Zygostates dasyrhiza

Zygostates dasyrhiza

Zygostates alleniana

Zygostates alleniana

Pronunciation: zye-go-STATE-eez

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • Subfamily: Epidendroideae
  • Tribe: Maxillarieae
  • Subtribe: Ornithocephalinae
  • Genus: Zygostates, Lindley 1837

General Characteristics

  • sympodial
  • epiphytic
  • fanlike arrangement of leaves
  • arched to pendent inflorescences

Like many miniature orchids, Zygostates plants are often overlooked because of their insignificant vegetative growth, but become delightfully alluring when in flower. Each plant will produce a multitude of inflorescences, from the fanlike leaf arrangement, each of which bears large numbers of small flowers, making the plants showy. Zygostates is closely allied to Dipteranthus, and Ornithocephalus and species are often transferred among them.

Vegetatively, these sympodial epiphytic plants form clusters of leaves in a fanlike arrangement. The soft to slightly stiff leaves have clasping leaf bases and are up to 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) long. Most fans will have four or more leaves. The arched to pendent inflorescences arise from the leaf axils and will bear up to 30 or more flowers, each up to ½ inch (1.25 cm) in diameter. The base flower colors are white, greenish yellow and green.

Zygostates flowers are small and have some unusual traits, especially in the column and pollinarium, which are best observed under the microscope. The sepals are smaller than the petals and usually recurved, while the petals are flatter and have toothed or entire margins. The entire lip, which is somewhat similar to the petals, has a fleshy base.

The column is the most interesting aspect of the flowers. The short column is widest near the stigmatic surface that is close to the base of the column. It has an elongated sigmoid rostellum and four waxy yellow pollinia that are attached to a long sigmoid stipe with a basel viscidium. In some species (e.g., Z. lunata) there are two distinct staminodes at the base of the column while in Z. grandiflora the two staminodes are not distinct. Most commonly found in cultivation are these two Zygostates along with Z. alleniana.

Number of species: The World Monocot Checklist currently recognizes 20 species.

Distribution: Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina


  • Temperature: 60oF (15o C) minimum night temperature
  • Light: 2400-3600 footcandles
  • Water & Humidity: 40-60% humidity; do not dry out
  • Fertilizer: Monthly; use a balanced fertilizer
  • Potting: Tree fern or cork slabs or twigs


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.

As guests of Jardim Therapy you are welcome to browse the home page, post comments, and access the archives. You can also send me a message if you have any questions.