Catasetum tenebrosum

Catasetum tenebrosum is an unusual species of orchid and comes Ecuador and Peru. Catasetum tenebrosum is a deciduous orchid, and after flowering they enter a period of dormancy at which point they drop their leaves.

In their native habitat, these orchids mostly  grow as epiphytes in the wet forests. Species of this genus all host wood devouring mycorhizzial fungi which supplement the plants nutrition by breaking down decomposing wood. The majority of the species have a prolonged saprophytic stage in decomposing wood as seedlings before developing leaves and photosynthesis.

To grow these well at home, strong light is needed, especially when they are actively growing and forming flower spikes (from the spring until autumn). They need bright indirect sunlight for best results.

This orchid can tolerate hot summer days whilst in growth but should be given a cooler period while dormant. In the summer they can take in excess of 30C in a humid orchid house. Once the pseudobulbs mature, they can tolerate lower day time temperatures temperatures between 18C to 30C with lower temperatures at night (down as low as 11C-12C). This is quite a wide temperature range which makes them difficult to grow with other orchids.

Water is critical for producing large pseudobulbs and strong flowers. Water heavily as leaves are forming especially during the spring and summer and when flower spikes are forming. The plant stores water in the pseudobulbs to use whilst in active growth and then to take it through the period of dormancy.


  1. They are so beautiful, but my first thought is they look like witches!

    1. Hehe I love that thought!! Really made me laugh, I can see exactly what you mean.