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Cheat Sheet

Orchids for Dummies

From Orchids For Dummies by Steven A. Frowine, National Gardening Association

Growing orchids at home isn't as difficult as you might think. If you've decided to grow orchids, make sure you know how to pronounce their names, which are usually in Latin. Take a look at the list of fragrant orchids to decide which sweet scents you want around your house.

How to Pronounce Orchid Names

The names used for orchids are usually in Latin, since it's universally accepted. Don't be intimidated by orchid names! Here's a quick pronunciation guide, with abbreviations:

Genus Abbreviation Pronunciation
Aeranthes Aerth. Ay-er-an-thees
Angranthes Angth. An-gran-theez
Brassavola B. Bra-sah-vol-lah
Brassia Brs. Brass-ee-ah
Brassocattleya Bc. Brass-oh-kat-lee-ya
Brassolaelia Bl. Brass-oh-lay-lee-yah
Brassolaeliocattleya Blc. Brass-oh-lay-lee-oh-kat-lee-yah
Bulbophyllum Bulb. Bulb-oh-fill-um
Catasetum Ctsm. Kat-a-see-tum
Cattleya C. Kat-lee-ya
Cochleanthes Cnths. Kok-lee-an-theez
Coelogyne Coel. See-loj-in-ee
Coryanthes Crths. Kory-an-theez
Cymbidium Cym. Sim-bid-ee-um
Dendrobium Den. Den-droh-bee-um
Encyclia Encycl. En-sik-klee-ah
Epidendrum Epi. Eh-pi-den-drum
Epilaelia Epl. Eh-pi-lay-lee-ah
Laelia L. Lay-lee-ah
Laeliocattleya Lc. Lay-lee-oh-kat-lee-ya
Lycaste Lyc. Lye-kass-tee
Miltonia Milt. Mil-tone-ee-ah
Miltonidium Mtdm. Mil-tone-id-ee-um
Miltoniopsis Mltnps. Mil-tone-ee-op-sis
Odontobrassia Odbrs. Oh-don-toh-brass-ee-ah
Odontocidium Odcdm. Oh-don-toh-sid-ee-um
Oncidiuim Onc. On-sid-ee-um
Paphiopedilum Paph. Paff-ee-oh-ped-di-lum
Phalaenopsis Phal. Fal-en-op-sis
Phragmipedium Phrag. Frag-muh-pee-dee-um

Discover Fragrant Orchids

Not only are orchids beautiful, some have an amazing fragrance. Here's a list of some of the most sweet-smelling orchids and a brief description of their fragrance:

  • Angranthes grandiflora: Just about all the angraecums and their hybrids, like this one, have a sweet jasmine fragrance.

  • Brassavola nodosa: Its common name, Lady of the Night, gives you a hint of its sensuous freesia or lily-of-the-valley night fragrance. Also, be on the lookout for hybrids that contain this species as a parent. They're frequently sweet-scented.

  • Cattleya walkeriana and hybrids: This is a diminutive beauty that has a relaxing cinnamon and vanilla fragrance. It frequently passes this quality to its offspring, so be on the lookout for hybrids that use this as a parent.

  • Maxillaria tenuifolia: Who can pass up this orchid that smells like roast coconut?

  • Miltoniopsis santanaei: A delightful small-growing orchid that has the scent of roses. Many of the miltoniopsis hybrids also have this quality.

  • Neofinetia falcata: Long admired and revered by Asians for its alluring jasmine fragrance, it is just now receiving the attention it deserves in the West.

  • Oncidium Sharry Baby: The mouthwatering scent of vanilla and chocolate without the calories, makes this easy-to-grow orchid top the popularity charts.

  • Phalaenopsis violacea or Phalaenopsis bellina: Both of these species of phalaenopis are wonderfully fragranced. Phalaenopsis violacea has a spicy, cinnamon fragrance, while Phalaenopsis bellina has a headier freesia-with-a-touch-of-lemon scent.

  • Rhynchostylis gigantea: Wow! The citrus fragrance from this one can permeate an entire house.

  • Zygopetalums: A bed of hyacinths is what these gaily colored flowers of this underappreciated orchid smells like.

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