Oncidium – Dancing Ladies.
Sub-tribe Oncidiinae has about 70 closely related genera with over 1,000 species collectively
known as the Oncidium Alliance.
There are hundreds of thousands of hybrids between species in a genus and intergeneric
hybrids with up to 5 parent species from the Alliance.
Oncidium, Ondontoglossum and Miltonia are commonly hybridised but many other genera are used.
Oncidium is the largest genus in the Alliance with up to about 650 highly variable species.
Most are epiphytes with some lithophytic or terrestrial.
Size varies from miniatures up to 5 metres tall.
Most species have flattened pseudobulbs with leaf-like basal bracts.
They are topped by up to 3, flat or rounded leaves up to 30 cm long.
Branching inflorescences are axillary and erect or arching.
They are up to 1 metre long with 1 to 20 flowers.
Flowers show a large variety of shapes and sizes but ones commonly seen have round
flowers 2-3 cm across with a very large lip.
The sepals and lateral petals spread outwards and may have slightly ruffled edges.
The medial lip is large, or very large, with a ruffled edge.
There is no spur.
There is a complicated callus on the lip.
The column has wings on either side of the stigma but no foot.
The well known dancing lady type have bright yellow petals with or without reddish-brown markings.
Other colours seen include reddish-brown, pink, green, purple or white.