Calanthe (from the Greek “Kalo Anthos”, meaning “Good flower”) is a “cosmopolitan” genus of terrestrial orchids that grow all over the world from Africa to Asia, to Australia to Central America. There are some 150-200 species included in this genus.

There are two groups of Calanthe and plants from these two groups cannot be hybridized.

The evergreen or “Preptanthe” group: They have smaller pseudo-bulbs and are the hardiest withstanding temperatures well below zero, native to Japan & China. (Cal. puberula, Cal. triplicata, Cal. tricarinata, etc.)


The deciduous or "Eucalanthe" group: They have large angular pseudo-bulbs, native to the tropical and subtropical Asian forests (Cal. cardioglossa, Cal. labrosa, Cal. rosea, Cal. rubens, Cal. Vestita, etc). The deciduous ones have a short rest during winter.

All pseudo-bulbs are half way above the ground.

The leaves are very similar in appearance to those of Spathoglottis, Lycaste, etc.

The showy flowers are born on spikes arising from the base of the last pseudo-bulb. There are white, lilac, purple, pink, yelloe and red flowers. The spike, which will appear any time from late winter till end of spring, will grow to about 50 cm and the flowers will open in succession and flowering will last for a few months.

Once the spikes are visible the plant requires good light; water it lightly during the flowering period.