The Aliceara Diana Dunn is a sympodial epiphyte orchid hybrid. It was registered in 1987 by Beall and is a cross between Bratonia Citron and Oncidium Memoria Helen Scholle. This orchid can also be found under the name of Beallara Diana Dunn, as per the old classification. The variety presented in this article is the variety ‘Gothic’ which stands out from the original hybrid as a harlequin type of flower. Dark purple spots and patches cover the light colored background of the flower, making it a very sought after variety and an absolute stunner.
Blooms have a spidery shape, with long thin petals and an elongated broader lip. However it does stand apart from typical Bratonia orchids or hybrids as the petals tend to obtain a swirl towards the edges, giving this orchid a very elegant appearance. The lip is also wider compared to Bratonia orchids.
The background of the flower is white, but the elongated petals often have a pink tinge and are dotted with dark purple spots. The lip of the orchid also present a white background which is more visible towards the edge, while the upper part can present dark purple splashes.
The flowers are fragrant, smelling spicy and peppery, white the intensity of the scent is moderate. The fragrance can be sensed in the early hours of the morning throughout the day until the afternoon. At night this orchid has no more fragrance. Flowers are quite large, measuring 10-12 cm across and having a star shape appearance.
This orchid can bloom multiple times in one year. Usually, with every maturing pseudobulb a flower spike can be produced. In some cases the orchid can produce 2 flower spikes emerging from each side of the pseudobulb. The spike usually emerges from between the pseudobulb and the first lateral leaf.
The flowers usually last between 4 to 6 weeks, depending on environment and are displayed on a thin flower spike measuring about 30 cm in length. Each inflorescence can hold 3-5 flowers. After the blooms fall, usually the orchid starts to produce new pseudobulbs. The spikes can be cut near the base after the blooms drop, as they will not rebloom, or produce plantlets.
The pseudobulbs are about 6-7 cm in height and about 4 cm in width, with an oval shape. The normal color for this orchid is light green. The leaves are long and slender, measuring about 20-30 cm in length and about 3 cm in width. The leaves are prone to obtain accordion shape growth if the orchid is kept too dry and in too low humidity.
The roots are thin and healthy roots are white, but as they age, they can turn green when wet. When in active growth they have bright green tips. New growths usually appear from between the last exterior leaves and take between 8 to 10 months to fully mature.
Propagation of this orchid can be done through division, each division should have at least 3 fully grown pseudobulbs for a fast growth further on.
Soft spots: pleated leaves if kept too dry, pleated flower spikes if the leaves don’t develop normally
Overall the Aliceara Diana Dunn ‘Gothic’ is an easy to medium difficult orchid to grow. With basic orchid knowledge and basic Bratonia care, it can be grown successfully in a home.
Aliceara Diana Dunn ‘Gothic’ Basic care:
Light: Intermediate to bright
Humidity: Tolerant to low humidity, over 40% ideal
Water: As the media approaches dryness
Growth cycle: not deciduous, does not require a winter rest, does not regularly shed leaves, can bloom all year round