Aerangis somalensis

Family: Orchidaceae

Countries: Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe

Aerangis somalensis is a small sized, epiphytic orchid species, which can be found growing in various locations.  Plants grow in both dry areas of woodland, as well as near streams and rivers, in Africa.  The second part of this orchid species’ name – the specific epithet – derives from Somalia where this orchid is from, but this is not the only location where this orchid is found.  Aerangis somalensis can also be found growing in Ethiopia, Malawi, and Kenya.  In the wild, Aerangis somalensis is often found growing upon Brachystegia trees.  Aerangis somalensis is an epiphytic orchid species; this plant produces thick roots, which have a strong grip and firmly attach the orchid to its host tree.

Aerangis somalensis receives a drier winter period in its native environment, where for six months of the year, the plants receive very little water.  If you plan to grow Aerangis somalensis yourself, you will need to replicate the plant’s natural growing conditions and provide this small sized orchid species with a drier winter period and a wetter summer period.  During this drier winter, you will need to mist your plants with rainwater every now and then.  I always favour misting these orchids, and any other orchids that are having a winter rest period, in the early mornings, so the plants can dry out again by nightfall.

As with other orchids, there’s no need to use any fertiliser outside of your plant’s growing period. Examine your plant and check that it is actively growing, before you use any fertilisers.  Aerangis somalensis grows well under bright filtered, indirect light.  This orchid species grows best, when it’s mounted on cork bark.

Aerangis somalensis produces white flowers, which feature very long, thin, and rather straggly nectaries.  This orchid species produce fragrant blooms; Aerangis somalensis inflorescences release their perfume in the early evening, and at night, to attract the group of moths that act as their pollinators.

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