The Psychopsis Mariposa is a sympodial epiphyte orchid hybrid. It was registered in 1972 by Ruben in Orch. And is a cross between Psychopsis papilio and Psychopsis Kalihi. It is one of the larger flowered hybrids, making it a very sought after hybrid in the Psychopsis family.
Blooms have an interesting shape, unique in the whole plant world. It is said that it tries to resemble a butterfly, thus the nickname ‘butterfly orchid’, but opinions vary from alien, robot to insect like looking. Nonetheless, it is a true beauty of the orchid world.
Flowers can reach 10-12 cm in height and 7-8 cm in width. The sepals are narrow and long, displayed on the top of the bloom, very similar to a butterfly’s antennae. Two of the petals are placed on each side of the bloom and the third, also called the lip, is broad and faces downwards. The design of the flower is so intricate that it is hard to describe in words. However the flowers lack any fragrance, this is not a fragrant orchid.
Colors for this family of orchids usually range from rusty oranges to yellows, usually the lip has a wider yellow patch, while the sepals are the darkest. There isn’t much variety color wise within the genus, but there are alba form hybrids, which lack the orange coloration and take on yellow and white patterns. For the Mariposa there is an Alba variety as well.
The Psychopsis Mariposa displays one singe bloom at a time on a long flower spike which emerges from the base of its pseudobulbs. There are instances where spikes can branch, producing two or more blooms per spike, but these cases are rare. The spike can grow as tall as 70 cm, or more, displaying nodes along its length. If the spike breaks above an available node, the orchid is known to produce a secondary spike, or even a keiki.
The Psychopsis orchids in general are sequential bloomers, this means that a single flower spike can create multiple flowers in a determined period of time. The Psychopsis Mariposa flower spikes can bloom for several years from the tip of each spike, making the cutting of the spike undesirable. With time, a Psychopsis orchid may have multiple flower spikes, each blooming throughout the year.
Each flower can last up to 4 weeks or so and, after the bloom fades, a new bud will develop and bloom in a few weeks. It seems to not bloom very well in winter time, or low light/cold environments. However it picks up its normal rhythm when spring comes, or conditions become warm and bright once again.
The pseudobulbs are about 3-4 cm across with a round shape. The normal color for this orchid is medium to dark green. They seem to grow very crowded, so caution needs to be taken when watering and also removal of dried sheets is advisable to avoid rotting.
The leaves are about 20 cm long and about 6-8 cm wide. Some varieties display mottling, but this particular hybrid seems to not show off much tessellation, remaining solid green for the most part.
The roots are thin and healthy roots are white or light brown. When in active growth they have bright green tips. New growths usually appear from the base of mature pseudobulbs and take about 6-8 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: pseudobulb rot if water is allowed to be trapped in between, or dry sheaths are not removed
Overall this orchid is an easy orchid to grow. It likes a lot of humidity around the root system and also ventilation, for this reason it might be a bit troublesome for those who forget to water in time.
Video presentation of Psychopsis Mariposa
Care video tutorial for Psychopsis orchids