Masdevallia is a genus of orchids native to the cloud forests of South and Central America. These orchids have a unique growth habit and are mostly epiphytes, growing on trees, or lithophytes, growing on rocks. Some species also grow as terrestrials in the Andean highlands.
Size: They are relatively small plants, often reaching only about 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) in size.
Flowers: Masdevallia orchids are known for their peculiarly shaped, vibrant flowers. These orchids have a single leaf rising from the base of the plant, with flowers that emerge from the base on short, erect stalks. The flowers often have long, tail-like sepals and come in a wide range of colors, including red, orange, yellow, purple, and white.
Bloom time: These orchids generally bloom during the cooler months of the year. However, in optimal conditions, they can bloom intermittently throughout the year.
Hardiness: Masdevallia orchids are not considered hardy and require very specific care conditions, mimicking their native cloud forest environment. They thrive in cool to intermediate temperatures and high humidity, often requiring daily watering.
Uses: these orchids are often grown for ornamental purposes due to their unique and showy flowers. They are ideal for indoor growing, particularly in terrariums or greenhouses where the high humidity and cooler temperatures they need can be maintained.
Masdevallia orchids are named after Jose Masdeval, a physician and botanist in the court of King Charles III of Spain, who was a patron of botany.