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Catasetum

Catasetum Kunth. 1822

Type Species: Catasetum macrocarpum Kunth 1822

Synonyms: Catachaeteum Hoffmansegg 1842
Cuculina Raf. 1836
Monacanthus G. Don 1839; Monachanthus Lindley 1832
Myanthus Lindley 1832
Warczewitzia Skinner 1850

Tribe: CYMBIDIEAE

Subtribe: CATASETINAE

Pronunciation: cat-ah-seet-um

Temperature: W.I.

Country: Central America, West Indies, Argentina, Brazil

Between 110 and 120 species are known from this widely distributed genus which has thick, cigar-shaped, clustered pseudobulbs. They have 8-12 pleated (plicate) leaves on the upper half of the pseudobulb and are usually deciduous. The pseudobulbs can become spiny after the leaves have dropped.

The inflorescence is borne at or near the base of the pseudobulbs and can be erect to pendant. The flowers are fleshy and very unique in being unisexual (ie: they are either male or female).

The colourful, showy male flowers contrast with those of the usually yellowish-green female flowers. Plants usually only produce one type of flower each flowering although they can produce both types.

The male flowers have a remarkable technique for the ejection of the pollinia which can be stimulated by the human finger. Try it one time!