The best way to successfully grow orchids, is to determine how that orchid thrives in nature, and duplicate those same conditions as best as possible, within your growing space.  The goal and focus of the Napa Valley Orchid Society's Potting Bench, is to present as much information as possible, of orchids in Nature, and how best to mimic those conditions.  It must be said that information is only 95% of success.  The remaining 5% is trial and error.  Nobody is perfect, but this portion of the NVOS web site gives you a head start.



Below is a list of all Classifications of orchids included here.  Internet sources were reviewed and if necessary modified some to present the best information possible for the novice and advanced grower.


If you do not see what your looking for, it might be on the "to do" list.

Enjoy browsing the Orchids



× Aliceara, abbreviated Alcra. in the horticultural trade,[1] is the nothogenus for intergeneric hybrids between the orchid genera Brassia, Miltonia and Oncidium (Brs. x Milt. x Onc.).




Previously known as Beallara Orchids

Beallara Orchids are complex hybrids that sometimes can be found under the commercial name of Cambria Orchids. This Orchid has been recently reclassified as Aliceara, but both names are accepted. It likes bright light and lots of moisture in the pot, pretty similar to an Oncidium. It can do well under intermediate light as well.


Cattleya Alliance

The Cattleya Alliance encompasses many well known Genera such as; Cattleya, Epidendrum, Encyclia, Laelia, Sophronitis & Brassovola, just to name a few. What many people do not realize is that it also contains many more obscure Genera like; Alamania, Arpophyllum, Barkeria, Neolauchea, Psychilis, Quisqueya, & Tetramicra as well as many others.


Popular Genera of the Cattleya Alliance

On the right is a navigable list of the popular genera  of orchids in the Cattleya Alliance.


Unpopular Genera of the Cattleya Alliance

Brassoepidendrum, Brassolaelia, Brassolaeliocattleya,  Catcylaelia, Cattleytonia, Catyclia, Caulocattleya, Cookara, Diacattleya, Dialaelia, Dimeranda, Epicattleya,   Epilaelia, Epilaeliocattleya, Epiphronitis, Gerberara, Hasegawaara, Hawkinsara, Isabelia, Iwanagaara, Kirchara, Laeliocatonia, Leptotes, Lyonara, Maclemoreara, Myrmecatlaelia, Nageliella, Nanodes, Oerstedella, Otaara, Potinara,  Rothara, Scaphyglottis, Schombocatonia, Schombolaelia, Schombolaeliocattleya, Sophrocattleya, Sophrolaelia, Sophrolaeliocattleya,  Stanfieldara and Yamadaara. 





Hereditary Influences of the Cattleya Alliance

The Cattleya Alliance Orchids.

Index of Cattleya Alliance Species. Keith Davis Orchids



Any errors, omissions and corrections are most welcome to ensure the most accurate list of the Cattleya Alliance.





  • Paphiopedilum, Parvisepalum group (Armeniacum, Delenatii, Emersonii, Malipoense, Micranthum) - species and hybrids

  • Phragmipedium, Cypripedium, Selenipedium and Mexipedium  - species and hybrids


(syn. Epidendrum)


The genus of Epidendrum orchids contains over 1,000 different species which grow in subtropical and tropical areas of the United States, in Central America and in Argentina. Coming from the Greek epi (on) and dendron (tree), the genus name is a reflection of the plants’ growing habits. The majority of Epidendrum orchids are epiphytes, though a few are classified as lithophytes. One species, Epidendrum cochleatum, bears the distinction of being the first epiphytic orchid to bloom in captivity, an event that occurred in England in 1787.

Epidendrum orchids vary widely in flora and vegetation. The flowers range from a quarter of an inch to six inches in diameter. Some plants produce pseudobubls while others possess cane or reed-like stems. Short bulbs are common in many species, while other species can produce bulbs of up to five feet long. Many flowers are fragrant and several bloom continually. These plants grow from sea level to mountaintops, in warm and in cool climates.

There is one trait that all Epidendrum orchids have in common: stubbornness. They take all kinds of punishment. Give them bright sun, cool nights, too little moisture or too little light, and they soldier on. Some of this genus have even adapted to extended freezing conditions. You may wonder why so many dissimilar flowers were classified together, but there is a reason. When the genus was first established in 1754 by Linnaeus, it was established to include every epiphytic orchid known at that time.

Epidendrum orchids grow well mounted on bark, but they can also be grown in pots using a coarse growing medium with lots of air spaces. Temperatures should be kept in the warm range, but can go as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity isn’t critical and the roots prefer to dry out between watering, although those with pseudobulbs need to be kept evenly moist during flowering.

As mentioned before, except for the fragrance, Epidendrum orchids don’t usually have a lot to recommend them. That doesn’t mean that you should omit them from your orchid collection. Several species are quite beautiful. For example, Epidendrum radicans is a reed-stemmed orchid that grows like a weed on the roadside in Central America. The blossoms cluster at the end of a 15 inch long inflorescence and open to reveal huge, fiery-red blooms. They bloom heavily over a long period of time, prefer warm to cool temperatures and a growing medium of terrestrial orchid mix.

Epidendrum cnemidophorum (syn. pfavii), also known as “Purple Gum Drop” is another showy member of the Epidendrum genus. This flower is an epiphyte native to Costa Rica that produces upright canes (as high as 4 feet tall) topped by an abundance of 2 inch pink and purple blossoms. It will grow mounted on bark or in coarse, well-drained media. This plant craves moisture and fertilizer all year round, but the results are worth it. In addition, inflorescences on this plant can rebloom, so you shouldn’t cut them off.

