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Anguloa, also referred to as boat and tulip orchids, are a flowering genus belonging to the family of orchidaceae. They generally grow 2 to 3 feet (0.61 to 0.9 m) tall with the flowers blossoming near the base. The flowers originate from infloresences arising out of pseudobulbs, which can be up to about 8 inches (20 cm) in length. Each pseudobulb gives rise to 12 inflorescences, except in the case of white anguloa, where the number is limited to six.
The genus has nine species and three of them, namely A. clifftonii, A. clowesii, and A. hohenlohi, have further variations in color and size. These species are distinguished by the color and shapes of their flowers. In addition, there are four types of hybrids which occur naturally, and several others that have been synthesized by genetic modification and hybridization. The species and natural hybrids are found in the high altitude regions of the forests of Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru.
Tulip orchid flowers are either white in color, with a slight tinge of green, or a shade from light yellow to dark, reddish yellow depending on the species they belong to. Their petals are waxy and fleshy. The flowers have three lobes with short recurved lips with the central lobe being smaller than the rest and having a broader lip. Leaves are broad and can be up to 3 feet (1 m) long. Plants in the Anguloa genus do not have more than four leaves.
Anguloa generally grows on land, but it sometimes behaves as an epiphyte when there is a lack of space. As an epiphyte, it grows on other plants or objects non-parasitically, deriving nutrition and water from the surrounding air and nearby debris. This is rare, and happens only when there is a lack of space, such as in forests with dense undergrowth.
As garden plants, Anguloa uniflora is the most commonly cultivated species. They cannot grow in extreme climatic conditions and are extremely sensitive to strong sunlight. Temperatures varying from 41 to 77°F (5 to 25°C) are ideal for their growth. It is important to protect them from sunlight and heat during the summer with the help of a shaded structure. Their cultivation is quite simple, and they grow best with compost manure.
Anguloa is easily affected by brown scale and black spot disease. The latter is fatal, and the affected parts should be removed. Application of sulfur prevents the disease from spreading further. In the case of brown scale disease, a soft sponge and soap solution can clean the plant, though one should be gentle to avoid damaging the plant.