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BULBOPHYLLUM burfordiense

Image of Bulbophyllum burfordiense

James Burghardt

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

BULBOPHYLLUM burfordiense

Plant Common Name

Bulbophyllum, Orchid

General Description

Despite the malodorous nature of the greenish brown cap-like flowers of Burford's bulbophyllum, this fall-blooming orchid is a reliable performer and conversation piece. A tropical epiphyte from the hot and humid forests of New Guinea and eastern Indonesia, it dots upper tree branches and produces slightly stinky flowers that attract flies as pollinators.

The slender, bright green leaves of this orchid are thick and leathery. The plants are comprised of many pseudobulbs, each carrying only one leaf, that form a dense cluster. In late summer and well into the autumn, short stems rise just above the foliage and bear the unusual flowers with three prominent white-spotted tepals of greenish golden brown white spots. Two tepals hang downward while the central one acts like a flap, curving forward to protect the smelly nectary from raindrops.

Grow Burford's bulbophyllum in bright shade in a warm, humid environment. It is a true epiphyte that should be mounted to a tree, or wedged into a wooden basket or pot filled with fine bark nuggets. Water regularly with fresh warm water. Diluted liquid fertilizer applications should be applied intermittently from spring through autumn. Good air circulation will help prevent root or stem rot. Be sure to provide bright indirect light. In too little light leaves will turn deep green, while direct sunlight can scald leaves causing them to turn yellow.

Despite the smell, this is a nice orchid to grow as a houseplant. Outdoors it makes a great accent plant for garden or patio.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    12 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H2

  • Plant Type

    Epiphyte

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    8"-14" / 20.3cm - 35.6cm

  • Width

    12"-16" / 30.5cm - 40.6cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Fall, Fall, Late Fall

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Gold, Light Green, Tan

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Light Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No