Odontoglossum Orchids, Long-lasting Spray Orchids

Odontoglossum Orchids, Long-lasting Spray Orchids


Fast Facts Odontoglossum Orchids

Botanical Name: Odontoglossum (oh-don-toh-GLOS-sum)
Abbreviation: Odm.
Family: Orchidaceae
: Epidendroideae/ Maxillarieae
Tribe:  Cymbidieae
Subtribe: Oncidiinae
Number of recognized species: 60 recognized orchid species 
Origin:  Andes of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru
Blooming season: Varies with species
Color:  Odontoglossum orchid blooms with colors ranging from yellow, red, white, and purple, with others having colors and intricate patterns.
Growing classification: Sympodial, epiphytes, and sometimes terrestrial


Origin of Odontoglossum Orchids

The name of this orchid genus was derived from the Greek words “odontos” (meaning tooth) and “glossa” (meaning tongue), because of the appearance of its callus and lips.

Odontoglossum orchids can only be found in the Andean regions of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. In their natural habitat, these delicate orchid plants can be seen in moist cloud forests elevated at 1200 to 3800 meters. They typically thrive in cool climates attached to trees or growing wildly as terrestrial orchids on hillsides and roadsides.

In 1816, the type species, Odontoglossum epidendroides, was first officially described by botanists Humboldt, Bonblandt, and Kunth.

Orchid Plant Description

Depending on the specific orchid species, Odontoglossum orchid plants have the ability to grow as epiphytes, lithophytes, and sometimes terrestrials. They are sympodial orchids with gorgeous inflorescence produced from the bases of the flattened pseudobulbs and can be arching, erect, or even pendulous.

Odontoglossum orchids bloom with large, showy flowers that can come in white, yellow, red, and green with intricate patterns or blotches in purple or brown. Odontoglossum orchid blooms last for a long time both while on the plant or as a cut flower. When used in flower arrangements, they usually have a shelf life of about one to two weeks.

The blooming season for Odontoglossum orchids can vary depending on the species, but they’re usually available year-round in most flower markets.

Odontoglossum Orchid Species

Source: Britannica

Based on the American Orchid Society, most orchid authorities suggest that the Odontoglossum orchid genus has anywhere from 100 to 175 orchid species. But currently, the World Checklist of Monocotyledons recognizes 67 species and 20 natural hybrids.

Still, it is believed that the orchid genus will change completely as we know it once the experts from the Royal Botanical Gardens, led by Mark Chase, PhD, have concluded their research and molecular studies.

According to OrchidSpecies.com, the Odontoglossum orchid genus can be divided into two different groups:

  • The high-altitude orchid plants – This first group is composed of two subgenera that are characterized by orchids with a paniculate inflorescence that can bloom up to 100 flowers.
  • The low-elevation orchid plants – This next group is represented by four subgenera that all have shorter inflorescence that only produce up to 20 flowers that are big in size.

The six subgenera for Odontoglossum orchids are as follows:

  • Erectolobata
  • Lindleyana
  • Nevadensia
  • Odontoglossum
  • Serratolaminata
  • Unguisepala

As mentioned above, the type species for this orchid genus is the Odontoglossum epidendroides H.B.K. 1816. Here’s a list of some Odontoglossum orchid species are:

