The Oncidium Alliance Orchids
In this article we will be discussing about plants that are members of a sub-tribe of orchids called the Oncidiinae. These plants grow naturally in the tropical as well as sub-tropical regions of the Americas and the Caribbean, for the most part as epiphytes.
This sub-tribe of orchids comprises a puzzling number of genera and numerous species of plants. Some sections of this sub-tribe interbreed liberally when they are in cultivation. As a result, the intergeneric names of these orchids are also numerous.
Recently, the taxonomists had received a lot of pleasure and enjoyment from this sub-tribe of orchids as well as several other plants that we known as odonto-glossums. Subsequently, the oncidiums were reclassified and also given new names again.
These spider orchids have been named aptly and they produce long, slender petals and sepals. This orchid species is indigenous to the tropical regions of America and you may grow them under the conditions that are suitable for growing cattleyas.
These plants have a preference for plenty of light. The flowers of Brassia are arranged neatly along the drooping and arching clusters. The colors of the flowers are muted and their fragrance is unusual, if you can distinguish them at all.
You may grow these orchids for their form. These orchids have contributed some of their long-legged appearance to several intergeneric hybrids.
Brassia arcuigera (B. longissima)
The inflorescence of Brassia arcuigera (B. longissima) can grow up to a height of 2 ½ feet and bear about six or more yellow or greenish yellow blossoms which are heavily striped with brown. The individual flower segment of this orchid species may grow up to a length of 10 inches.
Plants of Brassia caudate bear resemblance to those of Brassia arcuigera. However, the flowers of this species are rather smaller in size compared to the blossoms of B. arcuigera and measure about 7 inches to 8 inches wide.
The flowers of Brassia gireoudiana measure anything between 10 inches and 12 inches wide and have very slender and stiff segments.
Brassia verrucosa bears spidery flowers, whose color may vary from yellowish to lime green and have deep red spots as well as green warts. These flowers have a musky fragrance.
Cochlioda orchids are very attractive and almost have the same habit as those of Odontoglossum. In addition, they also need similar cool growing conditions. Over the years, these orchids have proved to be vital in imparting their vivid colors to numerous hybrids developed by crossing Odontoglossum and Miltonia orchids.
The inflorescence of Cochlioda noezliana orchids grow up to 16 inches to 18 inches and bears about 12 or more flowers, each measuring about 2 inches across. The flowers have a vivid reddish orange hue with a yellow spot on their lip. Plants of Cochlioda noezliana orchids are in bloom during the summer.
Plants in the Cochlioda rosea orchid species bears resemblance to those in the C. noezliana species, however their bear somewhat bigger flowers whose color varies from deep pink to dark rose. These orchids are in bloom in spring and summer.
The plants of Comparettia orchid are diminutive and produce leathery leaves and something like pseudo bulbs. You may grow these dwarfish plants in small pots, but they perform better when grown on a slab. Comparettia plants loathe growing conditions like high light intensities and require almost the same growing conditions as Colombian miltoniopsis.
Each plant bears about 20 flowers on a single stem. The individual flowers measure 2 inches or even less across. The flowers of these orchids have large lips and this is one of their prominent characteristics. While the flowers of Comparettia coccinea are red hued, C. falcate bears cerise flowers and the flowers of C. speciosa have an outstandingly orange hue.
Cuitlauzina pendula orchids were earlier known as Odontoglossum pendulum (O. citrosmum). This orchid prefers cool growing conditions and produces leaves that are 12 inches long, while the pseudo bulbs measure about 6 inches.
The inflorescence is anything between 1 ½ feet and 3 feet in length. Initially they are first arching and subsequently drooping. The inflorescence is packed with flowers, each measuring about 3 inches across and having pure white or pink lips.
The flowers are in bloom from the end of spring and emit a sweet lemony fragrance. Ideally, you need to grow this orchid in a pot or a hanging basket so that the trailing inflorescence can be accommodated properly.
Keep the plants dry during the winter by watering or misting them just enough to prevent the pseudo bulbs from shrivelling. These plants are hardy and can perhaps endure temperatures as low as 20°F (-7°C).
Several members of Odontoglossum in Mexico and Central America have been moved to the genus Lemboglossum. (This, in fact, is a reminder of the disappearance of their botanical standing and that these plants may in due course be known as Rhynchostele).
