individual flowers. The grooved pseudobulbs are approximately 4 inches or 10 centimeters tall with two purplish leaves. They bloom from fall through spring, need bright indirect light and prefer hot to intermediate conditions.
Hexisea imbricata is found in Mexico south to Peru as a hot to warm growing ephiphyte (growing on trees) and lithophyte (growing on rocks). One nice feature of the plant is that it will bloom continuously from fall to late spring with cheerful bright red flowers with yellow on the lip. The pseudobulbs of this species are mostly smooth and somewhat smaller than the type species. There is more variety in flower color for this species from red to salmon with varying colors on the lip.
Here is a listing of some vendors who provide seed-grown species. Of course, not all species are always available. If youíre interested in something, talk to some of these vendors to see if thereís another variety that is close. Often the only difference would be 8 inches tall versus 6 inches or a different colored flower. Also, please mention that you are calling as a result of seeing them recommended on BellaOnline Orchids.
Carter and Holmes
First Rayís Orchids
Oak Hill Farm
Parkside Orchids Nursery
Tropical Orchid Farm