Prosthechea cochleata

Last updated

Prosthechea cochleata
2 giugno 2009 075.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Genus: Prosthechea
Species:P. cochleata
Binomial name
Prosthechea cochleata
(L.) W.E.Higgins

Prosthechea cochleata, formerly known as Encyclia cochleata, Anacheilium cochleatum, and Epidendrum cochleatum and commonly referred to as the clamshell orchid [1] or cockleshell orchid, is an epiphytic, sympodial New World orchid native to Central America, the West Indies, Colombia, Venezuela, and southern Florida. [2]


Sympodial growth is type of bifurcating branching pattern where one branch develops more strongly than the other, resulting in the stronger branches forming the primary shoot and the weaker branches appearing laterally. A sympodium, also referred to as a sympode or pseudaxis, is the primary shoot, comprising the stronger branches, formed during sympodial growth.

Orchidaceae family of plants

The Orchidaceae are a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants, with blooms that are often colourful and fragrant, commonly known as the orchid family.

Central America central geographic region of the Americas

Central America is located on the southern tip of North America, or is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas, bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The combined population of Central America has been estimated to be 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.

Each oblong discoid pseudobulb bears one or two linear nonsucculent leaves. The flowers are unusual in that though the labellum is usually below the column in the orchids, in the members of Prosthechea the labellum forms a "hood" over the column. This makes the flower effectively upside down, or non-resupinate. Whereas the species usually has one anther, Prosthechea cochleata var. triandra is an endangered variety that has three anthers and is autogamous, allowing its existence in Florida where no appropriate pollinators appear to be present. [3]


The pseudobulb is a storage organ found in many epiphytic and terrestrial sympodial orchids. It is derived from a thickening of the part of a stem between leaf nodes and may be composed of just one internode or several, termed heteroblastic and homoblastic respectively. All leaves and inflorescences usually arise from this structure. Pseudobulbs formed from a single internode produce the leaves and inflorescence from the top, while those that are formed from several internodes can possess leaves along its length. The modified sheath leaves that appear at the base of a pseudobulb and often enfold all or part of it are usually dry and papery, though in some orchids the sheaths bear leaf blades and the leaves at the pseudobulb's apex are reduced to scales.

Column (botany) reproductive structure that can be found in several plant families

The column, or technically the gynostemium, is a reproductive structure that can be found in several plant families: Aristolochiaceae, Orchidaceae, and Stylidiaceae.

<i>Prosthechea</i> genus of plants

Prosthechea is a genus in the orchid family (Orchidaceae). The name is derived from the Greek word prostheke (appendix), referring to the appendage on the back of the column. Appendage orchid is a common name for this genus.

P. cochleata is common in cultivation, and is valued for its uniquely shaped and long-lasting flowers on continually growing racemes. Several hybrids have been produced with this species, including the popular Prosthechea Green Hornet. [4] (still often listed as Encyclia Green Hornet)

A raceme is an unbranched, indeterminate type of inflorescence bearing pedicellate flowers along its axis. In botany, an axis means a shoot, in this case one bearing the flowers. In indeterminate inflorescence-like racemes, the oldest flowers are borne towards the base and new flowers are produced as the shoot grows, with no predetermined growth limit. A plant that flowers on a showy raceme may have this reflected in its scientific name, e.g. Cimicifuga racemosa. A compound raceme, also called a panicle, has a branching main axis. Examples of racemes occur on mustard and radish plants.

Prosthechea cochleata is the national flower of Belize, where it is known as the black orchid. [5]

Belize country in Central America

Belize is an independent and sovereign country located on the north eastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. It has an area of 22,970 square kilometres (8,867 sq mi) and a population of 387,879 (2017). Its mainland is about 180 mi (290 km) long and 68 mi (110 km) wide. It has the lowest population and population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.87% per year (2015) is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

Related Research Articles

Labellum (botany)

In botany, the labellum is the part of the flower of an orchid or Canna, or other less-known genera that serves to attract insects, which pollinate the flower, and acts as a landing platform for them.

<i>Acianthus</i> genus of plants

Acianthus, commonly known as mosquito orchids, is a genus of about 25 species of plants in the orchid family, Orchidaceae. Mosquito orchids are terrestrial herbs with a single, heart-shaped, usually ground-hugging leaf and one to many small, green, pinkish or purplish flowers on a fleshy stalk. They are found in New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand.

<i>Epidendrum</i> genus of plants

Epidendrum, abbreviated Epi in the horticultural trade, is a large neotropical genus of the orchid family. With more than 1,500 species, some authors describe it as a mega-genus. The genus name refers to its epiphytic growth habit.