Similar to the plants in genus Odontoglossum, these orchids are also cool growers, but they are capable of enduring more warmth.
Lemboglossum bictoniense (Odontoglossum bictoniense)
The foliage clumps of Lemboglossum bictoniense may grow up to 16 inches and give rise to stiff and erect flower stems, each of which carry a host of yellow and brown flowers having white or pink lips. The individual flowers measure about 2 inches across. This orchid is in bloom in fall.
The Lemboglossum cervantesii plant grows up to a height of 6 inches and produces drooping clusters of anything between two and six white or light pink hued flowers. The individual flowers measure anything between 2 inches and 3 inches wide.
The petals and sepals have brownish lines at their base and they form a sequence of concentric half-circles. This orchid is a cool grower and it has over wintered in the fog belt of the Pacific Coast with least protection.
Lemboglossum rossii (Odontoglossum rossii)
The inflorescence of Lemboglossum rossii orchid is about 8 inches in length and it carries anything between three and five flowers. The individual flowers measure about 2 inches to 3 inches wide, while the color of the flowers may vary from white to yellow to light pink. The petals of this orchid have dark brown stripes and spots. This orchid is in bloom during winter.
Lemboglossum uro-skinneri (Odontoglossum uro-skinneri)
The inflorescence of Lemboglossum uro-skinneri orchid grows up to a height of 2 ½ feet and it carries as many as 20 flowers. The individual flowers are small and measure just 1 inch wide, while the color of the flowers may either be green or brown and their lips have white spots.
These orchids are also known as Brazilian miltonias – this term is used time and again to differentiate the Brazilian miltonias from Miltoniopsis, especially when both are known as miltonias. Compared to their Colombian cousins, the flowers of Brazilian miltonias are more star-shaped and their lips are less generous.
The plants of this genus have been used extensively with plants of the Oncidium alliance to give rise to several intergenic hybrids that are grown widely. Miltonia spectabilis is one species of this genus that is popular even in the present times.
This species produces flattened pseudo bulbs, while its yellow-greenish foliage measures about 6 inches (15 cm). To some extent, the flower stems are flattened and each carries one or two flowers during summer.
The individual flowers of Miltonia spectabilis measures about 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide. Another variety of Miltonia or Brazilian miltonia, known as Variety moreliana bears large deep purple hued flowers and it is cultivated extensively.
Brazilian miltonias are easy to grow and, at the same time, they are capable of enduring conditions that are not very ideal for growing them than their Colombian cousins. They can grow with cattleyas and you may treat the Brazilian miltonias in the same way you treat cattleyas.
The flower stalk of this Brazilian miltonia species grows up to a height of 16 inches and each stalk carries three to five flowers. The individual flowers of Miltonia regnellii grows up to 3 inches in width, while the flowers themselves are creamy white and pink having purplish markings. This orchid blooms towards the end of summer and again in fall.
Miltonia spectabilis is a popular Brazilian miltonia whose flower stalks grow up to a height of 10 inches and each stalk bears a solitary flower. The white flowers of this species have a rose tinge near their base, while their lips have a purplish red hue. The variety of this species – M. s. moreliana – bears relatively larger dark purple flowers. This orchid species is in bloom in autumn.
The so-called Columbian miltonias are referred to as Miltoniopsis and they are found in various other places in addition to Columbia. Even to this day, members of this genus are considered to be genus Miltonia while naming their intergeneric hybrids with plants of other genera.
Often they are also called “pansy orchids” owing to the common appearance of their blossoms. Each flowering stem of this orchid genus carries one to several blossoms and their colors may vary from white or yellow to deep purple. More often than not, the flowers have a fundamental pattern of a dissimilar color, known as a mask.
The pseudo bulbs of these orchids are compressed and have an oval shape. The grey-green leaves of the plants have a fragile appearance and grow up to a length of 8 inches (20 cm).
These days several hybrids grown by crossing this species with other plants are seen in the market, but occasionally you will find hybrids developed from two main familial species – Miltoniopsis vexillaria and Miltoniopsis roezlii. Precisely speaking, Miltoniopsis are native to high elevated areas, especially from the wet cloud forests.
If you want to grow Miltoniopsis orchids, you may use the same light intensity, potting media and temperatures that you provide to Odontoglossum orchids. However, you need to bear a few things in mind while growing Miltoniopsis orchids. Never over-pot the plants and water the plants much before medium becomes quite arid during summer.
