Feed Me, Seymour!

If you didn’t know better, you might think that these flower buds look like the very hungry plant Audrey II, from the classic film and musical Little Shop of Horrors. Fortunately, this orchid doesn’t have teeth and doesn’t eat people, so there’s no danger.

Cycnoches flower budCycnoches flower budsCycnoches flower, buds, and plant

Once the buds open, these flowers lose their threatening facade, and look like bizarre insects in flight. They belong to the Swan Orchid, or Cycnoches. That’s easier to pronounce than it looks — it sounds like “sick NO keys,” with the emphasis on the “no.” The Swan Orchid nickname comes from the graceful shape of the flower “neck,” properly called the column. It’s easier to imagine the swan if you look at the flower upside-down.

Cycnoches flowerCycnoches flower side viewCycnoches flower side view close-up

These blooms last for over a month, and have a strong, spicy perfume. Many orchids go dormant for the winter, but Cycnoches is actually deciduous, with leaves that yellow and drop in the fall. At this point, the plant will quickly rot if overwatered. I water as seldom as once a month in the winter, but maintain good humidity. Watering and fertilizing resume when new spring growth is about 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) tall. This dormant cycle reflects the long dry season in the Swan Orchids’ tropical jungle homes, which are centered around the Amazon.

Cycnoches flowers and plantCycnoches flowersCycnoches flowers and leaves

Explore posts in the same categories: Dormancy, Fragrant Orchids, Photos, Warm Growers

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5 Comments on “Feed Me, Seymour!”

  1. Sara Evans Says:

    So are they any meat-eating orchids? I don’t think venus flytrap is an orchid.

  2. Joy Blake Says:

    It really looks like Audrey 2! I bet it can’t sing like Audrey could.

  3. russ yee Says:

    nice post

  4. Richard Says:

    I want to say – thank you for this!

  5. GreenThumbGuy Says:

    Great flower form, and I llike the yellow polka dots. Thanks for the post.