November 12, 2010

Maxillaria tenuifolia

Know as the coconut orchid for its scent - it smells exactly like fresh coconut - Maxillaria tenuifolia is from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  It is easy to grow and a common orchid in collections, often growing into very large clumps with hundreds of flowers.

Because it grows into a large specimen plant so quickly it is an orchid I no longer grow.  The plant itself, however, is very reasonably sized, with 3-4 cm flat pseudobulbs and a single narrow, 20-25 cm leaf at the top of the pseudobulb.  The 4-5 cm flowers arise from the base of the pseudobulbs.

The genus name, Maxillaria, refers to the jaw-like base of the lip in this species and other larger-flowered species in the genus.  The species name, tenuifolia, refers to the narrow, grass-like foliage of the plant.  It is an attractive plant with large and beautiful flowers.

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