Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chytroglossa aurata

This tiny species represents everything I love about miniature orchids.  Viewed closely the flowers are amazing in their colors and in their intricacy, in this case a combination of green, yellow and brown, of spots and fringes, and arranged in rather unusual pendant, downward-facing fashion on zig-zag spikes.

The plants are 5-6 cm tall, the flowers slightly less than 2 cm and the spikes, carrying up to 10 flowers are 12 cm in length.  The species is from Brazil and belongs to a genus that includes only a few other species, which are very similar to this. 

This little orchid belongs to a family known as the Ornithocephalinae, which includes the better known genus, Ornithocephalus.  That genus has mostly white and green flowers, and so the flowers of this little species provide a welcome change in color.

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