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Miltonia clowesii is one of the so-called Brazilian miltonias, which includes the intermediate to warm growing
species from Brazil. These are different from the Andean species that are cool-growing and are included in the
genus Miltoniopsis and used to be called miltonias (well, if we think about
the hybrids, they still are). Miltonia
clowesii is one of the multifloral
species, a group that contains most of the Brazilian miltonias, and this means that flowers are produced on long,
upright species. Inside this group, the different species open their flowers at different rates of succession.
As an example, Miltonia flavescens opens their flowers on a short succession and thus the inflorescences
can have all the flowers open at the same time. Miltonia
clowesii, on the other hand, represents
the other extreme, that is, the flowers open in a very long succession. With this, inflorescences of Miltonia clowesii rarely have more than 2-3 flowers open at once, and by the time the last flowers open the
first ones have already faded. This is not a very desirable feature of the species, but on the other hand the individual
flowers are very attractive. Individual flowers are about 2" or more tall and quite colorful. Miltonia clowesii, like most Brazilian miltonias, grows inside the coastal mountain forests, from just above
sea level to more than 3000 ft. elevation. Plants are mostly found under quite shady and humid conditions. The
range for each particular species is quite difficult to delimit, as reported locations are not geographically separated
from mountain stretches where the species are not found. In any case, for Miltonia clowesii
the main area of occurrence is in the Espírito Santo State and northern section of Rio de Janeiro. Without
flowers, plants of Miltonia clowesii are virtually indistinguishable from those of M. cuneata, M. candida and M. russeliana.
Flower shape wise, the species is closer to Miltonia
cuneata, and color wise it is very
similar to M. russeliana.
Distribution Map for Miltonia clowesii.
As mentioned, distribution ranges are quite inaccurate for the genus, but the representation here gives a good
idea of the region where the species is most abundant.
||On 1, we see the
most common color for flowers of Miltonia
clowesii. This particular one is an
artificially propagated plant whose parents were selected for flower quality. In this individual case, flowers
have sepals, petals and lip that are much wider than the average natural plants of the species. Also, this plant
has been picked for good color and short flower spikes, besides the individual shape of flowers. Compact inflorescences
are very rare and very desirable for the species.
On 2, we have a flower of regular shape for the species, but that has been selected for flower
color. The white portion of the lip is almost completely covered with purple, and the markings on sepals and petals
almost disappear due to the dark background. Then again, color this dark is very rare on the species and that is
why this one has been selected for seedling production.