This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Epidendrum Cochleatum. Two-Leaved Epidendrum.
Nectarium turbinatum, obliquum, reflexum.
EPIDENDRUM cochleatum foliis oblongis geminis glabris striatis bulbo innatis, scapo multifloro, nectario cordato. Linn. Syst. Vegetab, ed. 14. Murr. p. 819. Ait. Hort. Kew. V. 3. p. 303.
HELLEBORINE cochleato flore. Plum. Sp. 9. u. 185. fig. 2.
Plants which draw their support from other living ones, of which there are numerous instances, are by Botanists termed parasitical, and of this kind are most of the present family; deriving their generic name, which is of Greek extraction, from growing on trees, into the bark of which they fix their roots; some of them are also found to grow on dead wood, as the present plant, which is described by Sir Hans Sloane, in his history of Jamaica, V. 1. p. 250. t. 121. f. 2. as not only growing plentifully on trees, but also on the palisadoes of St. Jago de la Vega.
Instances of these plants flowering in England are very rare; Commodore Gardner, in the year 1789, presented to the Apothecaries company some roots of this plant, taken up in the woods of Jamaica with great care, and which being successfully treated by Mr. Fairbairn in their garden at Chelsea, one of them threw up a flowering stem last February, from whence our drawing was made.
Mr. Fairbairn planted the roots in pots of earth, composed of rotten wood and decayed leaves, plunging them into the tan-bed of a pit of considerable size.
In its fructification, the Epidendrum obviously agrees with the Orchis tribe, but differs essentially in the oeconomy of its roots; in the Orchis the roots spring from the crown of the bulb, which is formed in the earth; in the Epidendrum the bulb, or the part which appears to be analogous to a bulb, though of a green colour, is produced above ground, while the roots or fibres proceed from below it.