Miltonia, abbreviated Milt. in the horticultural trade, is an orchid genus formed by nine epiphyte species and eight natural hybrids inhabitants of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, one species reaching the northeast of Argentina and east of Paraguay.
This genus was established by John Lindley in 1837, when he described its type species, Miltonia spectabilis. Many species were attributed to Miltonia in the past, however, today, the species from Central America and from cooler areas on northwest of South America have been moved to other genera.
Miltonia species have large and long lasting flowers, often in multifloral inflorescences. This fact, allied to being species that are easy to grow and to identify, make them a favorite of orchid collectors all over the world. Species of this genus are extensively used to produce artificial hybrids.
Despite the fact that Miltonia is now a well established genus, most of its species were originally classified under other genera as Cyrtochilum, Oncidium, Odondoglossum, and Brassia. All were discovered between 1834 and 1850 with the exception of M. kayasimae, discovered only in 1976.
These epiphytic orchids occur from Central to Southern Brazil down to Argentina. These orchids have one or two leaves, arising from a pseudobulbs, covered with a foliaceous sheath.
The inflorescence consists of waxy, nonspurred flowers. The lip is large and flat and lacks a callus at its base. They possess a footless column with two hard pollinia. The flowers have a delicate, exotic scent. They are named after Lord Fitzwilliam Milton, an English orchid enthusiast.
The species in this genus are sometimes confused with the pansy orchids, but it is the other miltoniopsis orchids that have flowers that closely resemble the pansy.
Almost everyone except for the most serious orchid hobbyists use these names interchangeably, which may cause confusion.
Miltonia looks more like oncidiums than the real pansy orchids. The most "pansy-like" a miltonia can get is the species Miltonia spectabilis. Taxonomists are debating whether to put miltonia into the oncidium genus because of the many connections between the two.
Miltoniopsis is the pansy orchid with huge showy flowers. They grow in cooler climates and are more challenging to grow than miltonias. This genus forms with Miltoniopsis a hybrid genus xMilmiltonia J.M.H.Shaw.
See Also: flowers philippines, flower philippines, Gift Philippines, flowers jamaica
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