Equatorial Plants was founded in 1975 in Birmingham with the intention of raising orchids from seed. At about this time import restrictions on wild collected plants were starting to make it difficult to bring in orchids from foreign nurseries and the company realised that there was both a need and a niche for such laboratory-based production which could both provide plants now difficult to obtain and relieve the pressure on natural populations.

Pico de FradeThe first species produced came from seed sent by an old friend who was living in Brazil and included Laelia crispa, Oncidium forbesii and Epidendrum allemanii. The first products were sold as 'test-tube-babies' at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and through the Exchange and Mart.

A move to Edinburgh followed where links were made with the Royal Botanic Garden which held an unparallelled collection of high altitude species from Papua New Guinea. Access to the collection was granted, pollinations made and many of these species, particularly Dendrobiums of the Section Oxyglossum, came into popular cultivation, many of which are still now available.

Since that time and by collaboration and exchanges with other like-minded growers and laboratory workers, the listing of Equatorial Plants' species has grown to over 800, many rare and endangered in their natural habitat.

Seedlings are available by mail order (UK and Europe only) but commercial orders for larger numbers are available world wide.

Click here to read Tansy Pickett's review of the Equatorial Plant Company.

Orchid of the Month – Cadetia chionantha

Cadetia chionantha
photo: David Menzies

Cadetia chionantha is a charming miniature, epiphytic or lithophytic orchid found up to 3000 metres in Papua New Guinea. It was first described by Rudolph Schlechter as Dendrobium chionanthum and, according to Andre Schuitemen in ‘A Guide to Dendrobium of New Guinea,’ this is now the correct name.

The pseudobulbs and leaves measure together about 5 cm. and the plant forms a vivid green clump decorated with crystalline-white flowers which appear all through the year with a boost in spring. It grows best in fine bark compost in cool conditions with high humidity and some shade and should never be allowed to dry out. It does not take kindly to splitting or repotting and then it needs to be handled with care. It is a constant delight to have in any collection.

Dendrobium cuthbertsonii ‘Lafayette’
Dendrobium cuthbertsonii ‘Lafayette’,
picture courtesy of John Leather.

Sophronitis coccinea v. grandiflora
Sophronitis coccinea v. grandiflora
Epidendrum setiferum
Epidendrum setiferum

Equatorial Plant Company, The Dovecote, Newgate, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham, DL12 8NW, UK.
Tel: 01833 908127    Fax: 01833 908127   Email: