Articles About Orchids
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Articles About Orchids
   Many years ago, I discovered a wonderful orchid which produces some of the most exotic lacy sprays of flowers in the orchid family. They are called Odontoglossums and are very popular with many orchid hobbyists. One look at the flowers will show you why Odontoglossums are so popular. The flowers may be white, yellow, brown, red, purple, or even be a blend of many colors. The blooms have ruffled sepals and petals. Some Odontoglossums produce flower spikes over four feet tall!

   Many of the species have nicknames that describe the flower or the scent. For example, Rossioglossum (Odontoglossum) grande is called the Tiger Orchid because the name describes the unique striping and flower coloring. Odontoglossum pulchellum is named the "Lily-of-the-Valley Orchid" because the flower and the fragrance reminds you of the Lily of the Valley flower.

   Odontoglossum's natural habitats are in the South American Andes and Colombia, while others originated in the mountainous regions of Mexico and Central America.

   Many of the species require cool temperatures typically found in those regions, including the 2005 World Orchid Congress Gold Medalist Odontoglossum crispum shown here.
   The cultural requirements are really not that hard to meet. They grow best in day temperatures up to 80 F (27 C) and night temperatures of 55 to 60 F (13 to 16 C). I successfully grow mine positioned in front of the air conditioner in my greenhouse. If they are grown in too high of a temperature, the blooms will sometimes not fully open.
   Odontoglossums do not require a lot of light. They require only 1,000 to 1,500 foot-candles to grow and bloom into beautiful specimen plants. You need to keep them moist (not soggy), and once planted, they do not like to be disturbed. Try growing some of the smaller species or hybrids on cork slabs. The new hybrids can be grown in a much wider temperature range.
   In 1898 C. Vuylsteke produced the first Odontoglossum hybrid. In 1904, the first intergeneric cross was achieved. Both of these discoveries opened the door to many beautiful hybrid crosses. Even though many of the original species have been moved to different genera, they are still known as Odontoglossums for hybridizing purposes.
   Here are just a few, common crosses:
  • Odontioda - Odontoglossum X Cochlioda
  • Odontocidium - Odontoglossum X Oncidium
  • Wilsonara - Cochlioda x Odontoglossum x Oncidium
  • Maclellanara - Brassia x Odontoglossum x Oncidium
  • Odontonia - Miltonia x Odontoglossum
  • Vuylstekeara - Cochlioda x Miltonia x Odontoglossum
  • Maclellanara - Brassia x Odontoglossum x Oncidium
   If you are interested in more of the hybrid crosses, visit my Orchid Hybrid Names Abbreviations page. You will find many more listed there. This little yet useful database is available compiled into an e-book you may download here for free.
   You may see more images and read about the wild species involved in producing the fascinating hybrids at my Orchid Nights site for seasoned orchid and computer enthusiasts; switch to full screen and explore these fascinating orchids there as well!