Orchids are one of the most fascinating, beautiful flowers among the flowering plants. Catasetum is one such genus which belongs the family of Orchids, the Orchidaceae. There are 149 species in the genus Catasetum. In Greek the meaning of kata means down and Latin seta means bristle. Catasetums are natives of Brazil, and range from Mexico to tropical America.
Catasetums exhibit sexual dimorphism. The sexual dissimilarity in the structure of staminate and pistillate flowers, often borne on separate inflorescences, or even growing at distinct seasons of the year has resulted in a nomenclatural confusion within the genus. The confusion still persists even to this present day.
Catasetum's inflorescence is borne on the basis of sex of the flowers. Inflorescence of catasetums has fleshy unisexual flowers, which is exceptional for orchids. The colorful male and yellowish-green female flowers are seen on different plants. In rare cases there are few hermaphrodite plants also. But, it is only an exception.
A characteristic feature of catasetum male flowers is the remarkable technique for the ejection of the pollinia. Trigger mechanism is one of the most unique feature among species of this highly evolved Orchids' family. The more colorful 4 inches male flowers (than female), produce a citrus fragrance. When anyone (or insect) touches the flower, the flower triggers and sends out a sticky pollinia, which is the characteristic feature of male catasetum.
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Facts About Catasetum
- Pseudobulbs of Catasetum flowers are cigar-shaped and clustered.
- After the leaves drop off, catasetum's pseudobulb become spiny.
- Presence of Unisexual flowers, is the exceptional feature of Orchids and so also with catasetums.
- Male catasetums are produced in shaded regions and female catasetum flowers are produced in high light.
- Catasetums are deciduous flowering plants which become dormant in winter.
- During dormancy, Catasetums can be removed from the orchid house and kept dry until spring.
- Plant Catasetums in a container which encourages good drainage conditions.
- Repotting should ideally be done when the plants are growing, usually in spring.
- Water the plants heavily as plant growth becomes more heavier, producing more roots to satisfy the plants' needs.
- Catasetums need Fertilizers almost once every week.
- Dry out the catasetum plant after flowering and water it to prevent shrivelling of the bulbs.
- Water the plant until the new lead and roots start to appear.
- Stake the spikes of 4-6 inch, which is helpful in encouraging good flower arrangement on the developing inflorescence of a catasetum.