Zygopetalum (Hook. 1833), is a genus of the orchid family (Orchidaceae) (subfamily Epidendroideae, tribe Maxillarieae, subtribe Zygopetalinae), consisting of fourteen species.
They occur in humid forests at low- to mid-elevation regions of South America, with most species in Brazil.
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.
Most species are cool growing. Keep plant frost free and at cool to intermediate temperatures. Plant will tolerate temperatures of 28°C only for several hours. Keep plant in medium to bright light. Zygopetalums can take morning sun and filtered noon sunlight. Light green leaves with a bit of yellow indicates maximum sun light absorption. Zygopetalum potting media should not be allowed to dry out. Keep moist but not soggy. Water about every five to seven days. Plants should be potted in medium to fine bark with some perlite.
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.
- Warreella Schltr. 1914
- Zygopetalon Rchb.f 1827
Type species is Zygopetalum mackii
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