My National Collection of Miniature Aerangis and Angraecum Species

It may surprise you to know that in the garden, as well as on the catwalk, fashions change and evolve, often quicker than we expect.  A plant that’s regarded as a ‘must have’ plant one minute, can soon be taken for granted and neglected, before being cast aside and forgotten the next.  Our fast evolving and progressive plant trends could result in the extinction of some of the plants that we once held dear.  All too quickly these plants could be forgotten, when they could be lost to us forever, often unintentionally, and perhaps before we realise, or even notice that they are in decline.  It’s all too easy to assume that your favourite plant will always be there to order, to purchase and grow whenever you wish, but unless we are growing these plants ourselves, there’s no real guarantee, as often plant stocks are far lower than expected.

Plant Heritage is a charitable organisation that works to protect plants, by encouraging the growing, propagation, distribution, and protection of plant species, hybrids, and cultivars.  Plant Heritage’s aim is to maintain, support, and encourage the growing of a diverse range of all types of plants, from trees, grasses, shrubs, bulbs, corms, tubers, medicinal plants, edible plants, herbs, climbers, and wild, native plants and plant species: Plant Heritage care about plants from every single plant group, whether a plant is new or old, naturally occurring or an artificial hybrid!

Sarah Cook holds a National Collection of Irises that were introduced by Sir Cedric Morris.

These irises are part of Sarah Cook’s National Collection of Irises which were introduced by Sir Cedric Morris.

Plant Heritage achieve their aims through raising awareness of plants, or groups of plants that members of the public may not even realise have fallen out of fashion and are now threatened and at risk.  Many of the plants that are not currently in vogue can be very valuable plants.  An out of fashion plant may hold great sentimental value, being representative of its time and of a past era, therefore holding precious memories for many of us.  A threatened plant may be an important part of the history of a family, a business, or part of the meaningful past of a village, town, county, or area of the country.

Linda Heywood and her husband Ray, with their National Collection of Echium species and cultivars from Macaronesian Islands, inside the Floral Marquee, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016.

Threatened plants’ may also be precious in terms of a plant’s genetics, a plant may be particularly suited to growing in specific areas of the country, a plant may succeed in a particular soil, be more adept at growing in times of drought, or in times of heavy rainfall in water logged soils, or more tolerant of cold or of high temperatures.  A plant may flower earlier or later than other plants of its type, or have a greater resistance to pests or diseases.  Plants often have great medicinal value, we are only just beginning to understand how some plants can improve and aid our own wellbeing and to discover how plants can help us.

Plant Heritage facilitate a Plant Exchange where Plant Heritage members can donate and receive plants.  This Plant Exchange helps to keep endangered plants alive, by ensuring that plants are passed on to other gardeners who will take pleasure in growing and ideally propagating their plants, passing the plants that they produce onto other gardeners, thereby continuing the chain and enabling a more diverse range of plants to remain in cultivation.

Growing a single plant can help more than you may realise.  Plant Heritage encourage gardeners who grow a rare plant to register with Plant Heritage as a Plant Guardian.  The aim of the Plant Guardian scheme is to highlight plants that are rare in the wild, or in cultivation, to propagate these plants, distributing plant materials and cuttings to other gardeners, who will in turn grow on and then propagate their plants and distribute them.  This cumulative effort can save a plant from extinction, often safeguarding the plant’s future.

The Gold Medal winning exhibit created by Nigel Hewitt-Cooper from Hewitt-Cooper Carnivorous Plants.

Plant Heritage support and encourage National Collection Holders to maintain a particular group of plants.  National Collection Holders can be individuals, friends, couples, families, teams of work colleagues, or groups of people, who have taken a particular interest in a specific group of plants.  Currently there are over six hundred and thirty National Plant Collections in existence!  These range from National Collections set up to honour a particular plant breeder, for example Sarah Cook’s National Collection of Irises introduced by Sir Cedric Morris, or to safe guard plants from a particular location, such as Linda Heywood’s National Collection of Echium species and cultivars from Macaronesian Islands.  There are many collections of fascinating plants like Nigel Hewitt-Cooper, of Hewitt-Cooper Carnivorous Plants’ National Collection of Drosera, Julian Reed holds a National Collection of Hardy Polypodium cultivars, while Jonathan Hogarth holds a National Collection of Small and Miniature Hostas.  Fibrex Nurseries hold two National Collections, a National Collection of Hedera and a National Plant Collection of Pelargoniums.  Not forgetting pollinator friendly plants – Jackie Currie holds a National Collection of Allium species, cultivars, and hybrids.  These are just a tiny snapshot of the National Plant Collections held by passionate, dedicated gardeners, who are keen to grow, preserve, and conserve a specific section of plants for the future.

