Japanese Orchids

In this page, I would like to show you orchids that are indeginous to Japan
for orchid enthusiasts of the world. It is said that 317 Orchid species
(totally 75 genera) are indeginous to Japan. Cymbidium goeringii,
Cymbidium kanran, Calanthe species, Dendrobium moniliforme and
Neofinetia falcata have been appreciated as traditional pot plants in
Japan. Habenaria radiata, Bletilla striata and Poneorchis graminifolia are
popular in gardening enthusiasts too. Other wild orchids just grow in the
habitat or sometimes raised by alpine plants enthusiasts.

<Japanese Cymbidiums>
For more information on Asian Cymbidiums, click here!

Cymbidium goeringii: Japanese name is SHUNRAN (= spring orchid). It
grows under deciduous trees (Habitat: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku,
Kyushu). It blooms in March-April and has only 1 flower per 1 flower
stem.. The height is 10-25cm. There are many cultivars collected in the
habitat. Japanese cultivars have poor fragrances compared with Chinese
cultivars, but they have variety of flower colors. Plant type: evergreen,
terrestrial.
Growing Tips: prefer drained soil but you can grow it in usual soil; loves a
sunny place in winter-spring and loves half-shade in summer; half-hardy
and easy to grow.

Cymbidium goeringii wild species

cultivar called FUJINO YUUBAE

cultivar called MEBINA

cultivar called SHICHIFUKUJIN

Cymbidium kanran: Japanese name is KANRAN (= cold orchid). It grows
under evergreen trees in warm climate. The habitat is limited to South
part of Japan (Western Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu) though Cymbidium
goeringii grows almost all over Japan. It blooms in December-January and
has a good fragrance. The height is 25-60cm. This species has been
appreciated by the Japanese enthusiasts for long periods as well as
Cymbidium goeringii. Plant type: evergreen, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like pumice or bark, loves a shady
place throughout the year and a cool place in summer; needs at least at 5
C in winter; a bit difficult to grow.

cultivar called DONRYU

enlarged flower image of
DONRYU

cultivar called FUKUNOKAMI

cultivar called HOOSETSU


Cymbidium dayanum
Cymbidium dayanum: Japanese name is HETSUKARAN since the only habitat is HETSUKA in Kagoshima Prefecture, south part of Kyushu. It grows on a tree trunk of subtropical forest. The height is 30-40 cm. It has pendant flower stems, the blooming season is October-November.
Plant type: evergreen, epiphytic.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like pumice or bark, loves a sunny place throughout the year; needs at least at 5 C in winter; easy to grow.

Cymbidium koran
Cymbidium koran: Japanese name is KORAN (= small orchid). The habitat is Kyushu. Its flowers resemble Cymbidium ensifolium, but the plant is smaller and has narrow thin leaves. It has good fragrant flowers. The blooming season is August-October. The height is 30-40cm.
Plant type: evergreen, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like pumice or bark; loves a half-shade place throughout the year; half-hardy but needs at least at 5 C in winter. The soil should always be kept humid since this species is easily affected by drying-out.

Cymbidium lancifolium
Cymbidium lancifolium: Japanese name is NAGIRAN (orchid that looks like NAGI) since its leaves look like NAGI (Podocarpus nagi), a kind of conifer. It grows under evergreen forest in warm areas of Japan (Habitat: Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu). The height is 10-15cm. This species is the smallest one in Japanese Cymbidiums. Blooming season is July-August. Plant type: evergreen, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like pumice or bark; loves a half-shade place throughout the year; half-hardy but needs at least at 5 C in winter.

Cymbidium x nishiuchianum
cultivar ICHIJOO NO HOMARE
Cymbidium x nishiuchianum: Japanese name is HARUKANRAN (= spring cold orchid) It is estimated as a natural hybrid between Cymbidium goeringii and Cymbidium kanran. This type plant is sometimes found in Shikoku and Kyushu where the 2 species grow together. The height is 20-30 cm. It usually blooms in spring (March-April) and has 2 or 3 flowers per 1 flower stem though Cymbidium goeringii has only 1 flower per 1 flower stem.
Plant type: evergreen, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like pumice or bark; loves a half-shade place throughout the year; half-hardy but needs at least at 5 C in winter.

