Cyrtochilum serratum

Family : Orchidaceae

Text © Pietro Puccio


English translation by Mario Beltramini


The species is native to Ecuador and Peru where it lives in the misti mountainous forests between the 1800 and the 3300 m of altitude.

The name of the genus is the combination of the Greek adjective “κυρτός” (cyrtós) = convex and of the substantive “χεῖλος” (cheilos) = lip, wirth reference to the shape of the labellum; the specific name is the Latin adjective “serratus, a, um” = serrate, with reference to the margins of the serrate-ruffled sepals and petals.

Common names: serrated oncidium (English).

The Cyrtochilum serratum (Lindl.) Kraenzl. (1917) is an epiphytic or terrestrial species, with robust creeping rhizome and oblong-ovoid pseudobulbs compressed on the sides, up to about 17 cm long, with at the apex one-two erect leaves, rigid from linear to oblanceolate with pointed apex and entire margin, up to 70 cm long and 3,5-4 cm broad, of dark green colour. Panicle inflorescences from the base of the pseudobulb, up to about 3 m long, but that in the most robust specimens may get close to the 6 m, that wrap on the supports, bearing numerous waxy flowers of about 6-7 cm of diameter, with sepals and petals of brown colour with yellow border and apex and serrate-ruffled and wavy margins. Dorsal reniform sepal, unguiculate (with narrow base resembling a stem), about 3,6 cm long and 4 cm broad, ovate lateral sepals, 6 cm long and 2,8 cm broad, ovate petals about 6 cm long and 2,8 cm broad, bent forward, fleshy ovate labellum with pointed apex, 2,6 cm long and 0,4 cm broad, provided of a serrate-crenulate crest at the base of yellow colour, and erect column, 1,5 cm long.

Native to Ecuador and Peru, Cyrtochilum serratum is an epiphytic or terrestrial species with 3-6 m inflorescences and waxy flowers of 6-7 cm of diameter © G. Mazza

Native to Ecuador and Peru, Cyrtochilum serratum is an epiphytic or terrestrial species with 3-6 m inflorescences and waxy flowers of 6-7 cm of diameter © G. Mazza

It reproduces by seed, in vitro, and by division with each section provided of at least 3-4 pseudobulbs.

Vigorous species with a magnificent blooming, requires a sllight shade, cool temperatures, with lowest winter ones not under the 12 °C and highest summer not over the 26-28 °C, high humidity, 60-70%, and good ventilation. The waterings must be regular during the period of growth of the pseudobulbs, but allowing the substratum to dry up almost completely before watering again, spaced in winter in way to give a slight resting period till the appeaarance of the nex vegetation; the nebulizations are to be regularly distributed over the whole year. For the waterings and the nebulizations, is to be used rain water, by reverse osmosis or demineralized, and for the fertilizations, during the vegetative period, a hydrosoluble balanced product, with microelements, at 1/3 the dosage suggested on the package, distributed and alternated to the waterings thus to avoid accumulation of salts at the roots. It can be mounted on bark or cork raft or cultivated in pot with draining and aerated compost, that may be formed by medium-sliced bark fragments and charcoal; repottings and divisions are to be done upon the vegetative restart signalled by the emission of new roots.

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

Synonyms: Oncidium serratum Lindl. (1841); Oncidium diadema Linden. (1866).


→ For general notions about ORCHIDACEAE please click here.

→ To appreciate the biodiversity within the family ORCHIDACEAE and find other species, please click here.