However, you should allow the medium to dry out to some extent during winter. However, never allow the medium to dry out for a prolonged period even in winter. All said and done, it is obvious that orchid growers who have excellently grown plants that bear wonderful flowers generally keep the night time minimum temperatures somewhere between 54°F (12°C) and 60°F (15°C).
Ideally, Miltoniopsis orchids should be grown on window sills and usually along with Phalaenopsis orchids. Miltoniopsis plants are in bloom in spring and summer.
This orchid species is native to Colombia and the plants produce clusters of grey green leaves that grow up to a length of 8 inches to 9 inches. The flowers of Miltoniopsis phalaenopsis are borne in sprays of three to five. The individual flowers of this species measure anything between 2 ½ inches and 3 inches in diameter.
The flowers have a pure white hue with purple or purplish red markings on their lips. This species is a main parent of the pansy orchids. The plants are in bloom towards the end of summer and again in fall.
Similar to Miltoniopsis phalaenopsis, this orchid species also has a Colombian origin. The foliage masses of Miltoniopsis roezlii have a pale green color and they produce two to four white flowers having a deep purple blotch. The individual flowers of this orchid measure about 4 inches wide. Miltoniopsis roezlii is one of the main parents of the pansy orchids. This orchid is in bloom during winter and again in spring.
Miltoniopsis vexillaria is a Colombian orchid and it produces clumps of pale green foliage, while the leaves of these plants grow up to a length of 10 inches. The flowers are borne in sprays and each spray carries four to six bright rose flowers whose centers are marked with yellow, white and red.
The individual flowers measure about 4 inches across. Each new growth of this orchid may produce more than a few sprays. This orchid is also the main parent of numerous pansy orchids. Miltoniopsis vexillaria orchids are in bloom during spring and summer.
There was a time when Odontoglossum was a large genus of orchids, but now the number of plants in this genus has decreased considerably owing to attrition. In fact, all the species of this genus that are native to Mexico and Central America have been shifted to other genera.
In order to steer clear of any confusion, those refugees have been listed below, but along with a cross-reference to their new names. Nearly all the remaining “true” Odontoglossum orchids are cool growers and they belong to high altitude, cool and misty mountains in South America.
Many hybrids developed by crossing Odontoglossums with members of other genera are capable of tolerating intermediate temperatures.
Many people consider Odontoglossum crispum to be the most stunning among all orchids. At the same time, it is also very difficult to grow this orchid unless the climatic condition in your region is cool marine. It grows well in California fog belt as well as in the Pacific Northwest.
In all other places, high temperatures during the daytime will make the plants feeble and destroy them, provided there is no proper air-conditioning. The flowers of orchid have a white or light rose hue and their edges are fringed and crimped. The edges of the petals also have scattered reddish brown dots.
The individual flowers of Odontoglossum crispum measure between 2 ½ inches and 3 inches wide. The inflorescence grows up to a length of 20 inches and it is drooping. Each inflorescence bears anything between 6 and 24 flowers. The plants are generally in bloom in spring and summer. However, they may bloom at other times of the year too.
Odontoglossum harryanum orchids produce erect inflorescence that grows up to a length of anything between 20 inches and 30 inches. Each inflorescence carries as many as 12 flowers, each measuring about 3 inches across.
The flowers of this orchid have rich reddish brown wavy segments that are marked with yellow. The lips of the flowers are large and are white and reddish brown. The plants are in bloom in summer.
Similar to Odontoglossum harryanum, this orchid species also bears as many as 12 flowers in an inflorescence. The individual flowers measure about 3 inches and 4 inches in width and have a chestnut brown color with markings of yellow. The lip of the flower has a yellowish white hue and is marked with brown. This orchid is in bloom in spring.
As per a modest estimate, there are about 300 to 600 orchid species in the genus Oncidium. These plants are native to a vast area, including Mexico and the Caribbean islands and extend to Brazil’s southern borders. In fact, a few stragglers have even been located in southern Florida.
Some of these orchid species grow well in the scorching lowlands, while there are others that have a preference for high, chilly, misty mountains. However, nearly all these species will do well in places having intermediate temperatures provided there is enough water and bright light both during the growth as well as blooming periods.