Cymbidium sinense
cultivar JUKOO
Cymbidium sinense: Japanese name is HOUSAIRAN (= orchid that tells the New Year). It grows under subtropical forest (South part of Kyushu and Ryukyu Islands). It blooms in the New Year period of the old calendar (= early February) and has good fragrant flowers. The height is 25-60cm. This species is not so popular in Japan. In China, it is appreciated as a New Year's plant.
Plant type: evergreen, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like pumice or bark; loves a sunny place throughout the year; needs at least at 5 C in winter; easy to grow.
Reference: Asian Cymbidiums Website
The website "SHIKI NO TOUYOURAN"(=oriental orchids in seasons) is created by Mr.Geiseki. He shows the photos of whole types of asian cymbidiums with cultural information.
(Japanese version only)


<Japanese Calanthes>
For more information on Japanese Calanthe, click here!
Calanthe species are generally called EBINE (= shrimp root) since its
pseudobulbs look like a shrimp. It seems that Calanthe species have been
appreciated as gardening plants at least since the Edo Period. Calanthe
discolor and Calanthe sieboldii were introduced with their growing tips in
KADAN KOUMOKU (published in 1681), the first gardening book in Japan.
However, Calanthe have became especially popular during the last 30
years. Enthusiasts and breeders have created so many cultivars by
crossing all the native species in Japan. Recently, many Calanthe hybrids
with various flower colors have been created by using biotechnology.
Plant type: evergreen, terrestrial.
*Calanthe species keep green leaves in winter. However the old leaves
die after the new leaves sprout every year.

Calanthe discolor
Calanthe discolor: Japanese name is EBINE (= shrimp root) and it is the most common species in Japan. Blooming season is April-May and its flower usually has pale brown petals and a white lip. Height is 20-40cm. It is found under deciduous trees all over Japan.
Growing Tips: prefer drained soil like a mixture of leaf mold and pumice but you can also grow it in usual soil; loves a sunny place in winter-spring and half-shade in summer; half-hardy and easy to grow.

Calanthe sieboldii
Calanthe sieboldii: Japanese name is KI-EBINE (= yellow EBINE) and it is the second most common species after Calanthe discolor in Japan. Blooming season is May-June and it has yellow flowers. The height is 25-50 cm, bigger than Calanthe discolor. This plant is found under deciduous trees in the Southern part of Japan (mainly in Kyushu and Shikoku). It is less hardy than Calanthe discolor.
Growing Tips: prefer drained soil like a mixture of leaf mold and pumice but you can also grow it in usual soil; loves a sunny place in winter-spring and half-shade place in summer; less hardy than Calanthe discolor; easy to grow.

Calanthe masuca
Calanthe masuca: Japanese name is ONAGA-EBINE (= long tail EBINE). Blooming season is July-October. The height is 30-50cm. It grows under evergreen trees of subtropical areas (South Kyushu and Ryukyu Islands) in Japan.
Growing Tips: loves drained soil like a mixture of leaf mold and pumice; loves a shady place throughout the year; needs at least at 5 C in winter.

Calanthe triplicata
Calanthe triplicata: Japanese name is TSURU-RAN (= crane orchid) because its flower looks like a crane. Blooming season is July-August and its flower is usually white. Height is 40-80cm. It grows under evergreen trees of subtropical areas (South Kyushu and Okinawa Islands) in Japan.
Growing Tips: loves drained soil like a mixture of leaf mold and pumice; loves a shady place throughout the year; needs at least at 5 C in winter.

Calanthe reflexa
Calanthe reflexa: Japanese name is NATSU-EBINE (= summer EBINE). Blooming season is July-August and its flower is white and pink. The height is 20-40cm. It grows under forest trees in the cool (mountainous) areas of Japan.
Growing Tips: loves drained soil like a mixture of leaf mold and pumice; loves a shady place throughout the year; loves a cool and humid atmosphere in summer; half-hardy and easy to grow.

Calanthe tricarinata
Calanthe tricarinata: Japanese name is SARUMEN-EBINE (= monkey face EBINE) because its flower looks like the face of a monkey. Its flowers have greenish yellow petals and one big brown petal. Its characteristics are similar to Calanthe discolor. The height is 30-50cm. It grows under forests in mountainous areas of Japan.
Growing Tips: loves drained soil like a mixture of leaf mold and pumice; loves a shady place throughout the year; loves a cool and humid atmosphere in summer; half-hardy and easy to grow.

