The genus Gastrochilus was first described in the 1800’s and was so named for its flowers: “gaster” referring to the stomach and “cheilos” referring to the showy lip. Sounds appetizing, yes? The genus is composed of approximately 52 species of miniature monopodial orchids that are vanda relatives and look somewhat like little phals or Aerangis. Plants can be grown in pots in a loose mix but are much better grown mounted and watered regularly. With essentially no water storage organs, Gastrochilus does not like to dry out for long. Most species can tolerate cool temperatures, and all of them do well growing intermediate to warm, moderate to low light (I go for low). See more about Gastrochilus from the AOS.
Haraella (Gastrochilus) retrocalla is a miniature species from Taiwan best grown mounted to allow the inflorescence to hang and show off the flowers. H. retrocalla grows in warm to cool conditions and needs regular water. I water all my mounted plants daily to keep them happy. Flowers are nearly as big as the plant, bright yellow with a huge and showy lip accented with deep purple. H. retrocalla is a great addition to any collection of miniatures.
(syn. Gastrochilus retrocallus, Haraella odorata, Gastrochilus odoratus, Haraella retrocalla)