Wednesday, 14 October 2015 15:21

Maxillaria schunkeana

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LIGHT Partial shade
HUMIDTY moderate humidity
WATER Moist/Dry; 2-4 waterings per week (let dry between waterings) 
BLOOM Blooms summer perhaps into early fall


This Maxillaria's claim to fame is the deep-purple reddish bloom that almost appears as a "true black" flower.  Some claim the flower to be fragrant and others add that a mature thriving specimen can flower all year long.


Pronounced as: max-ill-AIR-ee-a   shun-kee-AY-na

Maxillaria schunkeana has two leaves (bifoliate). Maxillaria variabilis has one leaf. 




From Jay's Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia


Maxillaria schunkeana M.A. Campacci & R.A. Kautsky 1993 Photo courtesy of Wilma Braga


Common Name Schunke's Maxillaria


Flower Size 2/5" [1 cm]


Found in Espiritu Santo State, Brazil in the coastal Atlantic rainforest at elevations of 600 to 700 meters, growing as a small sized, warm to cool growing epiphyte with fusiform-cylindric pseudobulbs enveloped basally by deciduous leaf sheaths carrying 2, apical, erect, linear, conduplicate leaves and blooms in the summer in Brazil on a basal, short, single flowered inflorescence arising on a mature pseudobulb and holding the flower at pseudobulb height..



  • Brasiliorchis schunkeana (Campacci & Kautsky) R.B.Singer, S.Koehler & Carnevali 2007




You can discover this and many other orchid species at Jay's web site, by following this link and Jay's home page here.


From Orchids Wiki


Maxillaria schunkeana

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Maxillarieae
SubTribe: Maxillariinae
Genus: Maxillaria
Species: Max. schunkeana
Binomial name
Maxillaria schunkeana
M.A. Campacci & R.A. Kautsky 1993

Maxillaria schunkeana is a species in the Maxillaria genus. It's flowers are the closest to the color black, but its color is actually a very dark purple-red, giving the impression of a black flower.



Plants flower from spring to summer with 1 cm wide flowers.



The plant is found in the rainforest in Espiritu Santo State, Brazil at elevations of 600 to 700 meters.



Plant can be grown in a fine bark medium, full sphagnum moss, or mounted on treefern or cork. Grow in cool to warm conditions with medium amounts of light. Water regularly and keep mix moist but not wet.



Image Name Description
Maxillaria schunkeana variant Sepals and Petals are purple. lip is purple



Common Name: Schunke's Maxillaria



Brasiliorchis schunkeana

Schunke's Maxillaria
Maxillaria schunkeana.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Maxillarieae
Subtribe: Maxillariinae
Genus: Brasiliorchis
Species: B. schunkeana
Binomial name
Brasiliorchis schunkeana
(Campacci & Kautsky) R.B.Singer, S.Koehler & Carnevali[1]
  • Maxillaria schunkeana Campacci & Kautsky
  • Bolbidium schunkeanum (Campacci & Kautsky) J.M.H.Shaw

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brasiliorchis schunkeana (syn. Maxillaria schunkeana) is a species of orchid.[1] The colors of its flower are very close to black, but it is actually a very dark purple-red, giving the impression of a black flower.[2]



The plant is found in the rainforest in Espiritu Santo State, Brazil,[1] at elevations of 600 to 700 meters.[2]



  1. "Brasiliorchis schunkeana", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2013-05-28
  2. Giulietti & al. (2009). Plantas raras do Brasil: 1-496. Conservação International, Belo Horizonte, MG.


 Maxillaria schunkeana.jpg







Orchid Forum by The Orchid Source » Forums » Orchid Forums » Orchid Soup - General Orchid discussion » Help interpreting Maxillaria schunkeana culture


Just bought this beautiful "black" orchid in bloom from Woodstream today smile I'm going over Jay Pfals website getting an idea of its culture, but I'm having a hard time understanding the temperature recommendations. For schunkeana, its says "warm to cool growing", and for comparison sake I looked at tenuifolia's listing and it says "cool to hot growing." I'm sure he lists the temps in certain order for a reason, but what is that reason? "warm to cool", does that indicate it prefers it on the warmer side of intermediate? "cool to hot" meaning cooler side of I/W? Or am i just reading too much and its culture is almost as plastic as tenuifolia? 


I've got two plants of Max. variablis...the black variety. One is growing in a clay pot of sphagnum moss, the other is mounted. Both do equally as well. Both are growing with my Phalaenopsis...temps 62F to 90F...light levels of 800 to 1500 fc...high humidity and constant breeze. I'm sure they can probably take even cooler temps during the winter.








From Andy's Orchids

Blooming Season: Summer,Fall Blooming
Light:  Bright; 2500-3500 Footcandles (very bright indirect light) 
Temperature: Cool, Intermediate to Warm; 40°F min. to 95°F max. (tolerant of extremes, favoring cool) 
Watering:  Moist/Dry; 2-4 waterings per week(let dry between waterings) 
  Photo:  Andy's Orchids

Visit Andy's Orchids for this and a wide variety of this and other orchids for sale by following this link.


Maxillaria schunkeana presented by Orchids Limited


Maxillaria schunkeana is native to Brazil in the state of Espirito Sant and can be found growing in temps that range from cool to war. The incredible black flowers arise from the base of the growths and last about 4 weeks. This plant typically flowers in the fall but can ocassionaly flower in the spring as well. This species prefers New Zealand sphagnum moss and wants to approach dryness at the roots between watering.

Easy to grow and flower.


Follow this link to explore even more orchids from Orchids Limited (OrchidWeb)


Röllke Orchideen GbR



These plants can tolerate a little more sunlight and grow well on an east or west window however, in the summer months must be shaded at mid-day



Temperatures around 20°C are ideal for these plants. It should not be warmer than 28°C at night and no colder than 15°C.



Regular watering and spraying is necessary, but these varieties must dry out between watering.



Specified dosage as indicated on fertiliser. Orchi-Fit provides the optimal composition.



These orchids do not need rest. They are cultivated throughout the year.


FRAGRANCE: Depending on weather conditions, these orchids are often perceived as fragrant.

 Follow this link to discover additional orchids offered by Röllke Orchideen GbR


Similar orchids

If you appreciate the Maxillaria schunkeana, then the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate recommends the following orchids as well. Orchids noted with a asteric * are included in the NVOS web site, all other links will open a new browser window to the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate page.


Maxillaria bradei

Maxillaria brunnea

Maxillaria nutans type

Maxillaria pachyphylla

Maxillaria richii

Maxillaria variabilis var. yellow *

Maxillaria picta *

Maxillaria variabilis


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