|Angraecum leonis - Photo courtesy of Arai Saitama|
There are two forms of this species found in very different areas. The smaller form is found at the northern tip of Malagasy (Madagascar) growing near sea level. The second and larger form is found in the Comoro Islands growing at about 3000 ft. (910 m).
CLIMATE: Station #67009, Diego Suarez, Malagasy, Lat. 12.3S, Long. 49.3E, at 95 ft. (29 m). Record extreme temperatures are 98F (37C) and 63F (17C).
The following recommendations are based on averages in the habitat. They may be used as a guide for newly acquired plants whose requirements are unknown, or for plants that are not growing or flowering as well as they should. Reports from growers are included when they indicate success with conditions in cultivation that are outside the range found in the habitat. LIGHT: 2500-4000 fc. Plants may tolerate as much as 50% sunlight if gradually introduced to the higher levels. Plants will bloom under a wide range of light levels, however, and high light is not necessary or recommended.
Summer days average 88-90F (31-32C), and nights average 75F (24C), with a diurnal range of 13-15F (7-8C). Conditions throughout the year for the Comoro Islands form average about 10F (6C) cooler than indicated for the Madagascan form.
75-85% from summer into autumn, decreasing to near 65% in winter and spring.
Rainfall is moderate to heavy from summer to early autumn. Cultivated plants should be watered sufficiently to keep the foliage plump and firm. If leaves become shriveled or wrinkled, water more often, or move the plant to an area where it is misted more frequently during the summer. The summer wet season is followed immediately by a very dry season from late autumn into spring when conditions are so dry that even dew is uncommon. The dry season for the Cormoro Island form is neither quite so long or as severe as indicated for the Madagascan form.
A balanced fertilizer, mixed at 1/4-1/2 recommended strength, should be applied weekly during periods of active growth. Many growers use a fertililzer with lower nitrogen and higher phosphate in autumn. This improves blooming the next season and encourages new growths to harden before winter. Pots should be leaached every few weeks to prevent salt buildup, especially when fertilizer is being applied most heavily. Plants should first be watered normally to disolve any accumulated salts. An hour or so later, the medium is flushed with water equal to about twice the volume of the pot. Year-round leaching is important in areas with heavily mineralized water.
Winter days average 84-85F (29C), and nights average 69-71F (21-22C), with a diurnal range of 14-15F (8C). Rainfall is low during a 6 month period in winter. Water for cultivated plants should be greatly reduced during this time. Usually, an occasional early morning misting is sufficient if a period of bright sunny weather is expected. Water should be increased if the leaves show signs of stress by becoming wrinkled. Extreme care should be taken not to overwater potted plants, however, since the symptoms for root rot caused by too much water are the same as the signs indicating a lack of water.
Plants may be mounted on slabs of cork or tree fern fiber if high humidity can be maintained, and if water can be applied at least daily during the summer. If potted, a very open, fast draining medium such as medium to large fir bark or cork nuggets is recommended. Some growers report that plants grow well when potted in coconut fiber. Undersized pots large enough to hold the roots should be used, and repotting should be done just as new root growth is starting, or as soon after flowering as possible.
The bloom times indicated in the table are based on cultivation reports. In nature, A. leonis blooms in late winter, near the end of the dry season. Plant and Flower Information:
PLANT SIZE AND TYPE:
A medium sized epiphyte that grows to 6-8 in. (15-20 cm) wide, and is usually less than 6 in. (15 cm) tall. While usually a monopod with a short, stout stem, secondary growths will occasionally be made from near the base of the stem. All measurements given are for the Madagascan form. The Comoro Island form may be as much as twice the size indicated.
Usually there 4-5 thick, sickle-shaped, distichous leaves on the almost stemless plant and any one time. They are 4-6 in. (10-15 cm) long and 0.6-1.0 in. (1.5-2.5 cm) wide.
1-2 stout inflorescences emerge from below the leaves. They are 3-4 in. (8-10 cm) long, and may be erect or suberect.
1-7 on each inflorescence. The long-lasting, fragrant flowers are pure white and measure 1.2-1.6 in. (3-4 cm) wide and 1.6-2.0 in. (4-5 cm) tall.
Chromosome count is 2n = 40.