Calanthe is a genus of terrestrial orchids. It can be found mostly in Asia, but also in central West Africa, Australia and even Tahiti. There are two types of Calanthe: the evengreen type with small, corn-like pseudobulbs, and the deciduous type with large, angular pseudobulbs. The Calanthe has large leaves and tall, erect inflorescences. The flowers are delicate but showy. The most common colour for Calanthe flowers is white, although they can also be found in pink, yellow and orange. The petals and sepals are narrow and equal in size. The lip is several-lobed, and often marked with protuberances called callosites.

Calanthe holds the distinction for being the first orchid to be hybridized by man. This was done by John Lindley in 1856 when he created Calanthe Dominii, which he named in honour of John Dominy, the person who pollinated Calanthe masuca with the pollinia from Calanthe furcata. The following are some of the species of Calanthe that are grown:

  • Calanthe calcarata
  • Calanthe rubens
  • Calanthe veratrifolia
  • Calanthe vestita
Calanthe discolorCalanthe discolor
Author: Kenpei (cc-by-3.0)


  • Orchids of Asia, by Teoh Eng Soon
  • The Macdonald Encyclopedia of Orchids
  • Orchid Growing in the Tropics, by the Orchid Society of South East Asia

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