Maxillaria rufescens is a sympodial epiphyte orchid species, native to the Caribbean, Central America, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela. This is one of the easiest Maxillaria species to keep and bloom in a home and the fragrance makes it even more desirable.
Blooms are about 3-4 cm across and stay close to the pseudobulbs. The petals are a golden yellow color, while the lip can have dark red spots. Petals are narrow and elongated, while the lip is thick. Overall the tiny flowers look like little stars among the orchid’s pseudobulbs.
The blooms are displayed on a short, 2-4 cm long flower spike, which only produces one flower. The spikes emerge from the base of each mature pseudobulb and can have a red coloration. Each pseudobulb can produce multiple tiny flower spikes and can rebloom in the following seasons as well.
Even if the flowers are tiny, they poses a wonderful fragrance of vanilla. The scent is moderately strong and is usually stronger in the morning, while in the night time it is absent.
Each spike can take up to 2 weeks to bloom and individual flowers can last for 3-4 weeks. This orchid can bloom throughout the year, but the heaviest blooming seems to be in the warmer seasons, while in the colder seasons the Maxillaria rufescens is not so willing to produce flowers.
The Maxillaria rufescens produces oval pseudobulbs, measuring about 3-5 cm in height and 2-3 in width. On top of each pseudobulb the orchid produces only one leaf.
The leaves are about 20 cm in length and about 2-3 cm in width and have a natural dark green coloration. They are not flimsy and appear quite strong. Roots have a natural red coloration, while growing root tips are usually yellow.
Usually this orchid produces new growths freely, but most new growths start to appear in the autumn and winter months, at the base of each pseudobulb. They can take up to 9 months to mature.
Propagation of this orchid can be done through division, each division should have at least 3 fully grown pseudobulbs for a fast growth further on.
Soft spots: rotting of new growths if water gets trapped in between the forming foliage, or if the orchid is not sitting in ventilated locations.
Overall this orchid is an easy orchid to grow as long as the media is not allowed to stay completely dry for long periods of time. It seems to be quite resilient in the unfortunate event of root loss.
Video Presentation of Maxillaria rufescens