Fast Facts Odontoglossum Orchids
Botanical Name: Odontoglossum (oh-don-toh-GLOS-sum)
Subfamily: Epidendroideae/ Maxillarieae
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
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:
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:
- Odontoglossum × adrianae L.Linden 1879
- Odontoglossum alvarezii P.Ortiz 2001
- Odontoglossum × andersonianum Rchb.f. 1868
- Odontoglossum ariasii Dalström 2001
- Odontoglossum armatum Rchb. f. 1877
- Odontoglossum aspidorhinum F. Lehm. 1895
- Odontoglossum astranthum Linden & Rchb. f. 1867
- Odontoglossum auriculatum Rolfe 1892
- Odontoglossum bicolor Lindley 1845
- Odontoglossum blandum Rchb. f. 1870
- Odontoglossum cirrhosum Lindley 1833
- Odontoglossum constrictum Lindl. 1843
- Odontoglossum contaypacchaense D.E.Benn. & Christenson 2001
- Odontoglossum × coradinei Rchb.f. 1872
- Odontoglossum crinitum Rchb. f. 1874
- Odontoglossum crispum Lindley 1845
- Odontoglossum cristatellum Rchb.f. 1878
- Odontoglossum cristatum Lindl. 1844
- Odontoglossum crocidipterum Rchb. f. 1871
- Odontoglossum cruentum Rchb. f. 1870
- Odontoglossum deburghgraeveanum Dalstrom & Merino 2010
- Odontoglossum digitatum C. Schweinf.1945
- Odontoglossum dracoceps Dalström 1999
- Odontoglossum epidendroides Kunth 1816
- Odontoglossum gloriosum Linden & Rchb. f. 1854
- Odontoglossum gramazuense D.E.Benn. & Christenson 2001
- Odontoglossum hallii Lindley 1837
- Odontoglossum harryanum Rchb. f. 1886
- Odontoglossum helgae Königer 1997
- Odontoglossum hennisii Rolfe 1894
- Odontoglossum juninense Schltr. 1921
- Odontoglossum kegeljanii Morren 1877
- Odontoglossum lindleyanum Rchb.f. & Warsz. 1854
- Odontoglossum llanachagaense D.E.Benn. & Christenson 2001
- Odontoglossum lucianianum Rchb. f. 1886
- Odontoglossum luteopurpureum Lindl. 1846
- Odontoglossum machupicchuense D.E.Benn. & Christenson 2001
- Odontoglossum micklowii Dalström 1993
- Odontoglossum mirandum Rchb. f. 1882
- Odontoglossum multistellare Rchb. f. 1876
- Odontoglossum × mulus Rchb.f. 1870
- Odontoglossum naevium Lindl. 1850
- Odontoglossum nevadense Rchb. f. 1870
- Odontoglossum nobile Rchb. f. 1849
- Odontoglossum odoratum Lindl. 1846
- Odontoglossum portillae Bockemühl 1985
- Odontoglossum portmannii Bockemühl 1988
- Odontoglossum povedanum P. Ortiz 1997
- Odontoglossum praenitens Rchb.f. 1875
- Odontoglossum praestans Rchb.f. & Warsc. 1854
- Odontoglossum reversum Bockemühl 1986
- Odontoglossum rhynchanthum Rchb. f. 1887
- Odontoglossum sceptrum Rchb.f. & Warsz. 1854
- Odontoglossum schillerianum Rchb.f.1854
- Odontoglossum spectatissimum Lindl. 1852
- Odontoglossum subuligerum Rchb.f. 1876
- Odontoglossum tenue Cogn. 1895
- Odontoglossum tenuifolium Dalström 1996
- Odontoglossum tripudians Rchb. f. & Warsz. 1854
- Odontoglossum velleum Rchb.f. 1874
- Odontoglossum vierlingii Senghas 2000
- Odontoglossum wallisii Linden & Rchb.f. 1870
- 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)
- 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
- xWilsonara: Cochlioda 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.
Complete Guide to Orchids by Ortho, 2005