Stanhopea in bloom

I bought this in spike from John – it has a lovely scent. It’s an unknown variety — if someone out there recognizes it, please let me know. The colour is a bit more yellow than shown here.

I actually think it looks like a bird in flight, right down to the two eyes. I was curious to know if the appearance of the bloom has any role in pollenation (as in, fooling some creature into humping or bumping it and transferring the pollen that way — don’t laugh, it really happens), but, apparently not. Stanhopeas, which are from Central and South America, are are pollinated by euglossine bees that are attracted by the scent:

(credit: University of Missouri-St. Louis)

The genus, which was named in 1829, is named for the Rt Hon. Philip Henry Stanhope, Earl of Stanhope, President of the Medico-Botanical Society of London 1829-1837.

More about Stanhopeas