When all is said and done Epidendrum orchids are a perfect choice. They’re easy to grow, diverse in shape and color and can handle less than perfect conditions. All you have to do is decide which ones you like the best.


So many orchids, so little room....



This is only a part of the anguish that many fans of orchids loose sleep over. The other, more easy question to answer is "what orchids can I grow now, without costing an arm and leg?"

Be of good cheer, in reality you cannot create a collection of orchids consisting of one of each of the 30,000 types of orchids. However with planning, and determining your own skills (which improve over time) along with existing conditions you can establish a collection of orchids that represent your personal preferrance.

It is the goal of this section tor provide general information, including conditions that different orchids will react positively to, as well as maintaining those orchids with proper water, feeding and light conditions. Some of the included presentations also describe orchids based on color of the flower, and if it is scented or not.

If you have questions regarding any presentation, feel free to use the comment section that accompanies each presentation. Your questions will be answered as soon as possible. Answers will appear along with your original question under the appropriate presentation.

Should the brief introduction of a presentation here entice you to desire to know more about that topic, click the text to the right of the "Read More" image (example image on the right) and you will be able to read the full and complete presentation of interest.

All material in this web site is tagged. This is another advantage of this web site. Click on any tag, and you will be able to review every item (articles, web links, and more) that shares the same tag. This makes searching for specific information (for example - Cymbidiums) much easier. Tags appear on the left hand side just underneath the "read more" image.

If you know of a web site that is not included here, but should be, just let me know by sending word to



Top Image: Orchids from Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina. For mre information, including a photo identifying each orchid in the display, follow this link.


Oncidium / Odontoglossum Alliance


  • Oncidium species and hybrids
  • Odontoglossum species and hybrids
  • Ada, Brassia, Brassisium, Burrageara, Cochlioda, Colmanara, Galeandra, Gomesa, Miltonia, Miltassia, Miltoniopsis, Odontocidium, Rodriguezia, Vuylstekeara, Wilsonara - species and hybrids







Stanhopeas and related genera have large, pleated leaves and bear incredible flowers with intricate, complex structures and mechanisms for pollination, ranging from channeled walkways for insects to buckets of a watery solution. Most have inflorescences that grow downward, so the plants must be potted in hanging baskets or similar containers. Flowers are often spicily fragrant, and although the flowers are short-lived, each plant may produce many inflorescences throughout the year. Related genera Paphinia and Peristeria grow warmer than others in this group, and may produce upright inflorescences.  (Image-Right: Stanhopea tigrina, click on image for larger photo, then click on photo for even larger image)





From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Zygopetalum maculatum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Maxillarieae
Subtribe: Zygopetilinae
Alliance: Zygopetalum
Genus: Zygopetalum
Type species
Zygopetalum mackayi (syn of Z. maculatum)

Zygopetalon Rchb., spelling variation

Zygopetalum (Hook. 1833), is a genus of the orchid family (Orchidaceae) (subfamily Epidendroideae, tribe Maxillarieae, subtribe Zygopetalinae), consisting of fourteen currently recognized species.[1][2]

This orchid's generic name, derived from the Greek word "zygon", means "yoked petal." It refers to the yoke-like growth at the base of the lip caused by the fusion of petals and the sepals.

They occur in humid forests at low- to mid-elevation regions of South America, with most species in Brazil.[1]

Most are epiphytes, but some are terrestrials with glossy, strap-like, plicate leaves, which are apical, oblong or elliptic-lanceolate, acute or acuminate. These orchids have a robust growth form. Their ovoid-conical pseudobulbs are deciduous.

They produce an erect, 60 centimeter-long, few-flowered to several-flowered, racemose inflorescence that grows laterally and is longer than the leaves. Their prominent bracts equal the length of the ovary. They are known for their fragrant, waxy, and long-lived flowers with multiple blooms in shades of green, purple, burgundy, and raspberry with several patterns.

They are known for their ease of culture and are much in demand as excellent cut flowers.


Species accepted as of June 2014:[1]

  1. Zygopetalum brachypetalum Lindl. - Brazil
  2. Zygopetalum crinitum G.Lodd. - Brazil
  3. Zygopetalum ghillanyi Pabst - São Paulo
  4. Zygopetalum graminifolium Rolfe - São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro
  5. Zygopetalum maculatum (Kunth) Garay - Spotted Zygopetalum - Peru, Bolivia, Brazil
  6. Zygopetalum maxillare G.Lodd. - Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina
  7. Zygopetalum microphytum Barb.Rodr. - Minas Gerais, São Paulo
  8. Zygopetalum pabstii Toscano - Espírito Santo
  9. Zygopetalum pedicellatum (Sw.) Garay - southeastern Brazil
  10. Zygopetalum reginae Pabst - São Paulo
  11. Zygopetalum sellowii Rchb.f. in W.G.Walpers - Brazil
  12. Zygopetalum silvanum V.P.Castro & Campacci - Bahia
  13. Zygopetalum sincoranum V.P.Castro & Campacci - Bahia
  14. Zygopetalum triste Barb.Rodr. - Minas Gerais



  1. Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. Pridgeon, A.M., Cribb, P.J., Chase, M.C. & Rasmussen, F.N. (2009). Epidendroideae (Part two). Genera Orchidacearum 5: 1-585. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford.



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