Monnierara Millennium Magic 'Witchcraft' FCC/AOS


One of the blackest orchids to date! Very healthy plants with large pseudobulbs. Grow with plenty of heat, water and fertilizer during the spring and summer months. After or during the flowering season it is common for these plants to drop all of their leaves. Cut back water and fertilizer once the flowers have finished, then resume a normal watering schedule when new growth emerges.


This plant was awarded an FCC/AOS by the American Orchid Society on October 12, 2013 for its superb black flowers and free flowering habit. The plant had 2 spikes with 42 flowers. This is now simply the very best black orchid that exists!




"Gem" versus "Jem" spelling of seed parent

The above identifies the spelling of the seed parent as Catanoches Midnight Jem.  I therefore will follow their lead.



Catanoches Midnight Jem × Mormodes sinuata


While not as well-known as the similarly near-black Fredclarkeara After Dark ‘SVO,’ FCC/AOS this stunning orchid pre-dates its introduction by three years, and also bears somewhat larger flowers on more erect inflorescences.  Monnierara = Catasetum + Cycnoches + Mormodes, and like the more famous example, the parents used to produce the cross give little hint that they could result in flowers of such a saturated deep purple that even in direct sunlight they appear black. At judging it scored 88 points, just two points short of the coveted First Class Certificate, but close enough to leave room for a possible upgrade at some future judging. The four species involved in this magical orchid all come from areas in Central and South America with a pronounced dry season and an intermediate to warm temperature range. After flowering, Monn. Millenium Magic should be watered with less frequency as the leaves begin to yellow and fall off. By winter, moisture should be limited to occasional misting to prevent the bare pseudobulbs from over shriveling during their resting phase. New growth will occur in late winter to spring, and should be allowed to grow several inches and begin to form its own roots before regular (and frequent) watering should resume, along with regular fertilizing. The goal is to produce to most robust growths possible during spring and summer so that they will produce the greatest number of flowers in fall. Robust plants are capable of two or three inflorescences from each new growth. The flowering season can vary by several months depending on your specific growing conditions.




Ancestry (total 7) %
Catasetum expansum Rchb.f. 18.75%
Catasetum pileatum Rchb.f. 6.25%
Cycnoches chlorochilon Klotzsch 25%
Mormodes sinuata Rchb.f. & Warm. 50%
Catasetum Susan Fuchs R.F.Orchids 25%
Catasetum Orchidglade Jones & Scully 12.5%
Catanoches Midnight Jem JEM 50%



Photo Gallery









Another  black orchid hybrid after the Fredekeara After Dark. Monnierara Millennium Magic ‘Witchcraft’ FCC/AOS is a complex catasetinae hybrid between Catanoches Midnight Jem and Marmodes sinuata. Flowers are numerous, long lasting, and have a minty fragrance.


As with most Catasetinae these are easily grown and flowered when given bright light and a distinct dry rest period. Plants should be kept in relatively small pots. Plants begin growth in March – May. During the growing season they like copious water but prefer to dry out between. Plants flower as each new growth matures, but some flower with the new growth. Plants will mature their growths August – October. At this point cut back on water. When the leaves have completely fallen off only water enough to keep the pseudobulbs from shriveling. The following season wait until the new growth is about 2” – 4” tall with developing roots before beginning to water normally. This is usually the best time to repot. Repotting when the plants are early in their active growth and when the roots are still short. Plants grow well under Cattleya levels of light but will proliferate and flower better under stronger light.


Monnierara Millennium Magic ‘Witchcraft’ FCC/AOC is a must have member of the Catasetum family. It has VERY dark burgundy colour flowers that are almost black. It is a deciduous plant that loses most is not all of it’s leaves in the autumn after blooming. In winter is can be plain with only the bulbs showing but come spring and the new growths come fast. As with all Catasetums they like little to no water during the winter but when the new growths begin they grow fast and need water and fertiliser to keep up with the rapid growth




Can be fragrant ranging from a pine smell to a mint smell  Flowers can last over 1 month.


Stake when the spikes are young so as to support them.




Monnierara Millenium Magic ‘Witch Craft’ AM/AOS  (Ctnchs. Midnight Jem x Morm. sinuata)


black      /blak/(adjective) Of the very darkest color; the opposite of white; colored like coal, due to the absence of or complete absorption of light


Its really difficult for me to call any orchid “black”. I don’t know if its a cynical point of view after hearing many times that someone “saw a black orchid once”. Or years ago running into the same older gentleman at orchid shows  that would relay that his mother used to grow a “black orchid”..(his hands always making a giant circle the size of dinner plates)….“oh, that’s great” you would hear, nobody wanting to push the topic any further. Only to be the punchline of endless jokes the rest of the weekend. If we only had a little of what he was smoking we all could grow black orchids….


That’s not to say that some orchids don’t approach black. Many vini-colored paphiopedilums have very dark areas that can appear black and there are quite a few orchids with black “parts”. Coelogyne pandurata used to be referred to as the black orchid even though the flower is a pleasant creamy-green  and only a section of the lip appears colorless. My personal vote is for Maxillaria schunkeana. I always wondered why there aren’t more references to this as a black orchid. Until you get it into an extremely bright situation and look at the flower back-lit do you see any hint of purple. Maybe because it has small flowers that bloom below its foliage and isn’t a widely grown species that has led to its lack of publicity.


Monn. Millenium Magic 'Witch Craft’ AM/AOS

(over exposed photo)


A couple years back I purchased a dozen or so seedlings of Monnierara Millenium Magic 'Witch Craft’ AM/AOS and just bloomed the first of them this month and I can honestly say they are fairly black. In fact so black that I had to over expose the photo to really be able to focus the macro images of the lip and column (this brings out a lot of purple that isn’t really there). Its pretty amazing even though the shape of the flowers are a bit twisted and cupped.


Enter our friend Fred Clarke ( and things change just a bit. He’s a fantastic breeder and grower of orchids. But when he saw the results of a once forgotten hybrid he created (the labeling was lost at one point) he knew he had something special. When Fredclarkeara After Dark was exhibited at a monthly judging session of the Pacific South Center of the AOS, it was a sensation with “the blackest flowers the judges had seen”. In my opinion the best thing about this hybrid is the combination of color (or lack-there-of) and shape. The awarded plants do truly have a great shape (unlike Monn. Millenium Magic or the first harlequin phalaenopsis that were awarded FCC’s based on shock value color alone). So when Fred visited the Utah Orchid Society a few years back I purchased one of these seedlings (not the clone) and rolled the genetic dice only to get a spotted, but very nice  form..not a “black” one.


So after blooming Monn. Millenium Magic and Max. schunkeana and seeing the dark forms of Fredclarkeara After Dark, this makes me re-think my thoughts on black orchids. And even though they are technically just REALLY,REALLY, REALLY dark purple, I can let go of my cynical views when I hear “I saw a black orchid once




History of AOS Awards


This information is for reference only and is not to be considered an  official  source.




24 Sep. Monn. Millennium Magic 'Witchcraft' AM/AOS   L. Sanford





12 Oct. Monn. Millennium Magic 'Witchcraft' FCC/AOS  




19 Dec. Monn. Millennium Magic 'Witchcraft' FCC/AOS 92
19 Dec. Monn. Millennium Magic 'Witchcraft' CCE/AOS 92




Monnierara Millennium Magic 'Witchcraft' FCC/AOS


  Flowering by Week 1 to 52
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I possess this orchid new growth spotted leaflets and roots growth stage spike bloom dormancy



27 July 2019  Took possession from KO of NVOS



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