Bulbophyllum pecten-veneris

Family : Orchidaceae

Text © Pietro Puccio


English translation by Mario Beltramini


Miniature orchid, Bulbophyllum pecten-veneris has odd umbel inflorescences of various colours, with an about 10 cm scape and 3-9 elongated 4-9 cm flowers © Giuseppe Mazza

Miniature orchid, Bulbophyllum pecten-veneris has odd umbel inflorescences of various colours, with an about 10 cm scape and 3-9 elongated 4-9 cm flowers © Giuseppe Mazza

The species is native to China (Anhui, Chongqing, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Henan, Hong Kong, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Kin-Men, Macao, Ma-tsu-Pai-chúan, Shanghai, Sichuan, Yunnan and Zhejiang), Laos, Taiwan and Vietnam where it grows as epiphyte on the trees of the evergreen forests up to about 1500 m of altitude.

The name of the genus is the combination of the Greek substantives “βολβός” (bolbos) = bulb and “φύλλον” (phyllon) = leaf, with reference to the leaves growing at the apex of the pseudobulbs; the name of the species is the combination of the Latin terms “pecten, -nis” = comb and “Venus, -neris” = Venus, therefore, comb of Venus with reference to the shape of the inflorescence.

Common names: ban chun juan ban lan (Chinese).

The Bulbophyllum pecten-veneris (Gagnep.) Seidenf. (1974) is an epiphytic species with ovoid and wrinkled pseudobulbs, about 1,2 cm long and of 1 cm of diameter, spaced of 0,5-1 cm on creeping rhizome, carrying at the apex one single oblong-lanceolate leaf with obtuse apex, rigid, coriaceous, 1-7 cm long and 0,8-1,6 cm broad, of intense glossy green colour.

Umbel inflorescence from the base of the pseudobulb on erect or arcuate scape, about 10 cm long, carrying 3-9 flowers of colour varying from greenish yellow or yellow suffused of brown, to orange, to vermilion red, opening at the same time. Ovate dorsal sepal with pointed apex and margins provided with yellow petals, concave, 0,5-0,8 cm long, drooping lateral sepals, merged for a tract close to the base, then divided and divergent, oblong-linear with long pointed apices, 4-9 cm long, ovate petals with margins having yellow hairs, 0,3-0,5 cm long and 0,2 cm broad, oblong labellum, curved, fleshy, about 0,3 cm long. The flowers are almost odourless and last 7-10 days. It reproduces by seed, in vitro, and at amateur level by division, with each section provided of at least 3-4 pseudobulbs.

Miniature orchid with the characteristic inflorescences, floriferous and easy to cultivate, requires a semi-shaded position, medium-high temperatures, 20-30 °C, with lowest winter values not under the 15 °C, high humidity, 70-85%, accompanied by a constant ventilation. Regular waterings, letting the substratum to only partially dry up before giving water again, more spaced in winter, utilizing also for the nebulisations, in presence of high temperatures, rainwater, demineralised or by reverse osmosis. Biweekly fertilizations during the growth with hydrosoluble balanced products, with microelements, at ¼ of the dosage suggested on the package. It can be cultivated in pot, with aerated and draining compost that may be formed by fine-medium sliced bark fragments with addition of sphagnum, if the location is not sufficiently humid, or mounted on bark rafts of cork or of arborescent ferns. The repottings, when necessary, are to be done at the vegetative restart.

The species is reported in the appendix II of the CITES (species whose trade is internationally ruled).

Synonyms: Cirrhopetalum miniatum Rolfe (1913); Cirrhopetalum pecten-veneris Gagnep. (1931); Cirrhopetalum flaviflorum Tang, S.Liu & H.Y.Su (1971); Bulbophyllum flaviflorum (Tang, S.Liu & H.Y.Su) Seidenf. (1973); Bulbophyllum tingabarinum Garay, Hamer & Siegerist (1994); Bulbophyllum tingabarinum f. flavum O.Gruss (2006).


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