Discover Dracula species:

 
         
   

In general the plants grow at elevations between 1500 and 2300 meters, but some grow at elevations below 300 meters and some grow even higher as 2300 meters. All plants grow in the shadow of the trees en hardly even get direct sunlight. In their habitats these plants grow on branches of trees which are covered with moss. At these places the roots of the plants always stay moist (not wet!) because the humidity also is very high.

In the past 10 years new species have been discovered in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama and Peru. But it also happens that plants that are in a collections for several years start flowering, and these plants are new to science. This has happened f.i. with Dracula brangeri (Luer)1968, which was named after the grower of this plant, (he’s one of the founders of the Werkgroep Masdevallia), Christiaan Branger.

Mr. Branger got the plant from Hubein from Berlin, who collected the plant in 1979. The plant flowered for the first time in october 1985, and was officially described in 1986. Only a few of these plants are cultivated in collections.

The same thing happened with Dracula terborchii, which was collected in the northwest of Ecuador, in the Carchi area by the collectors of Jose Portilla. Since 1996 this plant was cultivated by Herman ter Borch, who flowered it in 1997. In 1998 a flower was sent to Dr. C.A. Luer who described the new species. There are two types of this plant in cultivation.



Dracula in suite

clicked on to enlarged image

   
   

In the nineties Draculas were very popular amongs enthousiasts in The Netherlands and Sweden. A number of species got their name when they were named after Swedish or Dutch growers.
Dracula dalstroemii, lafleurii, lindstroemii. soennemarkii
Dracula antonii, brangerii, sijmii, terborchii.

In the eighties and nineties a group of Swedish enthousiasts, with Stig Dalstroem amongst them, collected a large number of plants in Ecuador. Plants like Dracula alcithoë, dalessandroi, dalstroemii, felix, gigas, hirtzii, iricolor, lafleurii, levii, lindstroemii, mantissa, marsupualis, mopsus, morleyi, radiosa, rezekiana, sibundoyënsis, sodiroi, ubangina, vampira, woolwardiae. Some of the species were found by them for the first time ever.

   
   

Orchid collecting in wet forest in the Los Cedros reserve, Ecuador January 1993
Stig Dalström, Thomas Höijer, Henni Wanntorp & Morley Read

   
   

In contrast to what most people think, Draculas do well in the temperate to temperate-cold greenhouse. This means daytime temperatures should not go higher than 30C, night time temperatures should be around 12 – 15C. These are not the temperatures from a cold greenhouse. Also plants want to be well protected against direct sunlight during summer, but should receive plenty of sunlight in winter.

The Dracula species are best grown in baskets, this allowing the flowerspikes to grow down and leave the baskets to flower. Hanging baskets are prefered. The plants love a gentle breeze, so make sure there’s sufficient ventilation in your greenhouse. Also check if you can open the windows to let fresh air in.