Friday 21 July 2023

Mystacidium pusillum The Small Flowered Mystacidium



Mystacidium pusillum is a miniature sized twig epiphytic, cool to cold growing South African endemic orchid that may persist to grow on older branches in particular on its principal host tree the Kei Apple, Dovyalis caffra.

Mystacidium pusillum species is known from a small number of sites in the eastern parts of South Africa including the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces where it occurs in temperate and subtropical forests at elevations of 900 to 1200 meters.

Mystacidium pusillum has short stems carrying 1 to 5, elliptic to oblanceolate, unequally bilobed apically, rounded leaves. Leaves are not always present.

Mystacidium pusillum blooms in the winter on several, pendant, 1.5 to 3.5 cm on a long, 4 to 7 flowered inflorescence. The numerous light lime green flowers measure 5 mm across.

Mystacidium, is a genus of the orchid family Orchidaceae, Epidendroideae, Vandeae, Angraecinae which is native to eastern and southern Africa from Tanzania to South Africa where 10 accepted Species are to be found.

Mystacidium pusillum is from research thought to be pollinated by settling moths with at least five species from three moth families being responsible.


In cultivation this is an easy to grow epiphytic orchid. I have them growing extremely well and relatively quickly in comparison to most other of our indigenous orchids indoors at the coast 35 km North of Durban in South Africa. I have them growing under cool white led lights giving in the region of 5000 lux to 5500 lux depending on how much light comes in through the windows with a timer that gives an 18 hour photo period from equinox to equinox in the long day hot time of year and 14 hours in cooler short day time of the year.

The photos clearly show how I am growing them above a tray of water, however they can be and I have grown them outside in the past on mounts of various materials the best being grape vine stems.

My plants get heavily misted daily both in summer and in winter giving them no dry period.


I alternate very dilute amounts of a balanced water-soluble hydroponics fertiliser formulation for flower and fruit, as well as Nitrosol, Fulvic acid, Seagro as well as tea and rooibos tea, which I apply once or twice a week in the summer and about every two weeks in winter.

Article written by Michael Hickman 21.07.2023

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