Bulbophyllum odoratum

Family : Orchidaceae

Text © Pietro Puccio


English translation by Mario Beltramini



The species is native to Borneo, Java, Lesser Sunda Islands, Malaysia, Philippines, Sulawesi and Sumatra where it grows on the trees of the humid forests, often along the banks of the watercourses, between 200 and 1800 m of altitude.

The name of the genus is the combination of the Greek substantives “βολβός” (bolbos) = bulb and “φύλλον” (phyllon) = leaf, with reference to the leaves growing at the apex of the pseudobulbs; the name of the species is the Latin adjective “odoratus, a, um” = odorous, scented, with obvious reference.

The Bulbophyllum odoratum (Blume) Lindl. (1830) is an epiphytic species with creeping rhizome rooting at the nodes with filiform roots and pseudobulbs, spaced of about 1,5 cm, 1,3-2 cm long and of 0,4-0,6 cm of diameter, with at the apex one single erect leaf, on a 10-15 cm long petiole, ovate-oblong with obtuse apex, 18-25 cm long and 4-7 cm broad, of intense green colour, coriaceous. Erect basal inflorescences with usually curved apex, 25-50 cm long, carrying a crowd of close tiny flowers (of 0,4-0,6 cm of diameter) greenish white to yellow, more or less scented, in particular during the night hours; petiole and ovary about 0,5 mm long. Oblong-ovate sepals with obtuse apex, 3-3,5 mm long and about 2 mm broad, oblong petals with obtuse apex, about 1,5 mm long and 0,5 mm broad, oblong labellum with curved obtuse apex, 2 mm long.

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

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The Bulbophyllum odoratum is a South-East Asian epiphyte. Globose pseudobulbs, less than 2 cm long, and leaves reaching the 25 cm of length. Showy erect basal inflorescences, with usually curved apex, 25-50 cm long, bearing a crowd of tiny flowers, with more or less intense scent, of 0,4-0,6 cm of diameter © Giuseppe Mazza

Miniature orchid of easy cultivation whose flowers smallness is compensated by their high number, up to more than a hundred, requires an aerated and slightly shaded location, intermediate temperatures, 18-30 °C, with lowest night values not less of 14 °C, and high humidity, 70-80%. The waterings and nebulizations must be frequent during the phase of growth, but without stagnations, more reduced during the phase of vegetative rest in way to allow the substratum to partially dry up. It can be mounted on pieces of bark or rafts covered by sphagnum, or arranged in pots or baskets with compost based of medium sliced bark fragments with addition of elements able to hold the humidity. Repottings and transplants are to be done when strictly necessary at the vegetative restart, indicated by the emission of the new roots.

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

Synonyms: Diphyes odorata Blume (1825); Bulbophyllum pangerangi Rchb.f. (1857); Bulbophyllum braccatum Rchb.f. (1877); Phyllorchis odorata (Lindl.) Kuntze (1891); Phyllorkis odorata (Blume) Kuntze (1891); Bulbophyllum elatius Ridl. (1896); Bulbophyllum odoratum var. niveum J.J.Sm. (1905); Bulbophyllum brookesii Ridl. (1908); Bulbophyllum tylophorum Schltr. (1911); Bulbophyllum mindanaense Ames (1912); Bulbophyllum niveum (J.J.Sm.) J.J.Sm. (1912); Bulbophyllum hortense J.J.Sm. (1913); Bulbophyllum deceptum Ames (1915); Bulbophyllum polyarachne Ridl. (1917); Bulbophyllum crassicaudatum Ames & C.Schweinf. (1920); Bulbophyllum hortensoides Ames (1920); Bulbophyllum steffensii Schltr. (1925); Bulbophyllum subverticillatum Ridl. (1925); Bulbophyllum odoratum var. obtusisepalum J.J.Sm. (1945); Bulbophyllum odoratum var. odoratum ; Bulbophyllum odoratum var. polyarachne (Ridl.) J.J.Sm (1945).


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