Jewel orchids are best known for their textured red and green leaves, which have a deep, velvety taste. Like other orchids, this plant also produces white or pale yellow flowers. Jewel orchids thrive on the surface of rainforests, so they don’t like a lot of direct sunlight. In fact, too much sun can wash away the distinctive color of the leaves. You can grow gem orchids indoors as houseplants. This plant is also easily propagated by breaking off a piece of rhizome and planting it.
Macodes petola (formerly Neottia petola) is a species of jewel orchid endemic to Southeast Asia including Malaysia, New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Philippines and Sumatra. The flowers of this species are small, with red-brown petals with yellow edges and white lips and appear in the winter months. Unlike the flowers, the leaves on this plant are ornate and make this plant attractive to plant collectors. However this plant is currently considered vulnerable (CITES II status) with limited trade due to the risk of over-collection and use as a stimulant in traditional Borneo herbal medicine. M. petola is found growing under a variety of conditions in the wild. This plant can be found growing at altitudes between 300-1600m above sea level usually in forest habitats with high humidity.
In cultivation, M. petola requires diffused, indirect light and moderate to high humidity (> 85%). Proper care conditions should mimic the plant’s natural habitat. A suitable substrate for plants should be porous and well-draining and can include a mixture of leaf litter, sphagnum moss, coconut coir and gravel. M. petola requires frequent watering and the use of diluted fertilizer (1/4-1/8 dilution of typical orchid fertilizer). M.petola can be propagated by asexual division; Note that sterilized tools and media must be used to prevent infection with fungal pathogens. Variants of this plant show different patterns in the coloring of the veins including var. petola with yellow veins, var. robusta which only shows elongated veins, and var. argenteoreticulata syn. var. javanica showing white transverse connected longitudinal veins.
Scientific classification edit
(Blume) Lindl. , 1840