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Psychopsiella limminghei (C. Morren ex Lindley) E. Lückel & G. J. Braem

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Charles and Margaret Baker

Psychopsiella limminghei (C. Morren ex Lindley) E. Lückel & G. J. Braem

AKA: Oncidium limminghei C. Morren ex Lindley, Oncidium echinophorum
Barbosa-Rodrigues. For many years Oncidium limminghei was included with
Oncidium papilio Lindley, Oncidium kramerianum Rchb. f., Oncidium sanderae
Rolfe, and Oncidium versteegianum Pulle in the section Glanduligera. This
group of species were transferred to the genus Psychopsis, but Oncidium
limminghei was moved into a monospecific genus Psychopsiella by Lückel and
Braem in 1982 because it has distinctly different pollinia, a unique
vegetative habit, differences in floral segments, and a completely
different chromosome count.

ORIGIN/HABITAT: Venezuela and Brazil. The type specimen for this species
was reportedly found near Caracas, Venezuela, but since that time, it has
only been found in the State of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Unfortunately,
few details about habitat type, location, or elevation have been reported.
The McQueens (1992 and 1993) report that Psychopsiella limminghei grows
best under intermediate to warm conditions, so we have selected habitat
elevation accordingly. Growers should use the temperatures somewhat
cautiously, however, and be prepared to move modify conditions if the
plants do not thrive.

CLIMATE: Station #83743, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Lat. 22.9S, Long. 43.2W,
at 89 ft. (27 m). Temperatures are calculated for an elevation of 1650 ft.
(500 m), resulting in probable extremes of 97F (36C) and 41F (5C).

F AVG MAX        70   71   70   72   74   77   79   80   78   75   72   71
F AVG MIN        58   59   60   61   63   66   68   68   67   64   61   59
DIURNAL RANGE    12   12   10   11   11   11   11   12   11   11   11   12
RAIN/INCHES     1.6  1.7  2.6  3.1  4.1  5.4  4.9  4.8  5.1  4.2  3.1  2.1
HUMIDITY/%       77   75   78   78   78   78   74   78   81   80   79   78
BLOOM SEASON           *    *    *    *    *    *    *        *
DAYS CLR @  9AM   9   10    6    7    4    4    6    5    8    5    6    8
RAIN/MM          41   43   66   79  104  137  124  122  130  107   79   53
C AVG MAX      21.1 21.7 21.1 22.2 23.3 25.2 26.2 26.7 25.6 23.9 22.2 21.7
C AVG MIN      14.4 14.9 15.5 16.0 17.1 18.8 19.9 19.9 19.4 17.7 16.0 14.9
DIURNAL RANGE   6.7  6.8  5.6  6.2  6.2  6.4  6.3  6.8  6.2  6.2  6.2  6.8

Cultural Recommendations:

LIGHT: 1800-2500 fc. Light should be somewhat filtered or diffused, and
plants should not be exposed to direct midday sun. Strong air movement
should be provided at all times.

TEMPERATURES: Summer days average 77-80F (25-27C), and nights average
66-68F (19-20C), with a diurnal range of 11-12F (6-7C).

HUMIDITY: 75-80% year-round.

WATER: Rainfall is moderate to heavy most of the year, but conditions are
somewhat drier in winter. Cultivated plants should be watered often while
actively growing, but drainage should be excellent and conditions around
the roots should never be stale or soggy.

FERTILIZER: 1/4-1/2 recommended strength, applied weekly when plants are
actively growing. Many growers use a balanced fertilizer throughout the
year; but others prefer to use a high-nitrogen fertilizer from spring
through midsummer, then switch to one with high phosphates in late summer
and autumn.

REST PERIOD: Winter days average 70-71F (21-22C), and nights average
58-59F (14-15C), with a diurnal range of 12F (7C). Rainfall in the habitat
is somewhat lower in winter, but there is not a prolonged or severe dry
season. Cultivated plants need less water in winter, and they should stay
dry for somewhat longer between waterings, but they should not be dry for
more than a week or so. Fertilizer should be reduced or eliminated until
heavier watering is resumed in spring.

