Anguloa Orchids, the Tulip Orchids

Anguloa Orchids, the Tulip Orchids

Fast Facts Anguloa Orchids

Botanical Name: Anguloa (An-gyoo-LOW-ah)
Abbreviation: Ang.
The etymology of the orchid genus' name: It was named in honor of Francisco de Angulo, a known orchid enthusiast from Peru.
Common name or nickname: Tulip orchid or cradle orchid
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Cymbidieae
Subtribe: Maxillariinae
Number of recognized species: 9 distinct species and 4 natural hybrids
Type species: Anguloa uniflora Ruiz & Pavon 1798
Origin/Distribution: Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru
Growing classification: Terrestrial orchids, sometimes epiphytes
Blooming season: Late spring to early summer
Flower color: Anguloa orchids can bloom in shades of white, yellow, red or sometimes a combination of two colors.

About Anguloa Orchids 

Anguloa orchid plants, otherwise known as tulip orchids or cradle orchids, are usually seen thriving in the forest floors of the high Andean regions of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru. Given that their natural habitat is in the Andes mountains, which has an elevation anywhere from 1800 to 2500 meters,  the general assumption is that these orchids are expected to grow better in a cooler environment, compared to a hotter one. Scroll down to learn more about how to take care of Anguloa orchids.

This small orchid genus composed of 13 recognized species was first described by José Antonio Pavón and Hipólito Ruiz López in 1798. They christened it in honor of renowned Peruvian orchid aficionado, Francisco de Angulo.

Plant Description

According to the American Orchid Society, orchid plants that belong in this specific genus are noticeably large, with fleshy pseudobulbs growing taller 9 inches in height and with leaves going beyond 4 feet in length. Jay’s Internet Orchid Species explicitly described its leaves as large, plicate, imbricate, and deciduous.

They are mostly terrestrial in nature but with some occasional epiphytes. Anguloa orchids are closely related to Lycaste orchid genus. The blooming season for these orchid plants takes place late spring to early summer months.

Anguloa orchids have a signature cup-shaped flower with the petals huddled inward, and only one flower per stem. It bears a strong resemblance to the popular tulips. They can bloom in white, yellow, and red, which come with differences. The white Anguloa orchids produce up to 6 inflorescences only, while the red and yellow ones are more impressive, making up to 12 inflorescences. 

Another distinct characteristic of Anguloa orchids is that their flowers have a really pleasant scent, which others say can be likened to menthol, wintergreen, and cinnamon. Many say this wonderful fragrance is more noticeable during the daytime. This same scent that humans love is what attracts the male euglossine bees to come near the Anguloa orchids and pollinate them.

Anguloa Orchid Species, Hybrids, and Varieties

The AOS cited the extensive work of Dr. Henry F. Oakeley’s, which revealed that Anguloa orchid genus is made of 9 unique orchid species and 4 natural hybrids. We’ve listed them accordingly below along with their countries of distribution.

Anguloa Orchid Species

  • Anguloa brevilabris Rolfe - Colombia, Peru
  • Anguloa cliftonii J.G.Fowler - Colombia
  • Anguloa clowesii Lindl. - Venezuela and Colombia
  • Anguloa dubia Rchb.f. - Colombia and possibly Venezuela
  • Anguloa eburnea Linden ex B.S.Williams - Colombia, Peru, Ecuador
  • Anguloa hohenlohii C.Morren - Colombia
  • Anguloa tognettiae Oakeley - Venezuela and Colombia
  • Anguloa uniflora Ruiz & Pav. - Peru
  • Anguloa virginalis Linden ex B.S.Williams - Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia

Natural Anguloa Orchid Hybrids

  • Anguloa × acostae Oakeley (A. eburnea × A. hohenlohii) - Colombia
  • Anguloa × rolfei Sander ex Rolfe  (A. brevilabris × A. cliftonii)- Colombia
  • Anguloa × ruckeri Lindl. (A. clowesii × A. hohenlohii) - Colombia, Venezuela, Peru
  • Anguloa × speciosa Linden (A. tognettiae × A. virginalis) - Venezuela, Colombia

Anguloa Orchid Varieties

The Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families recognizes the same number, including 4 different varieties.

  • Anguloa hohenlohii var. hohenlohii - Venezuela and Colombia
  • Anguloa hohenlohii var. macroglossa (Schltr.) Oakeley - Colombia
  • Anguloa virginalis var. turneri (B.S.Williams) Oakeley - Colombia
  • Anguloa virginalis var. virginalis - Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia

How to Take Care of Anguloa Orchids

As mentioned above, it’s easy to jump into the conclusion that because Anguloa orchids lived in the Andes, where it’s elevated and cold, that it would do well in perhaps a cold and low-lit environment.

Fortunately, Linda Kraus from the AOS wrote an informative article about the maintenance requirement of the Anguloa orchids. She interviewed seasoned orchid growers from around the country, who have had such remarkable success growing different species and rare varieties of Anguloa orchids.

It’s important to note that there is no one size fits all approach to taking care of Anguloa orchids. However, this is a summary of the best orchid care practices that have worked for these experts.

From Jerry Fischer of Orchids Limited in Minnesota:

  • It’s all right to use either clay or plastic pots.
  • Anguloa orchids do well in a special potting mix made of medium fir bark, medium charcoal to a  10-inch pot of perlite, redwood wool, and coarse peat.
  • Water Anguloa orchids every 4 to 5 days in winter and every 3 days in the summertime.
  • Fischer only uses rainwater for his Anguloa orchids.
  • Feed your Anguloa orchids regularly with a 30-10-10 ratio.
  • He uses an evaporative cooler to provide 58-60ºF night temperatures and 65ºF day temperatures in winter and 60ºF night temperatures and controlled 80ºF day temperatures in summer.

If you’re like us who dreams to grow Anguloa orchids in Los Angeles, here are two California orchid growers worth taking note of.

The first is Robert Levi,  who received the Certificate of Cultural Merit from the American Orchid Society (with Ron Hawley of Hawley-Levi Orchids) for his Anguloa cliftonii 'Cancer' orchid plant.

Check out Levi’s orchid care tips:

  • He uses a potting mix composed of tree fern and bark in plastic pots.
  • He advises growers to use Styrofoam "peanuts" for drainage.

Bruce Cobbledick is from Unicorn Orchids and he grows the popular Anguloa orchid species.

Here are some of his expert advice:

  • Use plastic pots with a mixture of bark and perlite and agrees with plastic peanuts being an effective solution for drainage.
  • Fertilize every 2 weeks with a 30-10-10 or a balanced analysis fertilizer.
  • He skips watering his Anguloa orchids during the winter months, too.
  • Repot your Anguloa orchids every spring and surely they will bloom each year.
  • He maintains 55ºF night temperatures. He also keeps his greenhouses under 80ºF during the day, so that the Anguloa orchids and Lycastes can be grown with Odontoglossums and other cool orchid genera.

Anguloa orchids can be a bit hard to come by, depending on where you live.  We recommend talking to people at your local flower market, or preferably, to your favorite florist to source rare or exotic orchid plants for you.

Orchid Republic is a floral boutique at Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles. We have an extensive collection of orchid arrangements that range in different species, hybrids, and varieties. They also come in different styles and colors. We can also accommodate special requests and custom arrangements. Give us a call, email us, or drop by our boutique during our store hours. Our friendly staffs are always happy to help you with your floral needs.


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