Lepanthes aculeata

Family: Orchidaceae

Countries: Americas, Ecuador, Peru, South America

Lepanthes aculeata is a mini miniature orchid species that produces bright and cheerful, red, orange and yellow coloured blooms.  The flowers arise from the underside of a leaf; as the leaves are fairly upright they actually display Lepanthes aculeata’s flowers rather nicely.

I adore almost all Lepanthes species’ leaves, but I’m especially fond of Lepanthes aculeata’s foliage.  These tiny leathery leaves are two toned: the top side of Lepanthes aculeata’s leaf is a lovely leafy-green colour, while the underside of the leaves are coloured in a very handsome tone of mauve and this side has a rougher bristly-looking texture.  The back of each tiny leaf has the finest outline of leaf-green, which makes a gorgeous contrast to the mauve; this miniature orchid is simply delightful!  Although this miniature orchid’s appearance is very pleasing, its leaf characters hold vital functions that help the orchid absorb light.

This is the underside of a Lepanthes aculeata leaf – isn’t it glorious?

In the wild, Lepanthes aculeata plants can be growing in areas that range from around 1000-2000m, on the slopes of the Andes mountains.  This orchid’s common name is the Prickly Lepanthes – don’t worry, this little plant doesn’t have any thorns, but the undersides of its leaves look as if they’re covered in tiny spines or prickles when they’re studied closely.

This is a teeny, tiny orchid that thrives in cool temperatures.  Lepanthes aculeata requires consistently high humidity levels with daily misting, accompanied by soft, gentle, diffused, semi-shaded lighting.  This is a miniature epiphytic orchid.  Plants can be cultivated as mounted plants or grown in small containers.

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