Mark Griffiths Inspiring Plants

Pleione Rakata (first one)and three Pleione Rakata Locking Stumps.  

First two Pleione Krakatoa - the same plant showing variation in colour from year to year.

Pleione Shantung Gwen. 

Pleione Shantung Ridgeway. 

From left to right Pleione Brigadoon, Captain Hook (2) and Deriba


Pleione Shantung Maryfield Clone. 

Pleiones. I've seen Pleiones go through some huge changes since I first saw a pan of P. Formosana in my school's greenhouse.

Changes in the identification of wild plants, the number of species available, the palette of flower colours and shapes, and in the genus' fortunes in cultivation.

Some of these threads come together in the case of the Shantung hybrids in the 70s. Before then there were a few Pleiones common in cultivation, generally pink or white and the hybrids were also generally pink or white. There was a yellow species "Pleione forrestii" but that was rare and generally regarded as difficult to grow. Dr Haberd crossed "Pleione forrestii" with Pleione formosana. The work proved that "Pleione forrestii" was in fact a hybrid between the true P. Forrestii and an unknown species. It also introduced a range of yellow, apricot and peach coloured hybrids into general cultivation.

A decade or so later Dr Haberd alerted the Pleione growing community to the problem of Brevipalpus oncidii, a tiny mite that lives on Pleiones and injects a poison into the plant. The result of a steady and slow decline of the collection over the years. What was worse was that there was no real treatment available to non professional growers. Several growers and breeders experienced this problem.

Then it seemed that this problem sort of went away, people grew Pleiones happily for the next few decades.

One of the main champions of Pleiones was Paul Cumbleton, previously of Kew. He has an excellent site In 2017 he announced he was stopping the breeding and growing of Pleiones as his collection was being affected by virus. So we now have a new bogeyman, the virus. There is no cure so once you get it in a collection, that's it.

It's sort of unfortunate in 2017 I decided to give Pleiones another go. My own collection has generally declined slightly but even so some plants have done well – or done well for a decade or so, then declined, then picked up again and so on. Never figured out why and it's never all at one time, so one year one plant will do well and another poorly. All are grown together and get the same treatment.

Time will tell if Pleiones will weather this particular storm. There are a number of breeders either working on established breeding lines or including some of the more recently introduced species into the mix. There are plenty of people still growing them and enjoying them.

One thing you may notice is that the colours in pictures for the same clone may look subtly or not so subtly different. Usually it's the same plant but different temperatures result in different colours especially for those that have both pink and yellow parents.

Click on image for a larger picture. 

Pleione Stromboli and Stromboli Fireball. 

Pleione x confusa - got this originally in the 90s and it did ok for a while. Then it declined and then came back a decade later and gave me a flower for a couple of years. And then disappeared without trace! 


Pleione Soufriere. 

Pleione Quizapu Peregrine. 

Pleione formosana Claire


Pleione Santorinii Yellow Wagtail. 

Pleione Piton - several different clones.

Pleione Shantung Ducat. 

Pleione Ueli Wackernagel Pearl. 

Pleione Vesuvius Phoenix. 

Pleione Vesuvius and 2 Vesuvius Linnett. 

Pleione Krakatoa Wheatear - in addition to year on year differences this one opens yellow and becomes more pink with age.

From left to right Pleione Brigadoon, Captain Hook (2) and Deriba


Pleione Shantung Top Score (left) and Shantung Muriel Haberd (right).