Psychopsis papilio

Psychopsis papilio

Psychopsis papilio

Psychopsis papilio

Pronunciation: sye-COP-siss

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • Subfamily: Epidendroideae
  • Tribe: Cymbidieae
  • Subtribe: Oncidiinae
  • Alliance: Trichophilia
  • Genus: Psychopsis, Rafinesque H.G. Jones 1838

General Characteristics

  • epiphytic
  • erect solitary leaves
  • oval, oblong and almost round, compressed, wrinkled, often dull red pseudobulbs

Psychopsis, abbreviated Psychp in horticultural trade, is a genus of orchids. It used to be contained in the massively paraphyletic “wastebin genus” Oncidium. The monotypic Psychopsiella is closely related to and sometimes merged with Psychopsis.

The genus as a whole is commonly called butterfly orchids, but some species of other orchid genera are also called thus.

Psychopsis grow epiphytically in wet rainforests and also dry upland forests. The pseudobulbs are tightly clustered, oval, oblong and almost round, very compressed, wrinkled, often dull red. The leaves are solitary and erect. Inflorescences are normally solitary per bulb, jointed and arched, arise from the base out of a sheath, producing a succession of flowers which last approximately 10 days. The flowers are variable in color and size from inflorescence to inflorescence and from blooming to blooming. Flowering occurs at intervals throughout the entire year, and well grown plants will have many inflorescences with more than one flower per inflorescence. Never cut the inflorescence until it is obviously spent as old inflorescences will continue to produce flowers for many years.

Psychopsis consists of only five species:

  • Psychopsis kramerana
  • Psychopsis latourae
  • Psychopsis papilio
  • Psychopsis sanderae
  • Psychopsis versteegiana


  • Temperature: Approx. 60˚F at night to 90˚F during the day. These plants must be given good air movement.
  • Light: 1800 to 3000 foot-candles. Under brighter light conditions, flowers will be smaller, less intensely colored and tend to be more reflexed. Conversely, under shadier conditions few, flatter, more intensely colored flowers are produced.
  • Water & Humidity: Psychopsis prefer moist conditions but should be allowed to nearly dry out between waterings. High humidity, as much as 85% RH is appreciated.
  • Fertilizer: Balanced fertilizer, half strength once per week but flush the medium often.
  • Potting: Sphagnum moss in clay pots or slabs. They do not like a stale mix.


Welcome to Jardim Therapy my blog about orchids and Brazil. Here you will find a few useful references, and some tip & tricks, along with posting of my own personal experience. I absolutely love orchids, and I want to help everyone interested in learning about these unique plants.

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