Masdevallia veitichiana

Masdevallia veitichiana

Masdevallia angulifera

Masdevallia angulifera

Pronunciation: maz-deh-VAL-ee-uh

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • Subfamily: Epidendroideae
  • Tribe: Epidendreae
  • Subtribe: Pleurothallidinae
  • Genus: Masdevallia, Ruiz & Pavón 1794

General Characteristics

  • epiphytes, terrestrials or lithophytes on damp rocks
  • short, creeping rhizome
  • minute pseudobulbs
  • one fleshy, smooth leaf per pseudobulb
  • leaves are ovate or lanceolate

Masdevallia, abbreviated Masd in horticultural trade, is a large genus of orchid, comprised of more than 500 species. Most grow epiphytically at high elevations and cool greenhouse conditions are a must for many of the species. Some will tolerate intermediate conditions and a few people have had luck with the warmth tolerant varieties.

Masdevallias are found from Mexico to southern Brazil, but mostly in the higher regions (2,500-4,000 m ASL) of the Andes of Ecuador and Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. They may be epiphytes, terrestrials or growing as lithophytes on damp rocks. The plant grows from a short, creeping rhizome from which appear minute pseudobulbs; some are hemicryptophytes. Each pseudobulb carries one fleshy, smooth leaf held in tufts. The green leaves are ovate or lanceolate.

The unusual, brilliantly colored flowers range in size from less than an inch to over 12 inches across. Flower color varies. White, red and purple combination’s are common. An inflorescence will usually have 1 flower although some species will have several.


  • Temperature: Warm, intermediate to cool depending on the species and its native habit. In this genus it is critically important to know the identity of the plant you are trying to grow. This is your key to accurate culture.
  • Light: Virtually all species require bright shade to diffuse bright conditions.
  • Water & Humidity: All require 40-70% humidity with excellent air movement. All lack pseudobulbs and should not be allowed to dry out completely for any length of time. Many species are sensitive to dissolved salts and excellent water quality is very important.
  • Fertilizer: Use a dilute, ½ to ¼ strength balanced fertilizer applied about every other week. Flush thoroughly between fertilizer applications to wash away accumulated salts. Plants are intolerant of high salt accumulation.
  • Potting: Potting can be done at any time of the year except during periods of high temperature as these plants grow continuously. They can be mounted if adequate water and humidity are provided or they can be potting in small pots of rapidly draining water-retentive epiphytic mix such as tree fern or a fine fir bark, perlite, charcoal mix or sphagnum moss. Clay pots can be used if plants can be watered sufficiently.

Selected Species


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