In addition, you need to ensure that the growing media does not dry out completely and there is excellent air circulation. Ideally you should grow oncidium orchids in pots or baskets and use bark or bark and perlite as the growing medium.
There are a number of oncidium species that are small and they would look eye-catching if they are mounted on wooden pieces, tree fern or bark. Plants that produce drooping sprays ought to be grown in hanging baskets. Some species produce tall and branching inflorescences and you must provide them with staking.
It has been seen that nearly all oncidium species produce slender and branching, the sprays of flowers have varying shades ranging from yellow and red to reddish brown. However, some also bear white or pink flowers. Most flowers of the plants in this species have flaring petals, which habitually expand near the tips and they also have a full and ruffled lip.
Some people envisage these lips as ballerinas or dancing dolls. The flowers of oncidiums last for a fairly long period on the plant as well as when they are used as cut flowers. Florists have named such plants as spray orchids. While it is not possible to describe all the oncidium species here, main features of a few are discussed below.
Oncidium ampliatum produces flat, grooved pseudo bulbs having the shape of a turtle. The leaves of this species grow up to a length of 16 inches.
The flowers are borne in branching clusters that grow up to 3 feet and bears several hundred yellow hued flowers that having reddish brown spots. The individual flower measures about an inch in width. The plants of this orchid are in bloom in spring.
This orchid is also referred to a “mule ear” oncidium as the plump leaves of the plants also serve the role of pseudo bulbs. The leaves of Oncidium carthagenense are almost upright and grow up to a length of about 20 inches.
The flower stem is branching and grows up to a height of anything between 5 feet and 6 feet and produces numerous round and ruffled white hued flowers that are closely marked with purplish brown. The orchids are in bloom in summer.
The pseudo bulbs of Oncidium cheirophorum measure about an inch in width and produces two to four leaves, each growing up to a length of 10 inches. The flower stems are about 8 inches and carry several firm-textured, vivid yellow flowers.
The flowers are fragrant and each measure about ½ inch across. The plants of Oncidium cheirophorum are small and this makes them ideal for growing under artificial light. This orchid species is in bloom twice or three times in a year. In fact, beginners will find this orchid easy to grow.
This orchid species, a native of Brazil, is a cool grower and is capable of enduring lower temperatures compared to other oncidium orchids. The rhizomes of Oncidium crispum are long, while its roots are wandering. Although it is difficult to grow this orchid in pots, it is not impossible.
The plants thrive better when grown on a large slab. The inflorescence of this orchid is branched and it bears numerous attractive glossy chestnut hued flowers. The individual flowers measure about 3 inches (8 cm) in width.
Many may confuse Oncidium crispum with another orchid species called Odontoglossum crispum owing to the similarity of its specific name – crispum. This species also has smaller versions which include Oncidium sarcodes and Oncidium forbesii.
Oncidium guianense (O. desertorum)
Oncidium guianense or O. desertorum is among those orchids that are known as equitant oncidiums. In other words, these oncidiums do not have pseudo bulbs and their leaves are displayed like fans – something like a minuscule iris.
The leaf fan of this equitant oncidium grows up to a height of 1 ½ inches and the flower stem is about 6 inches in length. Each flower stem of Oncidium guianense carries many bright yellow flowers, each measuring about 1 inch in diameter. Ideally, this plant should be mounted on a piece of bark or a branch to make it look more attractive. The plants are in bloom in fall.
Oncidium lanceanum is another “mule ear” orchid, whose fleshy leaves serve as pseudo bulbs. This striking orchid produces stiff, upright leaves mottled with brown and growing up to a length of 20 inches and 4 inches in width.
The flower stem grows up to a height of one foot and bears only a few to numerous yellow flowers having too many reddish brown spots. The individual flowers measure anything between 2 inches and 2 ½ inches across. The lip of the flowers is purplish rose. This orchid is in bloom during summer.
Oncidium luridum is a big orchid having chunky and stiff leaves. The inflorescence is branched and may grow even more than 39 inches (1 meter) in length and bear numerous yellow and reddish-brown flowers. The individual flowers of this orchid measure about 1 ¼ inches (3 cm) across.
It is worth mentioning here that Oncidium lanceanum, Oncidium cavendishianum and Oncidium carthagenense are same type of plants and all of them are known as “mule ear orchids” – which means that their chunky leaves perform the rose of pseudo bulbs.
