Zygopetalum, Zygopetalum maculatum

Zygopetalum is a genus of plant found in the orchid family Orchidaceae. It is part of the subfamily Epidendroideae. This genus consists of 14 species. Its generic name, derived form the Greek word “zygon”, means “yoked petal”. This name refers to the yoke-like growth at the base of the lip caused by fusion of the petals and sepals (a separate, green part that surrounds and protects the flower bud).

This genus occurs in humid forests at mid-elevation and lower regions of South America. Most of the species from this genus are found in Brazil. Most zygons grow on other plants for mechanical support, although it may be terrestrial as well.

This plant is glossy and strap-like. The leaves are oblong or elliptical. These orchids have a robust growth form. The bulbs are deciduous. The inflorescence (flowering part of the plant) is up to 23 inches long and has anywhere from a few to several flowers. It grows laterally and is longer than the leaves. This plant is known for its fragrant, waxy, long-lived flowers. It has multiple blooms in shades of green, purple, burgundy, and raspberry. It can appear in several patterns.

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