(fal-ii-nop' siss)

Common name: Moth Orchid

Family: Orchidaceae, Orchid

Height x width: 12-36" x 12-18"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: 3-6 broad (3-5" across) obovate to oval, upright or pendent, leathery, dark green or mottled leaves 6-18" long; arising from short, upright, stem-like rhizomes; monopodial growth

Flowers: simple or branched racemes on 1-2' spikes arising from leaf bases; 3 outer sepals and 3 inner petals, one being variously lobed and incurved and colored, 3-5" across; overall appearance is "moth-like"; lasts 3-4 months

Light: bright to moderate

Temperature: average to warm

Watering: moderate

Fertility: moderate

Humidity: humid

Soil: epiphytic

Pests and Problems: bacterial soft rot, crown rots, petal blight, mosaic viruses, scale insects

Growth habit, uses: flowering indoor plant, cut flower

Other interest: native to tropical Asia, northern Australia and the South Pacific; flower appears like moths in order to attract them for mating, which results in cross pollination; has no pseudobulbs as temperatures in its native habitat fluctuate very little; from the Greek phalaina meaning moth, and opsis meaning appearance, refering to the flower shape

Other culture: cut back flower stems partly, never completely, after bloom to encourage more flowering; keep foliage dry in winter when not in active growth; generally easy to grow and flower

Propagation: rooting of cuttings or offshoots, adventitious plantlets formed on flower spikes of some species


Of the about 50 species, the following are perhaps most often encountered.
Species foliage flowers
amabilis broadly oval, 6-20" white, yellow lip margins, red throat markings, 2-4"
cornu-cervi oblong-ovate, 10" yellowish with red-brown, waxy, fragrant, 2"
equestris oblong-ovate, 8" rose, purplish lips streaked red, 1"
lueddemanniana oblong-ovate, 12" white, reddish bands, pink lips, fragrant, 2"
schilleriana elliptic, spots, 18" rose, white or yellow lips spotted red, 2"
stuartiana oval, mottled, 14" white, yellow marks, brown spots, 3"
violacea oblong, 8-10" purple, yellow, white, reddish lips, fragrant, waxy, 3"

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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