Orchids native from Florida and Mexico through South America. The several hundred species and countless hybrids range from tiny plants just 1 inches tall to giants with branching flower spikes to 6 feet or more, bearing dozens of blooms. Most produce long spikes of yellow or brown-and-yellow flowers; a few come in white or rose. Some (including the plants described here) have compressed pseudobulbs, while others are almost without pseudobulbs; some have just one or two large leaves, others cylindrical, pencil-like leaves. Plants typically produce a few large blossoms or many small ones, but some have numerous large flowers and a few bear their blooms singly. In many, flowers have a large, flaring lip reminiscent of a flamenco dancer's skirt; these are some- times called dancing ladies. Blossoms of some are scented.
As outdoor plants, oncidiums are usually grown on tree trunks or in pots on the patio; indoor plants can be brought outdoors during warm weather. Take same houseplant culture as cattleya, page 221.
- Pseudobulbs 4 inches high are topped by 8 inches leaves.
- In fall, produces a branching, 3 feet-tall spike carrying many 4 inches flowers in chestnut brown spotted with yellow.
- Each bloom has a brown lip with a large bright yellow spot.
- Pseudobulbs 212 inches tall are topped by leaves to 1 feet long.
- In summer, many branching, 8- to 12 inches-tall spikes carry a cloud of inch-wide pink or purplish pink flowers with yellow markings.
- A series of powerfully fragrant hybrids with 4 inches-high pseudobulbs topped by 8 inches leaves.
- Spikes to 23 feet long bear many inch-wide blossoms in summer and fall; some liken the flowers' perfume to chocolate, others to vanilla.
- Sweet Fragrance has reddish purple blossoms with a white lip.