Grammatophyllum speciosum
Grammatophyllum speciosum plate from
Paxton's Flower Garden

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Cymbidieae
SubTribe: Cyrtopodiinae
Alliance: Cymbidium
Genus: Grammatophyllum
Blume 1825
Type Species
Grammatophyllum speciosum

Grammatophyllum Blume, 1825 is a genus of 11 orchid species in tribe Cymbidieae, subtribe Cyrtopodiinae.


This epiphytic genus occurs in dense rainforest from Indo-China, to Indonesia, the Philippines, New Guinea, and SW Pacific islands.


The species produce several racemes, arising from the base of the pseudobulb, with many yellow-green to olive-green, waxy flowers with dark purplish-red marks. The pseudobulbs are enveloped by sheaths.

These are medium-sized to very large orchids, including the Giant Orchid (Grammatophyllum speciosum), believed to be the largest orchid species in existence. Its pseudobulbs can grow to a length of 2.5 m. Plants can develop into gigantic clusters weighing from several hundred kilograms to one ton! The roots form spectacular bundles.

The more modest Bell Orchid (Grammatophyllum scriptum) is another well-known species, with pseudobulbs of 20cm, from which originate 3 to 4 stout leaves with a length of 1 m.

Grammatophyllum multiflorum is one of the longest-blooming orchids in existence: it can be in bloom for nine months. See also Dendrobium cuthbertsonii, whose flowers have been reported to last up to ten months each.


These plants are usually rare in cultivation due to their spacial requirements. Plants require direct sunlight and intermediate to warm temperatures. Keep in temperatures of 75° to 85°F in the day and 55°-6O°F in the night. Plants can tolerate temperatures up to 100°F and as low as 45°F. Plants need to be heavily fertilized during growing season. Pot in sphagnum moss or medium fir bark. Mix should be well drained. Keep area well ventilated. Water frequently in spring to early fall during growth period, but do not keep mix wet and damp. In the winter reduce watering and water when potting media is dried.


The name is derived from the Greek words 'gramma' (letter) and 'phyllon' (leaf), referring to the dark markings in the flower.


  1. Gabertia Gaud. 1829
  2. Pattonia Wight 1851

Species Edit


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