Thursday, 13 September 2012

Psychopsis Orchids

Psychopsis, which is usually abbreviated as Psychp in the horticultural trade, is a genus of just four species of orchids. They are native to the West Indies as well as from Costa Rica to Peru. They are usually epiphytic where they grow on the trunks and branches of trees. The genus used to be contained within the huge Oncidium genus (and there are many similarities. In addition the monotypic Psychopsiella is also closely related to and sometimes merged with Psychopsis.
 

 The genus is commonly known as "butterfly orchids", but is not unique in being described so with several other genus also being known as butterfly orchids. The reasons for this are obvious, the flower on Psychopsis resembles a butterfly with a brightly coloured body (the lip, a modified petal), with very long antennae like petals, and outspread wing-like dappled yellow and brown sepals. The butterfly orchid is rumored to have started the European "Orchidmania" of the 19th century.



In the narrow sense, Psychopsis consists of just 4 species:

  • Psychopsis krameriana 
  • Psychopsis papilio 
  • Psychopsis sanderae 
  • Psychopsis versteegiana 

Psychopsis papilio var alba
There are however numerous crosses and hybrids of these species with other Orchids to create some beautiful flowers for example we recently featured Psychopsis mariposa 'Green Valley'

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