Bletilla is a temperate, terrestrial genus of orchids containing 9 species distributed through China, Japan and Taiwan and Vietnam. The name is actually a diminutive of Bletia because of the resemblance between the two genera even though Bletia is a New World genus.
The pseudobulbs resemble spreading corms which usually sit at ground level. Each pseudobulb generally bears several pleated leaves around 40cm long. The racemes of flowers emerge from the centre of the year's new growth before it is mature, during spring and early summer. The flowers vary in colour from white to purple, and all species have four pollinia. The tubers resemble a horn or claw. They are grayish-white or yellowish-white in appearance, with concentric rings and brown rootlets. They have a hard texture and do not break easily.
As the leaves emerge, the narrow flower spike arises through the centre and opens a few centimetres above the foliage with rich purple flowers. All Bletilla striata cultivars are amazingly drought tolerant, but grow faster in evenly moist soils. These are flowering at the moment in our garden.
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.