  1. Odontoglossum × adrianae L.Linden 1879
  2. Odontoglossum alvarezii P.Ortiz 2001
  3. Odontoglossum × andersonianum Rchb.f. 1868
  4. Odontoglossum ariasii Dalström 2001
  5. Odontoglossum armatum Rchb. f. 1877
  6. Odontoglossum aspidorhinum F. Lehm. 1895
  7. Odontoglossum astranthum Linden & Rchb. f. 1867
  8. Odontoglossum auriculatum Rolfe 1892
  9. Odontoglossum bicolor Lindley 1845
  10. Odontoglossum blandum Rchb. f. 1870
  11. Odontoglossum cirrhosum Lindley 1833
  12. Odontoglossum constrictum Lindl. 1843
  13. Odontoglossum contaypacchaense D.E.Benn. & Christenson 2001
  14. Odontoglossum × coradinei Rchb.f. 1872
  15. Odontoglossum crinitum Rchb. f. 1874
  16. Odontoglossum crispum Lindley 1845
  17. Odontoglossum cristatellum Rchb.f. 1878
  18. Odontoglossum cristatum Lindl. 1844
  19. Odontoglossum crocidipterum Rchb. f. 1871
  20. Odontoglossum cruentum Rchb. f. 1870
  21. Odontoglossum deburghgraeveanum Dalstrom & Merino 2010
  22. Odontoglossum digitatum C. Schweinf.1945
  23. Odontoglossum dracoceps Dalström 1999
  24. Odontoglossum epidendroides Kunth 1816
  25. Odontoglossum gloriosum Linden & Rchb. f. 1854
  26. Odontoglossum gramazuense D.E.Benn. & Christenson 2001
  27. Odontoglossum hallii Lindley 1837
  28. Odontoglossum harryanum Rchb. f. 1886
  29. Odontoglossum helgae Königer 1997
  30. Odontoglossum hennisii Rolfe 1894
  31. Odontoglossum juninense Schltr. 1921
  32. Odontoglossum kegeljanii Morren 1877
  33. Odontoglossum lindleyanum Rchb.f. & Warsz. 1854
  34. Odontoglossum llanachagaense D.E.Benn. & Christenson 2001
  35. Odontoglossum lucianianum Rchb. f. 1886
  36. Odontoglossum luteopurpureum Lindl. 1846
  37. Odontoglossum machupicchuense D.E.Benn. & Christenson 2001
  38. Odontoglossum micklowii Dalström 1993
  39. Odontoglossum mirandum Rchb. f. 1882
  40. Odontoglossum multistellare Rchb. f. 1876
  41. Odontoglossum × mulus Rchb.f. 1870
  42. Odontoglossum naevium Lindl. 1850
  43. Odontoglossum nevadense Rchb. f. 1870
  44. Odontoglossum nobile Rchb. f. 1849
  45. Odontoglossum odoratum Lindl. 1846
  46. Odontoglossum portillae Bockemühl 1985
  47. Odontoglossum portmannii Bockemühl 1988
  48. Odontoglossum povedanum P. Ortiz 1997
  49. Odontoglossum praenitens Rchb.f. 1875
  50. Odontoglossum praestans Rchb.f. & Warsc. 1854
  51. Odontoglossum reversum Bockemühl 1986
  52. Odontoglossum rhynchanthum Rchb. f. 1887
  53. Odontoglossum sceptrum Rchb.f. & Warsz. 1854
  54. Odontoglossum schillerianum Rchb.f.1854
  55. Odontoglossum spectatissimum Lindl. 1852
  56. Odontoglossum subuligerum Rchb.f. 1876
  57. Odontoglossum tenue Cogn. 1895
  58. Odontoglossum tenuifolium Dalström 1996
  59. Odontoglossum tripudians Rchb. f. & Warsz. 1854
  60. Odontoglossum velleum Rchb.f. 1874
  61. Odontoglossum vierlingii Senghas 2000
  62. Odontoglossum wallisii Linden & Rchb.f. 1870
  63. Odontoglossum wyattianum G. Wilson 1928

Odontoglossum Orchid Hybrids

Some of the best best-known species from this orchid genus are Odontoglossum crispum, Odontoglossum luteo purpureum, and Odontoglossum odoratum.

There are, at least, 1,000 distinctly different orchid varieties produced from Odm. crispum alone, which has been a top favorite among orchid enthusiasts since it was described by orchidologist and botanist, John Lindley, in 1852.

Hybrids of Odontoglossum orchids are crossed with related orchid genera, such as Oncidium and Miltonia, which are more easily adapted to warmer temperatures compared to others. They also produce exquisite orchid blooms in rare shapes and a wide array of vibrant shades.