Black orchid or Black Orchid may refer to:

<i>Encyclia</i> genus of plants

Encyclia is a genus of orchids. The genus name comes from Greek enkykleomai, referring to the lateral lobes of the lip which encircle the column. The abbreviation in the horticultural trade is E.

Within the Orchidaceae, Hormidium was originally a subgenus of the genus Epidendrum, but was later raised to a full genus. It is now considered not to be distinct from the genus Prosthechea, of which it is a synonym. Most of the species of Hormidium have been transferred to Prosthechea, although others are now classified in Encyclia, Epidendrum, Homalopetalum, and Lepanthes.

<i>Cephalanthera longifolia</i> species of plant, Sword-leaved Helleborine

Cephalanthera longifolia, known by the common names Narrow-leaved Helleborine or Sword-leaved Helleborine, is an herbaceous perennial plant with rhizome belonging to the family Orchidaceae. It is native to light woodland, widespread across Europe, Asia and North Africa from Ireland and Morocco to China. This includes Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Algeria, India, Pakistan, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and many other countries.

<i>Orchis mascula</i> Species of plant

Orchis mascula, the early-purple orchid, is a species of flowering plant in the orchid family, Orchidaceae.

<i>Encyclia tampensis</i> species of plant

Encyclia tampensis or Tampa butterfly orchid is a species of flowering plant in the Orchid family, subfamily Epidendroideae.

<i>Dendrobium bigibbum</i> species of plant

Dendrobium bigibbum, commonly known as the Cooktown orchid or mauve butterfly orchid, is an epiphytic or lithophytic orchid in the family Orchidaceae. It has cylindrical pseudobulbs, each with between three and five green or purplish leaves and arching flowering stems with up to twenty, usually lilac-purple flowers. It occurs in tropical North Queensland, Australia and New Guinea.

<i>Encyclia adenocaula</i> species of plant

Encyclia adenocaula is a species of epiphytic orchid of light purple flowers, native to forests in Mexico.

<i>Calochilus</i> genus of plants

Calochilus, commonly known as beard orchids, is a genus of about 30 species of plants in the orchid family, Orchidaceae. Beard orchids are terrestrial herbs with a single leaf at the base of the plant, or no leaves. Their most striking feature is a densely hairy labellum, giving rise to their common name. Beard orchids, unlike some other Australian orchids, do not reproduce using daughter tubers, but self-pollinate when cross-pollination has not occurred. Most species occur in Australia but some are found in New Zealand, New Guinea and New Caledonia.

<i>Lyperanthus</i> genus of plants

Lyperanthus, commonly known as beak orchids, is a genus of flowering plants from the orchid family, Orchidaceae, that is endemic to Australia. There are two species, one in Western Australia and the other in four eastern Australian states, distinguished by their single long, narrow, leathery leaf and dull coloured flowers which have prominent short calli on their labellum. Both form loose colonies which reproduce asexually from their tubers, and sexually using their flowers.

<i>Pyrorchis</i> genus of plants

Pyrorchis, commonly known as beak orchids, is a genus of flowering plants in the orchid family, Orchidaceae and is endemic in Australia. It contains two species which were previously included in the genus Lyperanthus, also known as beak orchids. Both species have fleshy, oval leaves and form colonies which flower profusely after bushfires.

<i>Caleana</i> genus of plants

Caleana, commonly known as duck orchids, is a genus of flowering plants in the orchid family, Orchidaceae that is found in Australia and New Zealand. The Australian species are found in all states but have not been recorded in the Northern Territory. Duck orchids have a single leaf and one or a few, dull-coloured, inconspicuous flowers. Most species are found in Western Australia but one species occurs in eastern Australia and one occurs in eastern Australia and New Zealand. Orchids in this genus as well as the hammer orchids (Drakaea) are pollinated by male thynnid wasps.

Prasophyllum fosteri, commonly known as the Shelford leek orchid, is a species of orchid endemic to a small region of Victoria. It has a single tubular green leaf and up to twenty five green to reddish-brown flowers. It is a very rare orchid, only known from a single population on a roadside.

<i>Encyclia candollei</i> species of plant

Encyclia candollei is a species of epiphytic orchid of yellow-brown to reddish flowers, native to Belize, Guatemala and Mexico.

<i>Encyclia viridiflora</i> species of plant

Encyclia viridiflora is a species of epiphytic orchid of green flowers, native to the north of Brazil and is the type species for the genus Encyclia. Especially the specimen was found in the area of Rio de Janeiro.


  1. "Prosthechea cochleata". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA . Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  2. Encyclia cochleata
  3. Prosthechea cochleata var. triandra in Flora of North America @
  4. Prosthechea Green Hornet at Royal Horticultural Society Orchid Register
  5. "National Symbols". Government of Belize. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2008-04-06.