Photographs can often mislead the casual observer about the actual size of a particular species. At first glance, things are not always what they seem. A picture of Aerangis punctata, an angraecoid native to the central highlands of Madagascar, is the embodiment of this. At first it appears to possess myriad key characteristics that make the most stunning orchids so appealing; obscenely large flowers in relation to overall plant size, gray foliage punctuated with tiny, charcoal colored spots, and curious verrucose roots. The long spur and unusual coloring for an angraecoid makes for an exceptionally elegant, if not short lived, floral display.
A secong glance confirms the fact that, for those unfamiliar with this species, this plant is impossibly tiny.
I have never seen this plant outside of my collection, but for me, when I had supposedly received a flowering sized plant in the mail, I thought there had been a mistake. Once accustomed to its petite size and frustratingly slow, but robust growth, I find that the diminutive stature of this plant only adds to its already unique appeal. This is perhaps the most interesting angraecoid in my collection, but must qualify this by saying that I haven’t grown a wide range of the species. Certainly, there are many other species I would love to try.
I have had this plant since 2008. At first it didn’t grow well, but after I read that it was native to areas with a prolonged dry season, I hung it (mounted plant) in a higher, more sunny position in the greenhouse. Although it has grown quite slowly, the plants has now flowered two years running and is increasing in size. Still, the leaf span is only 2 cm in width! I have seen pictures of multi-growth plants with numerous flowers, and based on my experience, those plants must be quite old!