Some natural and intergeneric orchids from Odontoglossum orchids worth mentioning are:


  • Odontoglossum × acuminatissimum Rchb.f. 1882 (O. cristatum × O. lindleyanum)
  • Odontoglossum × adrianae L.Linden 1879 (O. nobile × O. luteopurpureum)
  • Odontoglossum × andersonianum Rchb.f. 1868 (O. crispum × O. gloriosum)
  • Odontoglossum × brandtii Kraenzl. & Wittm., G 1889 (O. cirrhosum × O. nobile)
  • Odontoglossum × cookianum Rolfe, 1891 (O. sanderianum × O. spectatissimum)
  • Odontoglossum × coradinei Rchb.f. 1872 (O. crispum × O. lindleyanum)
  • Odontoglossum × dicranophorum Rchb.f., 1888 (O. lindleyanum × O. spectatissimum)
  • Odontoglossum × elegans Rchb.f. 1879 (O. cirrhosum × O. cristatum)
  • Odontoglossum × excellens Rchb.f. 1881 (O. nobile × O. spectatissimum)
  • Odontoglossum × godseffianum Rolfe, 1894 (O. auriculatum × O. spectatissimum)
  • Odontoglossum × hennisii Rolfe, 1894 (O. kegeljani × O. tenue)
  • Odontoglossum × hinnus Rchb.f., 1870 (O. hallii × O. cirrhosum)

Artificial Intergeneric

  • xAdaglossum : Ada x Odontoglossum
  • xAlexanderara : Brassia x Cochlioda x Odontoglossum x Oncidium
  • xAndreettara J.M.H.Shaw : Cochlioda x Miltonia x Odontoglossum
  • xAspodonia : Aspasia x Miltonia x Odontoglossum
  • xBakerara : Brassia x Miltonia x Odontoglossum x Oncidium
  • xBaldwinara : Aspasia x Cochlioda x Odontoglossum x Oncidium
  • xBanfieldara : Ada x Brassia x Odontoglossum
  • xBarbosaara : Cochlioda x Gomesa x Odontoglossum x Oncidium
  • xBaumannara : Comparettia x Odontoglossum x Oncidium
  • xBeallara : Brassia x Cochlioda x Miltonia x Odontoglossum
  • xBiltonara : Ada x Cochlioda x Miltonia x Odontoglossum
  • xWilsonaraCochlioda x Odontoglossum x Oncidium
  • xWingfieldara : Aspasia x Brassia x Odontoglossum
  • xWithnerara : Aspasia x Miltonia x Odontoglossum x Oncidium

Orchid Care: How to Take Care of Odontoglossum Orchids

Thank heavens for orchid hybrids, now you can have your own Odontoglossum orchid plant even if you’re living somewhere warm and tropical.

Growing Odontoglossum orchids in Los Angeles, for example, is possible with intergeneric orchids bred from Miltodiniums, Brassidiums, and Miltassias. These orchid plants are warm-tolerant hybrids and can even survive summer temperatures in the country. The Beallara Marfitch is an excellent example.

Also Read: How to Maintain Your Orchids Indoors

Practical tips for successfully keeping a healthy Odontoglossum orchid plant:

  • Water your orchid plant generously and regularly.
  • Do not wait for your Odontoglossum orchid to dry out completely before watering again.
  • To maintain a moist, well-draining environment for this orchid, plant it in a mixture of 1 part coarse sand, 1 part shredded peat, 1 part coarse perlite, and 4 parts fine bark.
  • Odontoglossum orchids hate it when their roots are distressed. Avoid repotting unless totally necessary, say, it’s become root bound.
  • Odontoglossum orchid hybrids will thrive in temperatures anywhere between 50 to 55 Fahrenheit at night and 72 to 78 Fahrenheit during the daytime.
  • Note that these orchids are used to being in forests and they will be happier in a shaded spot in your home that gets bright light.
  • The AOS recommends giving your Odontoglossum orchids a well-balanced fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 3-1-2 and that comes with other beneficial orchid nutrients.

When shopping for orchid plants, make sure it’s your last stop if you’re running around with other errands to reduce the stress – for the plant and on your part, too. Plants suffer from shock and damage, such as wilted or bruised flowers when they’re not transported properly.

A convenient solution would be to have it delivered right to your doorstep. Orchid Republic offers customizable floral subscription packages and flower delivery in Los Angeles and Orange County.

Located on Sherman Oaks and with a well-equipped flower delivery van, we can guarantee that your orchid plants and flower arrangements would get to you looking fresh and fabulous always.





Jay's Internet Orchid Species
American Orchid Society

Complete Guide to Orchids by Ortho, 2005




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