Bulbophyllums Are Some of the Weirdest Orchids

Bulbophyllum pardalotum, orchid species flower, miniature orchid, orange and red flower, grown indoors in San Francisco, CaliforniaCirrhopetalum rothschildianum 'Red Chimney' FCC/AOS, Bulbophyllum, orchid species flowers, Orchids in the Park 2012, San Francisco, CaliforniaBulbophyllum, orchid species flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2008, San Francisco, California

Bulbophyllums are one of the largest and strangest orchid families in the world. With over 2000 species and a growing number of hybrids, they have ridiculously diverse flower forms. Some of their blooms are large, some are tiny, and some don’t look like flowers at all. They all have fascinating, hinged floral lips which jiggle in a breeze.

Bulbophyllum fascinator var. corazonae, orchid species flower, side view of flower with purple fringe, Orchids in the Park 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaBulbophyllum grandiflora, orchid species flower, weird flower, Orchid Society of Northwest Pennsylvania Show 2010, Erie, Pennsylvaniapossibly Bulbophyllum echinolabium, orchid species flower, large flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2007, San Francisco, California

Bulbophyllum flowers, orchid flowers, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaBulbophyllum spiesii, orchid species flowers, weird flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2012, San Francisco, CaliforniaBulbophyllum medusae, orchid species flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, San Francisco, California

Different varieties are scentless or have pleasant fragrances, but many have foul scents, reeking of putrid flesh or feces, to attract the flies which pollinate them. A few Bulbophyllums have inspired an infamous claim that they stink like “a thousand dead elephants rotting in the sun.”┬áThis malodorous reputation limits their popularity, and it is a good idea to smell one before you buy it to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Bulbophyllum flower, orchid flower, orchid mounted on tree, growing at McBryde Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Koloa, Kauai, HawaiiBulbophyllum falcatum v. falcatum, orchid species flowers, miniature flowers, weird flowers, Orchid Society of Northwest Pennsylvania Show 2010, Erie, PennsylvaniaBulbophyllum annamense 'Crownpoint', orchid species flowers, Montreal Botanical Garden, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Bulbophyllum carunculatum 'Andreas Red', orchid species flower, Orchids in the Park 2014, San Francisco, CaliforniaBulbophyllum makoyanum, orchid species flowers, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaBulbophyllum lobbii, orchid species flower, RBG Kew, Princess of Wales Conservatory, London, UK

Bulbophyllums circle the globe. Many are native to New Guinea and southern Asia, while others span the tropics into Africa, Latin America, and Pacific islands. Most are warm growers which need bright light, frequent waterings, high humidity, and good air movement. Their spreading growth habits make them tough to confine to pots, but they’re suited to mounts and baskets.

For orchid growers who like the strange and fantastic, Bulbophyllums are some of the most bizarre. No collection of weird orchids would be complete without them.

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

Subscribe to the About Orchids Blog:
AddThis Feed Button

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.