Catasetum fimbriatum

Catasetum fimbriatum

Pronunciation: cat-a-SEE-tum

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • Subfamily: Epidendroideae
  • Tribe: Cymbidieae
  • Subtribe: Catasetinae
  • Genus: Catasetum, Kunth 1822

General Characteristics

  • thick, cigar-shaped pseudobulbs
  • pleated leaves
  • deciduous
  • erect or pendulous inflorescences

Catasetum, abbreviated as Ctsm in horticultural trade, is a genus of the Orchid family with 166 species.

They have thick, cigar-shaped pseudobulbs which are clustered. The leaves are pleated in the upper part and deciduous. The pseudobulbs become spiny after the leaves have dropped.

The inflorescence is borne on the base of the pseudobulb, and may be erect or pendulous. It consists of very fleshy flowers that are unisexual, which is exceptional for orchids. The colorful male and yellowish-green female flowers are typically situated on different plants. Which type of flower a plant produces is determined by the conditions under which it grows. Female flowers are achieved by giving a mature plant high direct light, males will be produced in shaded conditions. There are rare cases in which a single plant in intermediate conditions will produce both male and female flowers. These flowers are markedly different in size and color.

The male flowers have a remarkable technique for the ejection of the pollinia. Catasetum saccatum, a tropical South American species, discussed briefly by Darwin, actually launches its viscid pollen sacs with explosive force, when an insect touches a seta.

Number of Species: The World Checklist of Monocotyledons recognizes 64 species and 9 natural hybrids (2007).

Distribution: Central Pacific coast of Mexico to tropical America, with the majority in Brazil.


  • Temperature: Warm
  • Light: Bright open shade with very good air movement to full sun
  • Water & Humidity: During the period when the plants are in growth, maintain even moisture and high humidity. Once the plants have flowered, water can be reduced or stopped completely until new growth develops enough to produce new roots.
  • Fertilizer: Use balanced or high nitrogen fertilizer while the plants are in growth.
  • Potting: Sphagnum in clay ports, medium to fine fir bark in clay or plastic pots or baskets; mounted on tree fern, cork or driftwood with sphagnum at the base for moisture. Hanging the pots or mounts is best because it provides good air movement around the plants. Remember that mounted, plants will require more frequent watering – two or more time per day in the hottest season. A good compromise is to place the plants in pots that are suspended. This offers advantages of both pots and mounts.

Selected Species

  • Catasetum macrocarpumMonkey Goblet, Monkshead Monk’s Head Orchid, Large-fruited Catasetum {Trinidad & Tobago to N. Argentina}
  • Catasetum maculatumSpotted Catasetum {C. America to Venezuela}


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