The Vanda Tree
(actually Brugmansia sp.)
As far as I know, there is no such tree that actually grows orchid flowers. There is one that is called an "orchid tree" but it is not truly an orchid. Orchids, especially vandas, do however grow in trees. Actually, lots of orchids grow as epiphytes (ep-a-FIT) on the trunks and limbs of rainforest trees. But the long lived sprays of vandas up in the trees are stunning. We don't have a lot of trees in the Exotic Rainforest large enough to be a home to vandas in the way they actually grow in the wild. So we used what we had: a yellow Angel Trumpet Tree which scientifically is Brugmansia candida (we think). The tree is quite a sight when the vandas bloom, normally in the Spring and Summer. But the tree itself is a spectacular specimen for both the eyes and the sense of smell when it blooms! The Angel Trumpet produces a bloom almost a foot long that hangs down like a trumpet being blown by and angel. Thus, the plant's common name. The flowers range from light to pale yellow. I'm not certain why the flowers are not consistent in color, but I suspect the fertilizers I try have something to do with the end flower colors.
Brugmansia trees are named after Sebald Justin Brugmans who lived from 1763-1819. Brugmans once had a garden of these trees. However, since he grew them in Germany I have absolutely no idea how he kept them alive. They are definitely tropical! The trees are capable of producing blooms in many color varieties on each of the 7 different species. However, there are a number of hybrid color varieties in addition to the 7 species colors. It is said the flowers can be used to produce an hallucinogenic drug. As a result, it is illegal to grow in some cities. We've never tried to produce the drug and wouldn't know where to begin (don't tell us). We just enjoy the flowers and their wonderful perfume scent which can totally fill the atrium (see inset photo of Brugmansia bloom)...
The vandas were added with the aid of Liquid Nails glue and "tie wraps". Once the vanda plant had begun to actually attach itself to the tree (in most cases) the tie wrap was removed. Long root systems (some now 24 inches long) have begun to grow from each of the 25 or so plants attached to the limbs of the "vanda tree" and produce a spectacular show of color as they bloom.