Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Species Orchid, Bat Orchid, Bucket Orchid, Outstanding Coryanthes
Coryanthes speciosa

Family: Orchidaceae (or-kid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Coryanthes (ko-ree-AN-theez) (Info)
Species: speciosa (spee-see-OH-suh) (Info)

Synonym:Coryanthes punctata
Synonym:Coryanthes splendens
Synonym:Epidendrum galeatum
Synonym:Gongora speciosa

2 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)
Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
4.5 or below (very acidic)
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


1 positive
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Baa On Feb 1, 2003, Baa wrote:

To date, Coryanthes has to be one of the most peculiar looking plants I've ever seen. It's an epiphytic orchid from Central to South America.

Has evergreen, broadly lance shaped, elliptic, ribbed leaves. Bears large, scented, brownish through to pale yellow flowers with maroon speckles. The lip is like a bucket and has a mucilaginous substance in it. The whole flower looks like a bat with no hair.

In it's native environment it grows on ant nests. Needs acidic media and high humidity (around 80%) in partial shade. Grows best in baskets as the flower spike hangs straight down. Water well during the growing period, less so in the rest period but it should never be allowed to dry out.

The heavy scent of the flower attracts certain species of bees seeking nectar. The bee falls into the large lip but cannot climb out of the bucket due to the smooth walls and mucilaginous substance. The only way out is through a small tunnel which is where the pollen is held. As the bee crawls out, it touches the stigma, then the pollen which is deposited on its back. The next flower the bee visits, the same thing happens and the pollen from the first flower is pressed onto the stigma by the action of the bee crawling out.

Certainly not a plant for a beginner but worth looking at.

Positive IslandJim On Nov 15, 2002, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of the subtropical ground orchids. Blooms are deep purple turning black as the flower ages. Blooms are about the size of an adult's hand.

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