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Oncidium ornithorhynchum (photo courtesy of Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images)
Oncidium ornithorhynchum (photo courtesy of Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images)

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Zones 17, 20-24, H1, H2
Partial Sun
Regular Water

Oncidium ornithorhynchum

Orchids and bromeliads, Flowers


These orchids are native from Florida and Mexico through central and South America. Several hundred species and countless hybrids range from tiny plants just 1 in. high to giants with 6-ft. flower spikes bearing dozens of blooms. Most produce long spikes of yellow or brown-and-yellow flowers; a few come in white or rose. Some have compressed pseudobulbs with one or two large leaves; others are almost without pseudobulbs; still others have cylindrical, pencil-like leaves.

Plants typically produce a few large blossoms or many small ones, but some have numerous large flowers and a few bear their blooms singly. In many, flowers have a large, flaring lip reminiscent of a flamenco dancer’s skirt; these are sometimes called dancing ladies. Blossoms of some are scented. As outdoor plants, oncidiums are usually grown on tree trunks or in pots on the patio; indoor plants can be brought outdoors during warm weather. They take the same houseplant culture as cattleyas.

Oncidium ornithorhynchum

In summer, many branching, 8–12-in.-high spikes carry a cloud of 1/2–1-in. pink or purplish pink, spice-scented flowers with yellow markings.

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