In the early 1970s, I was as obsessed with orchids as I currently am now with hummers. I had 200 or so plants, mostly Encyclia
, and Brassavola
. I never observed a hummer using any of those, but they did visit a fine silvery-colored Cattleya skinneri
, the national flower of Costa Rica.
More recently - like within the last 2 weeks - I have seen magnificent Phaius tankervilliae
in full flower at 2 of our sites and hummers were using those exquisite blooms at both locales.
Orchid pollen is quite unique in that it is enmassed in a small ball of wax, called a pollinium. The orchid family is extremely large and diverse. Similarly, pollinating vectors are diverse. Bees are often given the honor of pollinating orchids, some of which are very fragrant. The charming little Spiranthes
are generally pollinated by mosquitoes.
In my 'orchid period', I was more interested in fragrances than in nectar, so I never had the opportunity to test nectar. I just might bring the testing kit on Sunday to check on the Phaius tankervilliae
Nancy L Newfield
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9