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Oncidium spp. (on-SID-ee-um)

Dancing-lady orchid, Dancing-doll orchid, Butterfly orchid

Most Oncidium orchids are found in sprays with dozens of delicate florets that are 1 inch to 1.5 inches across blooming along a central branching stem.

The most common Oncidiums are mostly yellow with brown speckles although there are some species that have red, maroon, green and white colorings.

Consumers can enjoy Oncidium sprays for up to three weeks if they remain on the stems and in water. If the flowers are used in corsages, they will last for two to three days. Lasting quality also will depend on the variety and the care and handling the flowers receive.

many species
The Oncidium genus has more than 650 species. They are among the most commonly encountered orchids in the retail flower trade today.

Oncidiums are available year-round from world markets.

vase-life extenders
TEMPERATURE Keep Oncidiums at temperatures between 55 F and 60 F. Blackening can occur if the flowers are refrigerated below 50 F. Avoid excessive heat and drafts.
WATER Frequent, light misting is beneficial, but avoid standing droplets of water on the flowers.
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Oncidiums show a low sensitivity to ethylene gas.

quality checklist
BLOOMS Check for signs of discoloration on petals, which indicates old flowers or flowers that have been exposed to low temperatures.

fun facts

WHAT'S IN A NAMEOncidium” is from the Greek word “onkos,” meaning “tumor” or “swelling,” referring to the warty callus of the lip of the florets.
FAMILY These beautiful spray orchids come from the largest family of plants, the Orchidaceae, which has 600 to 800 genera and 17,000 to 18,000 species native to all parts of the globe. Relatives include Cymbidiums, Dendrobiums (Singapore orchids), Phalaenopses (moth orchids) and Paphiopedilums (lady’s-slipper orchids).
HOME SWEET HOME Oncidium orchids have origins in many parts of the world, including tropical Central and South America.
HISTORY The genus was established in 1800 by Swedish botanist Olaf Swartz, who chose Oncidium variegatum as the original name.

Some information provided by:
Aloha Orchid Nursery,
Chain of Life Network®,
Flowers and Plants Association,
Kauai Orchids

Reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at or (415) 239-3140.


Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2008
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.