GROWING MEDIA: Psychopsiella limminghei grow probably best and are most
easily managed if mounted tightly to a cork slab. If mounted, however,
humidity must be high and the plants need to be watered at least once a
day in summer. During extremely hot, dry weather, mounted plants may need
several mistings a day. Plants might grow in shallow pots or baskets
filled with an open, fast-draining medium. The roots must dry rapidly
after watering, so it is essential that the medium has perfect drainage.
Even with ideal drainage, it may be preferable to mount the plant on a
cork slab and then wedge the end of the slab into the pot or basket.
Repotting or dividing should be done only when new roots are starting to
grow, which allows the plant to become established in the shortest
possible time with the least amount of stress.

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The bloom season shown in the climate table is based
on cultivation records. Growers report that this species is one of the
more difficult species to cultivate successfully, so particular care
should be given to their cultural needs. Growers should consider it
essential to keep conditions around the roots from ever becoming stale or

Plant and Flower Information:

PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A very small, creeping plant.

PSEUDOBULB: 0.8 in. (2 cm) long by 0.6 in. (1.5 cm) wide. The flat,
heart-shaped pseudobulbs, which often overlap, are covered with
prominently nerved white sheaths when young. These sheaths quickly become
only ragged remains on older growths. The pseudobulbs and leaves lie flat
against the tree on which the plant is growing, and new growths appear
from under the older ones. Growths are spaced at intervals of 0.4-0.8 in.
(1-2 cm) on the occasionally branching rhizome.

LEAVES: 1.4 in. (3.5 cm) long by 1.4 in. (3.5 cm) wide. Each growth
carries a single leaf at the apex of the pseudobulb. The heart-shaped
leaves are fairly thin with margins that curl backward. Leaves are light
brownish green with maroon-puce markings that may be quite dark on younger

INFLORESCENCE: To 4 in. (10 cm) long. An erect to horizontal flower spike
emerges from the base of the new pseudobulb in summer or autumn. The
peduncle has 3-4 small tubular sheaths at nodes along its length.

FLOWERS: 1. The inflorescence carries a single flower at a time, but the
spike continues to lengthen and new flowers develop after the old ones
have fallen until each spike produces as many as 5 blossoms. Flowers are
1.2-1.6 in. (3-4 cm) across, which is rather large considering the size of
the plant. The dorsal sepal is about 0.6 in. (1.5 cm) long by 0.3 in. (0.8
cm) wide. Lateral sepals are slightly smaller, and the widely spread
petals are a little larger. The lateral lobes, which are about 0.8 in. (2
cm) long by about 0.8 in. (2 cm) wide across if they are spread, are
rounded, rather narrow at the base, generally held in a upright position,
and then curve inward at their tips. The are separated from the midlobe by
a rather narrow isthmus. The 3-lobed lip is slightly narrower across the
widely spread, kidney-shaped midlobe that may be turned up or slightly
incurved at its margins. The concave dorsal sepal and slightly incurved
petals are bright reddish brown and more or less barred with yellow-green
or lighter brown. The egg-shaped lateral sepals are not as brightly

The lip is yellow with orange-brown spots and marks. The yellowish white
callus located between lateral lobes has 3 ridges and orange-brown
markings. The column is yellow with wide, deeply fringed, yellow wings.
The anther is creamy yellow, and each flower produces 2 hard, yellow

HYBRIDIZING NOTES: Chromosome count is 2n = 56.


Braem, G. J. 1993. Studies in the Oncidiinae. Schlechteriana 4(1-2):8-29.

Dunsterville G. and E. Dunsterville. 1982. Psychopsis and Psychopsiella -
One old and one new genus. American Orchid Society Bulletin 51(9):942-947.

Dunsterville, G., and L. Garay. 1976. Venezuelan orchids illustrated, vol.
6. Orchid Herbarium of Oakes Ames, Botanical Museum, Harvard University,
Cambridge, Mass.

Hamilton, R. 1988. When does it flower? 2nd ed. Robert M. Hamilton, 9211
Beckwith Road, Richmond, B. C., Canada V6X 1V7.

McQueen, J., and B. McQueen. 1992. Miniature orchids. Timber Press,
Portland, OR.

McQueen, J., and B. McQueen. 1993. Orchids of Brazil. Timber Press,
Portland, OR. 

Copyright 2000, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. Baker
Sheet version 94436917

Please remember that this sheet is for your use only, and though it was
provided free of charge, it may not be reproduced or retransmitted in
any way without permission.

 "Orchid Species Culture" Charles & Margaret Baker, Portland, Oregon USA

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This culture sheet was provided by Charles and Margaret Baker.
Please visit their web site to find out about their Orchid Species Culture books,
Pollination Database, and culture sheet subscription service.