What's blooming at Baltimore's Rawlings Conservatory?
Encyclia cochleata or Prosthechea cochleata
This flower is known as the cockleshell orchid or clamshell orchid because of the upside down lip on its bloom.
The unusual flower is striking for its almost black purple and light green tentacles. In Mexico it is refered to as “pulpo” since it resembles an octopus.
Encyclias are an easy to grow and will bloom for several months. They prefer low to medium light and warm temperatures.
Photo credit: Michael Lemmon