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 Habenaria subsp. var.  bog orchids
Habenaria rhodocheila
Habit: orchid
Height: to
Width: to
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Lifespan: perennial
Features: deciduous
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USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Orchidaceae > Habenaria var. ,

Habenaria species have small to large underground root tubers and erect stems 20 to 80 cm in length. Leaves are lanceolate or ovate, and are borne either along the stem (cauline) or only at the base (basal). When basal, leaves lie flat on the ground. Flowers are mostly green, white, yellow and green, or white and green, but a few exceptions have brilliant red flowers. The plant is a perennial deciduous, with the entire above-ground part of the plant dying back each year.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Habenaria (Greek, a rein or strap; referring to the shape of parts of the flower). Orchidaceae, tribe Ophrydeae. Rein Orchis. Terrestrial leafy herbs, sometimes grown in bog-gardens and naturalized in moist places.

Tubers usually undivided, rarely lobed: fls. in terminal racemes or spikes, rarely solitary; sepals sub equal, free or cohering at base, erect or spreading; petals usually smaller, often 2-lobed; lip spreading or drooping, long- or short-spurred at base; its blade entire or 3-5- fid.; column very short, sessile: rostellum usually 1- toothed or lobed; glands naked; anther-cells parallel or divergent: caps, ovoid or oblong, erect. The lateral lobes are sometimes fringed, giving the fl. a graceful appearance.—Species about 400, very widely distributed in temperate and tropical regions.

Few species of Habenaria are of much horticultural importance, especially in this country. Some of the exotic kinds enjoy some favor as stove plants in England, while there are a number of hardy North American species which can be recommended for outdoor cultivation in boggy places. H. Susanna?, H. cornea, H. militaris and other East Indian species are best grown in a moderately warm house, needing good light and a fair amount of water. It is recommended to repot them after the resting season in a compost of peat, moss, loam and crock dust, with the tuber resting upon the crocked-up bottom of the pot and the growing point just beneath the soil. They should then be given a good supply of water until after flowering. These habenarias are much like bletia in their requirements. The most popular species at present seem to be H. ciliaris, H. fimbriata and H. psycodes, but these give a very imperfect conception of the beauties of the genus, although in the opinion of some persons, H. ciliaris is the showiest orchid in temperate North America. The native species are procurable through collectors and dealers in native plants: foreign species through Dutch bulb-growers; and H. radiata through dealers in Japanese plants.


bifolia, 29. blephariglottis, 15. Bonatea, 19. Bractea, 24. carnea, 6. Chlorantha, 20. Ciliaris, 8. Cinnabarina, 10. Conopaea, 1. Cristata, 9. Dilatata, 35. Elegans, 32. Elwesii, 18. Fimbriata, 4. Gigantea, 17. Gracilis, 33. Hookerians, 30. Hookeri, 30. Hyperborea, 31. Integra, 7. Lacera, 23. Leucophaea, 22. Leucostachys, 14. Longecalcarata, 16. Militaris, 11. Nivea, 13. Nivosa, 6. Obtusata, 27. Odoritissima, 2. Orbiculata, 28. Peramoena,3. Psycodes, 5. Pusilla, 11. Radiata, 21. Rhodocheila, 12. Susannae, 17. Tridentata, 25. Unalaschcensis, 34. Virescens, 26. Viridis, 24.

H. geniculata, D. Don. Slender-growing: fls. white with green spur. Burma, Himalayas. —H. idntha, Hook. (Platanthera iantha, Wight). Deciduous, about 16 in. high: fls. shortly stalked, creamy white; lip large, rose-purple and white with crimson-purple doU and streaks; crest bright yellow. S. India. G.C. III. 54:300.—H. lugardii, Rolfe. Lvs. 2, basal: raceme . many-fld.: fls. white, the sty- lodes green: sepals ovate, acute; petals divided into 2 slender lobes. Bechuanaland. B. M. 7798. — H. Rttnieri. Garden hybrid of H. militaris and H. carnea.—H. roebelenii. Rolfe. Similar to H. militaris but dwarfer: fls. vermilion - scarlet; lip broad, deeply cleft at the aides. Annam. O.K. 1913:39.—H. triquttra, Rolfe. Plant somewhat glaucous: racemes about 10-fld.; petals white; sepals light green. Burma.

T. H. Kearney, Jr. George V. Nash

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


Habenaria are rarely found in collections of living plants.

Plants are best grown in deep pots (e.g. 20 cm depth, place tubers at 10 cm depth) in a well drained medium consisting of 50% river sand, 40% leaf mulch and 10% vermiculite. Plants are best grown in a temperate environment with 50-70% shading and excellent ventilation.

Regular watering should be given during the growth season, from spring to autumn. As soon as autumn cooling sets in reduce watering to once every two weeks. During cold winter months do not water. It is, however, vital to watch that the medium does not dehydrate completely. To prevent this drench the pot occasionally and allow to dry. Do not keep the medium damp. Only after new shoots emerge at the end of winter commence with watering once every two weeks for the spring season and once or twice a week as required for the summer season.

A slow release fertilizer can be applied during spring. Aphids can be a problem and should be watched for and eliminated.


Pests and diseases



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