Jackie Currie pictured with her beautiful Allium exhibit, which featured a selection of plants from Jackie’s National Collection of Alliums, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017.

Julian Reed pictured with his beautiful Polypodium and Athyrium National Collection, inside the Floral Marquee, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017. The RHS judges presented Julian with a Silver-Gilt Medal for this fantastic exhibit, which has been created to raise awareness of the beautiful nature of Polypodium, and to showcase what super garden ferns this genus includes.

National Plant Collections protect and conserve the unique gene pool of cultivated plants.  There are many ways that you can support Plant Heritage.  You may wish to become a member, or you may wish to donate to support Plant Heritage.  Plant Heritage members enjoy many benefits, they can attend a variety of horticultural talks, events, and workshops, and attend visits to gardens and nurseries.

Aerangis hyaloides inflorescences. I have included a British five pence piece in this photograph, to more accurately reflect the size and scale of this diminutive orchid and its captivating, glass like flowers.

A closer look at the beautiful, sparkling, crystalline flowers produced by Aerangis hyaloides.

A closer look at this Aerangis hyaloides specimen’s inflorescences.

I enjoy growing a large collection of miniature orchids.  Some of my plants are rare, some of my plants can be challenging to grow.  As I was growing a number of rare plants, I wanted to register these plants with Plant Heritage and create a National Plant Collection.  Last month Plant Heritage awarded me National Plant Collection Status for my collection of Miniature Aerangis and Angraecum species.

This is the certificate for my National Collection of miniature Aerangis and Angraecum species.

You can see a list of the miniature Aerangis and Angraecum species that I hold in my National Collection in the inventory below.  You can click on a plant to discover more information about a particular orchid species.  On each plant page you’ll also find links to each article I have written about that particular species.  The growth and development of individual plants can be followed through my regular terrarium trial updates:

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Aerangis biloba is a small sized, epiphytic orchid species, which is endemic to Africa, where this plant grows on the branches of trees that grow in humid forests and woodlands. Before I grew Aerangis biloba myself, I was previously under the impression that Aerangis biloba…

Aerangis calantha is a miniature, epiphytic orchid species that can be found growing in a variety of locations including: the Congo, Africa, Angola, and Uganda.  Before humans encroached into and altered the landscape of this orchid’s natural habitat and environment, Aerangis calantha could to be found growing…

Aerangis citrata is a miniature, epiphytic orchid species, which is endemic to Madagascar, where plants from this orchid species can very occasionally be found growing upon trees, in areas of evergreen forest.  Sadly Aerangis citrata has been over collected in the wild, as a response to…

Aerangis fastuosa can be found in the eastern and central Madagascar highlands, between 900 and 1750m.  This miniature, epiphytic orchid species grows in a number of different natural habitats, from humid, evergreen forests, to mountain and coastal forests, where it flowers from July to December each…

Aerangis fuscata is a miniature sized epiphytic orchid species, which is endemic to Madagascar, where this orchid grows on the twiggy, moss and lichen coated branches of large shrubs and small trees, in rainforest and forested areas.  Aerangis fuscata can be found growing in both…

Aerangis hariotiana is a miniature to small sized, epiphytic orchid species that originates from the Comoros Islands, where this orchid can be found growing on trees, in areas of humid forest. Aerangis hariotiana originates from a group of islands which offer warm to hot growing conditions. …

Aerangis hyaloides is endemic to Eastern Madagascar, where this miniature, epiphytic orchid species grows on the branches of trees, in moist areas of shady, evergreen forests.  Aerangis hyaloides produces racemose inflorescences of up to twenty, white coloured, glistening blooms, from winter to early spring each year. The…

Aerangis kirkii is a miniature to small sized, epiphytic orchid species, that originates from South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Mozambique, where plants can be found growing upon both trees and shrubs in forested areas. Aerangis kirkii is a warm growing orchid species, that requires filtered,…

Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta is a miniature epiphytic orchid species from Kenya and Africa.  Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta produces attractive white, crystalline, slightly fragrant flowers, which have a bright orange-red column, or centre. Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta enjoys warm, humid conditions, and bright, filtered, indirect…

Aerangis macrocentra can be found in Madagascar, where this miniature orchid species grows low down, close to ground level, as an epiphyte, on trees and other plants that are growing in mossy forests.  Aerangis macrocentra produces long, pendant, many flowered inflorescences. Sadly Aerangis macrocentra has…

