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Encyclia is also a Greek term for the Codex Encyclius
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Encyclia ceratistes
Encyclia ceratistes
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Kingdom: Plantae
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Division: Magnoliophyta
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Class: Liliopsida
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Order: Asparagales
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Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
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Tribe: Epidendreae
Subtribe: Laeliinae
Genus: Encyclia
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Binomial name
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Type Species
Encyclia viridiflora
Bot. Mag. 55: t. 2831 (1828)
See List of Encyclia species and hybrids

Encyclia is a genus of orchids. The genus name comes from Greek enkykleomai ("to encircle"), referring to the lateral lobes of the lip which encircle the column. The abbreviation in the horticultural trade is Encycl.

The epiphytic genus occurs in Florida, Bahamas, West Indies, Mexico and tropical America in forests in lowlands and at altitudes to 1000 m. The distribution of the species is more or less evenly spread throughout this area.

The terminal leaves grow from thickened pseudobulbs. The flowers arise from an apical inflorescence. This genus is pollinated by bees and birds. There are normally eight pollinia, but in some subgroups this is reduced to four.


Cladistic research has shown that Encyclia sensu stricto is monophyletic. This genus was originally included in Epidendrum until Hooker separated it from that genus in 1828.

The genera Euchile, Prosthechea and Dinema were separated from Encyclia, based on a morphological analysis (Higgins, 1997)

The genus Sulpitia Raf. is a synonym of Encyclia.

There are a number of intergeneric hybrids with Encyclia. Most intergeneric hybrids using Encyclia species used the Genus Epidendrum for naming. This has recently changed.

Encyclia tampensis (Lindl.) Small, is the common "Butterfly Orchid" of peninsular Florida. It also occurs in the Bahamas & Cuba. It has an unusual beauty and has proven to be of exceptional value in orchid hybridizing.


  • Wesley E. Higgins, Cássio van den Berg, and W. Mark Whittenc - A Combined Molecular Phylogeny of Encyclia (Orchidaceae) and Relationships within Laeliinae; Selbyana Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 165–179.
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