Aerides is a monopodial type of orchids. All are epiphytes except for Aerides krabviensis
, which is a lithophyte. Aerides comes from various parts of Asia including Sikkim, Assam, Laos
, the Philippines
and Papua New Guinea. It produces beautiful sprays of flowers that look like the bushy tail of the box, hence Aerides is commonly known as the Foxtail Orchid. The flowers usually open all at once, and range in colour from white to pink, yellow, magenta, mauve and even green. The petals and sepals usually spread out while the lateral sepals are broader than the dorsal sepals.
Aerides are easy to grow orchids. As their name suggest, they like an airy place. Give them plenty of sunshine. If you live in the tropics, you can grow them by tying them to a tree. Another way is to grow them in empty wooden baskets.
Aerides enjoy frequent feeding. A well tended plant may produce as many as 20 or even 50 sprays all opening at the same time, a truly spectacular sight. The flowering period is around April to May in a tropical climate such as in Thailand, where 8 species of Aerides are found.
The following are some of the species of Aerides:
- Aerides houlettiana
- Aerides lawrenceae
- Aerides multiflora
- Aerides odorata
- Aerides Rosea
Aerides has been extensively hydridized. Hydriders go for four characteristics of the Aerides which are sought after: the large red lip with accent on the spur, the close arrangement, the flat flowers, and the delicate suffusion of colour on on the sepals and petals. Aerides lawrenceae is the one that is most often used by hybridising. It is hybridized with strap-leaf and terete Vanda, Arachnis, Ascocentrum, Ascoglossum, Phalaenopsis, Paraphalaenopsis, Renanthera and Rhynchostylis.
- Orchids of Asia, by Teoh Eng Soon
- The Macdonald Encyclopedia of Orchids
- Orchid Growing in the Tropics, by the Orchid Society of South East Asia