This mini Masdevallia relative, with a flower smaller than a pea, has a long name, Scaphosepalum. Despite its diminutive size, it’s capable of staying in bloom for months or even years at a time. The new flowers emerge in succession along a lengthening spike, while the older flowers fall off.

Scaphosepalum flowerScaphosepalum flowers

Several years ago, this orchid bloomed continuously for over 2-1/2 years, and had a flower spike that reached over 3 feet (0.9 m) before it finally stopped flowering. This year it’s been in bloom a mere 8 months. I’m hoping to keep it happy enough to challenge my previous record. For this plant, that means regular water and high humidity, similar to its native home atop the Andes in South America.

Scaphosepalum flowersScaphosepalum flowerScaphosepalum flower

An insect managed to pollinate one of the flowers. This seedpod matured quickly in a few weeks (compared to many other orchids whose seedpods take months to mature.) The photo on the right shows the tiny burst seedpod resting on a bed of moss. The seeds look like tiny white fibers, and are easily picked up by the wind and scattered like dust. Maybe next year we’ll have some Scaphosepalum weeds growing in our garden.

Scaphosepalum seedpodBurst Scaphosepalum seedpod

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3 Comments on “Scaphosepalum”

  1. Amy Greenburg Says:

    it’s an interesting little flower. in that first picture the flower looks like a little yellow-headed snake!

  2. cL Says:


    Great job. But not enought info. Where can i read more?…

  3. nancy Says:

    the flower looks like a little snake head with fangs!