All these plants have a preference for higher temperatures during the night time and also higher intensity of light compared to other plants in the genus Oncidium. When the plants are not in active growth mode, you need to water them very carefully. These orchids are in bloom in spring and summer.
Oncidium ornithorhynchum is a maidenhair orchid. This is a small species whose plants produce leaves that grow up to a foot in length, while the inflorescence is arching and grows up to anything between 18 inches and 20 inches.
The inflorescence of this orchid species is packed with fragrant flowers whose color may vary from pink to rosy lilac. The individual flower measures about an inch across. This oncidium orchid has a preference for cool climatic conditions. The orchids are in bloom in summer.
Oncidium sharry baby
Oncidium sharry baby is a hybrid orchid that is in bloom is summer and again in fall. The flowering spikes of this orchid are branching and each carries several dozens of reddish or pinkish flowers.
The individual flowers measure about an inch across and exude a potent chocolate-like scent. Some people describe the fragrance of the flowers akin to that of vanilla. The orchid “Sweet Fragrance” is a good selection.
The pseudo bulbs of Oncidium sphacelatum are large, while the leaves are slender and grow up to a length of 3 feet. The inflorescence is branched and grows up to a height of anything between 3 feet and 5 feet.
The inflorescence is upright and carries scores of yellow flowers bearing reddish brown spots. The individual flowers measure about an inch wide. This orchid is in bloom from winter to spring.
The petals and sepals of Oncidium varicosum orchid species are comparatively small. However, the prominent feature of this orchid is the pure yellow lips of its flowers that measure about 1 ½ inches (4 cm) or even wider. The plants are very strong.
The flowering stem of this orchid species is long and branched and each bear about a 100 or more flowers. When there is a gentle breeze, the flowers move in an unbelievable floral ballet. Hence, plants of this species and of other similar ones have been named “dancing doll orchid”.
Mostly you will find a superior variety of this orchid, called o. varicosum var. reverse in cultivation. This variety of Oncidium varicosum orchid is in bloom in fall and flowering continues till spring.
Often this orchid species is used for developing new hybrids as the shape as well as the color of the flowers of Oncidium varicosum remains dominant even in their offspring. In addition, this orchid species is very capable of enduring a variation in temperatures.
Earlier, plants in this orchid genus were a part of Odontoglossum. However, these plants are different from those belonging to Osmoglossums as they bear small, white flowers that are extremely fragrant. Compared to the Odontoglossum orchids, these plants are also less dependent on cool climatic conditions. They are able to flourish even in intermediate temperatures.
Osmoglossum convallarioides (Odontoglossum convallariodes)
The plants of Osmoglossum convallarioides grows up to a medium height, while the inflorescence grows up to a length of 16 inches. Each inflorescence bears a few white flowers. The individual flowers of this Osmoglossum orchid measures about an inch wide. The plants are in bloom in spring.
Osmoglossum pulchellum (Odontoylossum pulchellum)
Osmoglossum pulchellum or Ondontoylossum pulchellum is also referred to as the “Lily of the valley orchid”. The inflorescence of this orchid is upright or nodding and grows up to a height of 20 inches.
Each inflorescence carries anything between three and ten creamy hued flowers. The individual flowers measure about 1 inch to 2 inches across. The fragrance of the flowers of Osmoglossum pulchellum reminds one of the scent of lily-of-the-valley. The plants are in bloom in spring.
Psychopsis or butterfly orchids were earlier included in the genus Oncidium. However, the plants belonging to the butterfly orchids are different from the oncidiums as they produce single flowers one at a time in the inflorescence in a descending order.
This genus of orchid comprises four known species. The flowers of this orchid species are large and they have an odd formation – the dorsal sepals as well as the petals (the upper portion of the blossoms) are very slender almost bearing resemblance to antennae.
In contrast, the lower petals and the lip of the flowers are wide and have strong markings. Ideally, you should grow the psychopsis orchids in a pot or on a raft using coarse bark as the growing medium.
These plants have a preference for intermediate temperatures. It is advised that you should never get rid of the flower stalk even after the flower has withered. The same flower stalk of Psychopsis orchids may keep on producing flowers for many years. The plants bloom sporadically all through the year.