Aerangis modesta is a small sized, epiphytic orchid species, which is endemic to Madagascar, where this orchid can be found growing upon trees, in forested areas.  You might not look twice at this plant when it’s not in bloom, but Aerangis modesta is so very beautiful…

Aerangis mooreana is a miniature, epiphytic orchid species, which originates from Madagascar and the Comoros Islands, where this orchid can be found growing on the branches of trees, growing on fairly low-lying ground, in humid forests.  Aerangis mooreana produces pendent flowering stems holding a number…

Aerangis mystacidii is a miniature, epiphytic orchid species, which originates from Africa, Malawi, and Zambia, where this particular orchid species can be found growing upon trees, in areas of forest, close to streams, pools, or springs. Aerangis mystacidii produces pendent flower spikes, which bear up to twenty,…

Aerangis punctata is an epiphytic orchid species, which can be found growing in central highland Madagascar, and also on the island nation of Reunion, at elevations between 900m and 1500m. Aerangis punctata grows in humid, evergreen forests, and in highland forests and scrubland, where this plant can…

Aerangis somalensis is a small sized, epiphytic orchid species, which can be found growing in different areas.  Aerangis somalensis plants grow in both dry areas of woodland, as well as near streams in Africa, namely in Somalia, which is where the second part of this orchid…

In August 2014, I purchased an Aerangis fastuosa specimen online to grow inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, but when the plant arrived it didn’t look very much like an Aerangis fastuosa.  I received a question from a reader in January 2016, who asked…

Aerangis spiculata is a miniature epiphytic orchid species, which originates from Madagascar and the Comoros Islands, where this plant can be found growing upon trees, in areas of humid forest. Aerangis spiculata produces large, white, pendant flowers, in racemes that feature up to 20 inflorescences,…

Aerangis verdickii is a miniature epiphytic or lithophytic orchid species, which grows both low down on rocks, and high up in the branches of woodland trees.  As this orchid species can be found growing near the tops of trees in open woodland, in its native…

Angraecum aloifolium is an epiphytic orchid species, which is endemic to Madagascar.  Angraecum aloifolium can be found growing on trees, in areas of dry, deciduous forest in the Mahajanga Province, which can be found in the Northwestern region of Madagascar.  Here Angraecum aloifolium grows at…

Angraecum bancoense is a miniature, epiphytic orchid species, which can be found growing on trees, in very humid rainforests, in various parts of Africa.  This pretty miniature orchid species is often seen growing upon deciduous trees, which are growing near ponds or waterfalls, in rainforest…

Angraecum compactum is an epiphytic, miniature orchid species, which is endemic to Madagascar, where this orchid can be found growing in a variety of habitats, including humid forests. Angraecum compactum produces large, white flowers, with long curved nectaries, this Angraecum’s flowers are fragrant in the…

Angraecum cucullatum is a miniature, epiphytic orchid species that originates from the island of Reunion and Mauritius, where plants grow upon trees, in forested areas of the country. Cultivated Angraecum cucullatum plants need to be grown under filtered, diffused light.  This orchid species flourishes in…

Angraecum didieri is endemic to Madagascar, where this miniature orchid species can be found growing upon trees in humid, evergreen forests.  This epiphytic miniature orchid species grows well when mounted on either cork or cedar bark.  You could also grow Angraecum didieri in a small pot,…

Angraecum distichum is a miniature, epiphytic orchid species, which can be found growing upon trees and plants in a shaded locations within rainforest areas.  This orchid species can be discovered growing upon trees, which are found growing over a wide range of tropical locations, from…

Angraecum dollii is a miniature, epiphytic orchid species, which is endemic to Madagascar. Angraecum dollii enjoys a dry season in its native environment.  It’s wise to be mindful of the plant’s natural growing conditions and to include a dry season in your growing regime, in…

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Other articles that may interest you……………….

I hold two National Collections, to read about my National Plant Collection of Phalaenopsis species, please click here.

Click here to see all of the articles I have written about the plants in my National Plant Collections.

To read the first installment of my White Orchid Terrarium Trial, please click here.

To read about Phalaenopsis honghenensis, please click here.

To see a planting list of orchids, ferns and other plants that thrive when grown inside terrariums, bottle gardens and vivariums, please click here.

I have a large number of Phalaenopsis plants growing inside my Orchidarium, to read about how my Orchidarium was built, please click here.

To read about the new features of the 2017 BiOrbAir Terrarium, please click here.

To read about Jackie Currie’s National Collection of Alliums, please click here.

To read about Jonathan Hogarth’s National Collection of Hostas, please click here.

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