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.


Thursday, 05 February 2015 00:29


Written by

Pronounced: zy-go-PET-uh-lum

These alphabetically challenged orchids are recent arrivals on the horticultural scene, providing wonderful, scented flowers, in shades of green, brown and purple. Although not difficult to grow they have a tendency to spotting on the leaves, although newer hybrids, particularly withColax species, seek to remedy this problem.

Thursday, 05 February 2015 00:22


Written by

Zygopetalums are fragrant and exotic new world orchids that grow in a cool rainforest environment.  They like moderate light levels and somewhat more water than cattleyas.  In the greenhouse, Zygopetalums require some shading to prevent their thin leaves from overheating.  In the home, however, they need bright light.  Placing them outside under the shade of tall trees during the summer months is very beneficial.  Do not place them in full sun, however, or the leaves will burn.  In the home, placing Zygopetalums in a room with relatively cool temperatures will help guard against dehydration.  They are happiest with night temperatures of 55 to 60 degrees and daytime temperatures in the mid 80’s or below.

In watering Zygopetalums, it is best to soak the potting mix thoroughly and wait until the center is almost dry before watering again.  In warm weather this can be as often as every 2-3 days and in the winter as little as once every 5-7 days.

Plants in this group should be given a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer about once a month during the growing months.  Do not feed plants when dormant.  It is best to under-fertilize rather than to over-fertilize.  With the lower light and drier conditions in the home, orchids cannot use as much fertilizer as they can use in the greenhouse.  Some growers like to increase the humidity around their orchids in the home by using "humidity trays" or trays of wet gravel around or under the plants.  Pots should not touch the surface of the water.

We have had good luck with the following growing media:


  • Three parts long fibered New Zealand or Chilean sphagnum moss
     (Soak for at least 24 hours, drain and squeeze out excess water)
  • One part volcanic or ‘Dyna’ rock, rinsed (1/4” to ½”)
  • One part #3 perlite (sponge rock)
  • One part loose medium tree fern


We pot the plants loosely to allow for good drainage and air flow around the roots.  Always make sure the newest growth is touching or slightly below the top of the medium. Unlike epiphytes, plants in this group will not grow ‘air roots’ and in order for the new roots to thrive, they must be in or directly on the growing medium.  Repotting should be done when a new growth is showing and during the temperate seasons, spring or fall.  Depending on how often watering is required and your summer temperatures (temperatures of 85 or higher break the mix down faster) repotting should be done every 12-18 months. Young plants which are growing fast may become root bound much more quickly.

These growing conditions are very similar to those required for Promanaea and Maxillaria


All information presented here is for educational and informational purposes only under the guidelines of "Fair Use" policies defined by US Copyright law(s).  Some images and select text are protected by respective copyright holders. Material presented here is done so as educational, and "as is".  The Napa Valley Orchid Society, it's executive Board, General members and the web site maintainer cannot be held liable for any damages incurred.

When necessary, images and texts will be fully credited to the original.

Information here may be used by other orchid societies as long as they credit the original creator and at least mention the Napa Valley Orchid Website as a courtesy.