Psychopsis krameriana (Oncidium kramerianum)
The flowering spike of Psychopsis krameriana (earlier name Oncidium kramerianum) grows up to a height of anything between 2 feet and 3 feet and each stem bears four to five single flowers in succession. The flowers have a reddish brown color and are strongly marked with yellow. The lip of the flower is yellow having a reddish brown border.
Psychopsis papilio (Oncidum papilio)
This orchid species bears a very close resemblance to P. krameriana. However, the colors of its flowers are strongly branded rather than being marked randomly.
Plants belonging to this orchid species are diminutive and they do not have pseudo bulbs. The leaves of Psygmorchis pusilla orchid are like a fan and resemble a minute iris. The entire plant grows up to a height of only 3 inches.
Each flower stem of this orchid bears anything between one and six yellow flowers with light brown markings one after another. The individual flowers measure about an inch. You should grow this orchid on a piece of tree fern or on a bark raft. While the plants require a humid atmosphere to thrive, the roots should be allowed to dry out between two watering.
Orchids belonging to Rodriguezia species are small and quite easy to grow. Most of the plants are obtained from the forests in Central America and the northern region of South America. You can grow these orchids in the same way as you grow cattleyas, the only difference being that these plants do not required any rest period.
Rodriguezia orchids thrive well when they are grown in pots or on rafts using fine bark as the growing medium. These plants require sufficient amounts of water all through the year. So it is essential to water them generously, but be careful so that the roots do not rot. These plants can be seen in bloom at any time of the year.
Rodriguezia batemannii orchids produce erect or drooping inflorescences that grow up to a height of 10 inches. Each inflorescence bears up to 10 white flowers marked with lilac or yellow. The flowers are very fragrant and the individual flowers measure about 2 ½ inches wide.
Rodriguezia lanceolata (R. secunda)
The inflorescence of Rodriguezia lanceolata (R. secunda) grows up to a height of anything between 4 inches and 16 inches and each bears numerous rose red flowers with white markings at the base of their lips. The individual flower measures about an inch across.
The flowers of Rodriguezia venusta are white and are borne on arching inflorescence that grows up to a height of anything between 4 inches and 8 inches. The flowers of this orchid species are potently fragrant and each measure about 1 ½ inches across.
Known as tiger orchid, the plants of Rossioglossum grande are large and very ostentatious. The plants flourish in conditions that are between cool and intermediate. The orchids in this species produce inflorescence that grows up to a height of anything between 6 inches and 12 inches and each bear two to eight flowers.
The flowers are heavily textured in yellow and barred in deep reddish brown. You should always use fine bark along with some leaf mold as growing medium for this orchid species. When the plants are in the growth stage, water them heavily.
Subsequently stop watering for some time and later provide them with as much water that is required to prevent the pseudo bulbs from shrivelling. When new growth begins, you should repot the orchids and continue watering them. These plants are in bloom in winter.
The plants of Trichocentrum orchids grow to a small height, but their flowers are relatively large. These orchids either have small pseudo bulbs or they are totally absent. The leaves of this species of orchids may be fleshy or leathery.
The inflorescence is horizontal and short bearing only a few flowers. Ideally, these plants should be grown in pots or on rafts. These plants also flourish in the same conditions that are preferred by cattleya orchids.
The inflorescence of Trichocentrum albococcineum orchids grow up to 3 inches in length and each carries anything between one and three yellow or yellowish green flowers having a white and purple lip. The individual flowers measure about 2 inches across. The plants are in bloom from the end of summer to autumn.
The plants of Trichocentrum pulchrum orchid are very similar to those of T. albococcineum. However, the flowers of this orchid are white and have purplish red spots. On the other hand, the flowers of T. albococcineum are yellow or yellowish green with a white and purple lip.
Orchid species belonging to genus Trichopilia are compact and have a preference for intermediate temperature. The shape of the flowers is similar to those of cattleyas, but relatively large. The flowers are borne on short stems, each of which bears only a few flowers.
Many stems of these orchids may emerge from a solitary pseudo bulb. If you are growing Trichopilia orchids you need to provide the conditions that you give the plants belonging to Oncidium orchids. Provide the plants with lots of water during their growing season and subsequently give them a rest period of about 2 weeks to 3 weeks.
The inflorescence of Trichopilia suavis is short and may be drooping or arching. Each inflorescence of this orchid species carries one to four creamy white flowers, each of which measure about 4 inches across.
