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Stelis also known as leach orchids belonging to orchid family, Orchidaceae.

Image of Stelis plant at Google

Stelis is a genus of orchids belonging to the orchid family, Orchidaceae. This genus is also known as Leach orchids. This is a large group of orchids that comprises of about 500 species. Stelis comes from the Greek word that means ‘mistletoe’ and refers to the epiphytic habit of these species. The older species and new species were named by Lindley, Ruiz & Pavon and Reichenbach and C. Luer respectively. One of its species is considered the first of the American orchids to be brought to Europe. They are distributed in the damp mountain forests in tropical North and Central America.

The species of this genus are:
– Stelis alata Lindl. : Winged Stelis.
– Stelis argentata Lindl. : Silvery Stelis
– Stelis aviceps Lindl. : Bird Head Stelis
– Stelis barbata Rolfe 1913 : Bearded Stelis.
– Stelis bidentata Schltr. 1912 : Two-toothed Stelis.
– Stelis ciliaris Lindl. 1836: Hairy Stelis
– Stelis crescentiicola Schltr. 1920: Crescentia Living Stelis.
– Stelis flexuosa : Flexuous Stelis.
– Stelis gemma : Gem Stelis
– Stelis glomerosa : Ball Stelis.
– Stelis guatemalensis : Guatemalan Stelis.
– Stelis intermedia : In-between Stelis.
– Stelis leinigii : Leinig’s Stelis.
– Stelis megantha : Giant Anther Stelis.
– Stelis palmeiraensis : Palmeira Stelis.
– Stelis perpusilliflora : West Indian Leach Orchid
– Stelis porschiana : Porsch’s Stelis.
– Stelis purpurea : Purple Stelis
– Stelis pygmaea : Pygmy Leach Orchid
– Stelis triangulisepala : Triangular Sepal Stelis.
– Stelis vinosa : Wine-like Stelis.
– Stelis wettsteiniana : Wettstein’s Stelis

Growing/Caring conditions for Stelis
– Select a location which receives natural sunlight.
– Care should be taken that the location is not too hot.
– Indirect light is preferred in summer.
– Plant the orchid in the location.
– Water the orchid well.
– Care should be taken, not to overwater the orchid.
– Keep the orchid moist.
– Plant blooms in the fall to spring.
– Repotting annually is better for some orchids.
– Plant the orchid in a potting mix of mulch for tropical plants.
– Fertilize the orchid with plant food that is specific for orchids.
– Control the way roots get their oxygen because it is an important factor when they grow.
– This plant needs rich and fertile soil.
– This plant needs well draining soil.
– Add tree fern fibers (for small plants), several pieces of coarse fir bark, or sphagnum moss for draining.
– Dead growth and branches should be removed.

The following fungal and bacterial infections are known to attack the plant.
– Leaf spot is caused by Colletotrichum and Gleosporium
– Leaf blight – caused by Pythium
– Collar blocth – caused by Penicilium thomii
– Collar rot – caused by Sclerotium
– Orchid wilt – caused by Sclerotium rolfsli

To avoid the above, fungicides like Captan, Dithane, Agrosan and Ceresan are very effective.

– More than 32 diseases are known to occur on orchids with the most common are Cymbidium mosaic virus.
– All infected plants should be isolated to prevent spreading of the disease for avoiding.
– The most commonly reported insects pests on orchids are thrips, aphids, spidermite, soft scale, mealy bugs, orchid weevil, snail and slugs.
– They feed on tender young shoot, suck the sap and damage the young bud and shoot and also act as the carrier of different diseases.
– These can be controlled by effective insecticides like Parathion, Malathion, BHC, Aldrin, Dieldrin, etc. Metaldehyde has proved to be very effective in killing slugs and snails.

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