Brassavola cucullata, common name Daddy long-legs orchid, is a species of orchid native to Mexico (from Sinaloa and San Luis Potosí south to Chiapas and the Yucatán Peninsula), Central America, the West Indies and northern South America (Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guinea)
Brassavola is a genus of 21 orchids (family Orchidaceae). They were named in 1813 by the Scottish botanist Robert Brown. The name comes from the Italian nobleman and physician Antonio Musa Brassavola. This genus is abbreviated B. in trade journals.
These species are widespread across Mexico, Central America, the West Indies and South America. They are epiphytes, and a few are lithophytes. A single, apical and succulent leaf grows on an elongated pseudobulb.
The orchid yields a single white or greenish white flower, or a raceme of a few flowers. The three sepals and two lateral petals are greenish, narrow and long. The base of the broad, sometimes fringed lip partially enfolds the column. This column has a pair of falciform (sickle-shaped) ears on each side of the front and contains twelve (sometimes eight) pollinia.
Most Brassavola orchids are very fragrant, attracting pollinators with their citrusy smell. But they are only fragrant at night, in order to attract the right moth. Longevity of flowers depends on the species and is between five and thirty days.
In 1698 Brassavola nodosa was the first tropical orchid to be brought from the Caribbean island Curaçao to Holland. Thus began the propagation of this orchid and the fascination for orchids in general.
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