The petals and sepals are wavy, creamy white hued and occasionally have red spots. The lip of the flower is large and wavy-edged and is closely spotted with rosy red. The flowers of this orchid species are potently fragrant. These orchids are in bloom in spring.
The sepals and petals of Trichopilia tortilis are slender and twisted and their color may vary – either rosy lavender or brownish purple. The white lip is large and almost round. The lip has red and brown spots. The plants of this orchid species are in bloom either in spring or in fall.
Hybridizers greatly enjoyed and took great delight in crossing the numerous genera in the Oncidium alliance. It has been seen that nearly all hybrids show a distinctive enhancement over their parents – either in their manifestation or in the ease of culture.
The ease of culture is mainly due to hybrid vigour (heterosis) – an increase in size of the plant or its flowers or ability to endure changeable conditions. This is a result of the combination of the genes of the two parents of the hybrids.
There are numerous hybrids and it is impossible to mention them all in a small article like this. Therefore, it is only possible to make a cursory mention about them here. Hybridizers mainly use Oncidium, Odontoglossum and Miltonia genera for developing new hybrids. However, sometimes they have also used Cochlioda and other orchid genera for this purpose.
Many of the crosses made from genus Oncidium naturally inherit the vigour as well as the free-flowering habit of their parent. At the same time, these crosses have a tendency to bear yellow and brown flowers with conspicuous lips.
On the other hand, hybrids developed from genera Odontoglossum and Miltonia inherit their parents’ attribute of producing large flowers. (In fact, the wide sepals and petals of orchids belonging to genus Odontoglossum have a tendency to recompense for the small flowering parts of genus Oncidium.
Hence, hybrids developed by crossing plants belonging to the genes Odontoglossum and those of genus Oncidium will have a tendency to be vigorous, free-flowering and bear large flowers. Genera Oncidium and Odontoglossum also impart a color range to their offspring, whose flowers may have russet and yellow tones.
On the other hand, genus Miltonia contributes broad, rounded contours and a velvety finish to the flowers. Similarly, genera Cochlioda, Trichocentrum and Rodriguezia impart bright hues and help their offspring to grow up to a moderate size.
Hybrids developed from Brassia usually have significant increase in the length of their petals and sepals. Below is a brief description of a few of the several hybrid names that you may come across.
These are hybrids developed by crossing genera Brassia, Oncidium and Miltonia. These hybrid orchids may bear pink, or yellow and brown flowers on long sprays.
These hybrid orchids have been developed by crossing plants from the genera Cochlioda, Miltonia, Oncidium and Ondontoglossum. The spikes of these plants are tall and they carry many flowers that are spaced nicely and appear in a range of colors. These hybrids have a preference for conditions that range from cool to intermediate.
These hybrids have been developed by crossing plants belonging to the genera Brassia, Oncidium and Odontoglossum. The grex Pagan Lovesong produces straight spikes that grow up to a height of 3 fee and carries numerous large yellow flowers.
The flowers are star-shaped with brown spots. The lip of this grex is white with brown markings. This plant has a preference for conditions ranging from cool to intermediate.
These hybrids have been developed by crossing plants belonging to genera Odontoglossum and Cochlioda and bear large, rounded flowers have a form similar to the blossoms of Odontoglossum crispum.
The flowers have a vivid red or brownish red hue with red markings that are abundantly scattered over a yellow or white ground. Although these plants are cool growers, they are also able to endure more warmth compared to the plants in genus Odontoglossum.
These are crosses between plants belonging to genera Oncidium and Odontoglossum. These hybrids may produce branched or branch-less inflorescence and bear yellow, red, orange or spotted flowers. They grow well in cool as well as intermediate conditions.
x Odontonia hybrids are crosses between plants belonging to genera Miltonia and Odontoglossum and usually these are cool growing plants. The plants produce tall, generally branch-less flower stalks that carry white, yellow or red flowers that are habitually heavily marked with any contrasting hue.
This hybrid is developed by crossing an offspring of x Odontioda with plants belonging to genus Miltonia. These plants may produce branched or branch-less inflorescences that bear red, pink or red and white flowers.
These hybrids are developed by crossing plants belonging to genera Cochlioda, Oncidium and Odontoglossum. The plants bear frilly flowers that are heavily marked with luminous colors. The flowers appear on tall spikes having the form of Oncidiums. These plants grow well in conditions that range from cool to intermediate.