Zygopetalum (Hook. 1833), is a genus of the orchid family (Orchidaceae) (subfamily Epidendroideae, tribe Maxillarieae, subtribe Zygopetalinae), consisting of fourteen species.
This orchid's generic name, derived from the Greek word "zygon", means "yoked petal." It refers to the yoke-like growth at the base of the lip caused by the fusion of petals and the sepals.
They occur in humid forests at low- to mid-elevation regions of South America, with most species in Brazil.
Most are epiphytes, but some are terrestrials with glossy, strap-like, plicate leaves, which are apical, oblong or elliptic-lanceolate, acute or acuminate. These orchids have a robust growth form. Their ovoid-conical pseudobulbs are deciduous.
They produce an erect, 60 centimeter-long, few-flowered to several-flowered, racemose inflorescence that grows laterally and is longer than the leaves. Their prominent bracts equal the length of the ovary.
Species of Zygopetalum
Zygopetalum brachypetalum Lindl., Zygopetalum burkei, Zygopetalum crinitum, Zygopetalum ghillanyi (Brazil)., Zygopetalum graminifolium (Brazil)., Zygopetalum hasslerianum (Paraguay)., Zygopetalum maculatum Spotted Zygopetalum (Peru to E. Brazil). type species (formerly *Zygopetalum mackai (Hook.)
Zygopetalum maxillare : Chin-bone Zygopetalum (Brazil to NE. Argentina), Zygopetalum microphytum (SE. Brazil)., Zygopetalum pabstii (Brazil)., Zygopetalum pedicellatum Mosen's Zygopetalum (SE. Brazil)., Zygopetalum reginae (Brazil), Zygopetalum rigbyanum (Brazil)., Zygopetalum sellowii (SE. Brazil)., Zygopetalum silvanum (Brazil - Bahia)., Zygopetalum sincoranum (Brazil - Bahia)., Zygopetalum triste Dark-purple Zygopetalum (Brazil - Minas Gerais) (terrestrial or lithophyte
Two similar species, Z. mackayi and Z. intermedium, are commonly cultivated for their long-lasting, fragrant flowers. photo: Manuel Martín Vicente
Zygopetalum growing tips (care instructions)
Zygopetalum orchids should be fed all year round. A orchid fertilizer (20-20-20) is indicated.
The frequency of repotting: If your orchids live in bark, repot every year. If you’re using sphagnum moss, you can wait two years before repotting the plant. The best time to repot is immediately after all of the blooms have opened and are spent. Use a moist mix, and don’t press the medium too firmly into the pot. This orchid likes lots of air spaces.