There is a lot happening in the greenhouses right now, but the most exciting event for me (other than the blooming of Leontochir ovallei) is the blooming for the first time of Placea ornata. I have grown these bulbs for some years, but since I have the annoying habit of selling my mature bulbs, I haven't had a flower until now. I am getting much more stingy about letting mature bulbs go, since several sources of seed have disappeared, so now I have to depend on my own bulbs to produce the seed I need.
Placea is a genus native to northern Chile. There are six species, and I have only grown one other, P. arzae, which, unfortunately, I lost. All grow in very dry conditions, and I found them very prone to fungal diseases if not grown dry. I now grow them in pure pumice with careful attention to watering. I have only one flowering stem so far, and I have pollinated it, hoping it will accept its own pollen and produce seeds. The flowers are deep cream with crimson stripes in the center and if you look carefully you can see there is a coronal cup that is deep crimson or purple. My plant produced an umbel of four flowers.