Bletilla ochracea Schltr. 1913

Photo courtesy of Clark Riley.


Common Name The Ochre-Yellow Bletilla - In China Huang Hua Bai Ji

Flower Size 2" [5 cm]

Found in Vietnam and southern China around roadcuts, forests, thickets and shaded areas as a medium sized, cold growing terrestrial at elevations around 300 to 2400 meters among short grasses that shade the obliquely ovoid pseudobulbs carrying 3 to 4, plicate, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate apically leaves and blooms in the late spring through early summer on an erect, terminal, 18" [45 cm ] long, 3 to 14 flowered inflorescence with small, caducous bracts.

The following text is from Dr Clark Riley: This Bletilla ochracea is an exchange plant from the National Arboretum. The parent was collected in Yunnan province of China. It has proven extremely hardy throughout the east coast of the U.S. Bletilla ochracea have shown itself to be very tolerant of heavy blizzards in the winter and extreme heat in the summer and does not appear to be affected by any diseases. The inflorescence bears up to 20 flowers, usually 12 or so, open one or two at a time from the bottom. As with Bletillas striata and B formosanum, the inflorescence arises from the center of the leaves. The base is very soft, making it easy to pull without cutting - very important because it cuts the cost of the "cut" flowers and cannot spread disease. In full sun, the plant is shorter and the flowers have a deep red back side. In shade, the plants are more graceful with mustard-yellow flowers. The plant in the picture is growing in partial sun. The inflorescence is occasionally branched when the plants are very vigorous in full sun. However, the hybrid with Bletilla striata branches freely, making a very nice show with 6 or more flower open at a time on a single plant.

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Die Orchideen Schlechter 1915; Die Orchideen 3 Auflage Bd 1 Sonderabdruck aus Schlechter Lieferung 7 385 - 448 Brieger, Maatsch and Senghas 1975; AOS Bulletin Vol 60 No 1/15-8 1991 photo; Native Orchids of China in Colour Singchi, Zhanhuo and Yibo 1999 photo fide; AOS Bulletin Vol 76 #6 2007 photo fide; Native Orchids of Shaanxi - Shaanxi Science & Technology Press 2007 photo fide; AOS Bulletin Vol 77 #5 2008 photo fide; Native Orchids From Gaoligongshan Maountains, China Xiaohua, Xiaodong and Xiaochun 2009 photo fide; A Field Guide to the Orchids of China Singchi, Zhongjian, Yibo, Xiaohua and Zhanhuo 2009 photo fide; Flora of China Vol 25 Zhengyi, Raven & Deyuan 2009; Flora of China Vol 25 Illustrations Zhengyi, Raven & Deyuan 2010 drawing fide; The Wild Orchids in Yunnan Xu Xiang Ye & Liu 2010 photo fide; AOS Bulletin Vol 84 #2 2015 photo fide; Atlas of Native Orchids of China Vol 1 Jin Xiaohua, Li Jianwu and Ye Deping 2019 photo fide;