Calanthe izu-insularis
Calanthe izu-insularis: Japanese name is NIOI-EBINE (= fragrant EBINE) since it has fragrant flowers. Its habitat is limited to Izu islands that are located south of Tokyo area. The height is 20 cm-40cm. Blooming season is May-June. It grows under evergreen trees of Izu islands.
Growing Tips: loves drained soil like a mixture of leaf mold and pumice; loves a shady place throughout the year; half-hardy and easy to grow.

Calanthe hybrid called
ANESAKI

Calanthe hybrid called
MURASAKISHIKIBU


<Dendrobium moniliforme>
For more information on Dendrobium moniliforme, click here!
Dendrobium moniliforme is indigenous to Japan. As an epiphytic orchid, it
blooms in early summer and its flower is white or slightly pink and it
smells sweet. The Japanese usually call this
species SEKKOKU, with this name being brought from China with
the usage of this plant as a Chinese medicine. Enthusiasts call its
cultivars groups CHOUSEIRAN (= long life orchid) as Japanese
traditional pot plants. In old times, this species was known just as
a medicinal herb. In the Edo period (1603-1867), enthusiasts got
to collect wild species with interesting leaf forms and variegation
from the habitat and grew them as foliage plants
Family: Orchidaceae Japanese name: SEKKOKU or CHOUSEIRAN
Plant type: evergreen and epiphytic.
Flower: white, yellow or slightly pink with fragrance
Habitat: on the branches of trees, on rocks in humid places.
Blooming season: May-June Height: 5-25cm
Growing Tips: usually it is planted in sphagnum moss since it is epiphytic
but you can grow it in pumice or bark; loves a sunny place throughout the
year; half-hardy and easy to grow.

Dendrobium moniliforme
usual type flowers

cultivar called TOOKI NO HIKARI

cultivar with central variegation
called TAMANISHIKI

cultivar with marginal
 variegation called
KYOMARUBOTAN


<Neofinetia falcata>
For more information on Neofinetia falcata, click here!
This tiny plant has a unique story relating to its appreciation.
The 11th SHOGUN (the ruler of Japan), whose name was
IENARI TOKUGAWA (life: 1773-1837, his reign: 1787-1837),
loved this plant very much. IENARI had acollection of more than
 200 FUU RAN plants with interesting leaf shapes and variegations.
DAIMYO (feudal lords of Japan) tried to
find interesting FUU RAN plants in the habitat and presented
them to IENARI for obtaining favors from him. Later, FUU
RAN cultivars came to be called FUUKI RAN (= noble orchid)
because of the enthusiasm of SAMURAI people.
Plant type: evergreen and epiphytic.
Flower: white or slightly pink with fragrance
Habitat: on the branches of trees or on rocks in humid places
Blooming season: June-May Height: 10cm
Growing Tips: should be planted in sphagnum moss since it is epiphytic or
you can grow it on tree-fern fiber; loves a sunny place throughout the
year and needs at least at 5 C in winter.

Neofinetia falcata
wild species

cultivar with marginal variegation

cultivar with yellow flowers
called KIKUOTOME

cultivar with pinkish flowers
called SHUTENNOU


<Poneorchis graminifolia>
For more information on Poneorchis graminifolia, click here!
Poneorchis graminifolia is called UCHOURAN in Japanese.
UCHOURAN means "butterfly wings orchid" in Japanese. This
tiny orchid has quite showy flowers, just like small butterflies.
UCHOURAN does not have a long history of cultivation, but it
has become popular as a pot plant during the past 30 years.
Plant type: tuberous plant, dormant in winter.
Habitat: rocky places in mountainous areas.
Blooming season: June-August Height: 17-20cm
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like small-sized pumice; loves a half-
shade place in summer; half-hardy; its tubers should not dry out in winter
(dormant period).

usual flower form

white cultivar with slightly
purple spots on its lip

cultivar with pink petals
and a reddish purple lip

cultivar with white petals
and a purple spotted lip


<Other Japanese Orchids>

Amitostigma lepidum
Amitostigma lepidum: Japanese name is OKINAWA CHIDORI (= flock of birds in OKINAWA). This species grows on rocky places in Okinawa islands (*subtropical area), south part of Japan. The height is 8-15cm. Blooming season is March-April.
Plant type: tuberous,dormant in summer, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like small-sized pumice; loves a sunny place in winter-spring and needs at least at 5 C in winter; its tubers should not dry out in summer (dormant period).
*If you would like to get more information on this orchid, I recommend you to visit the website "Okinawan orchis".

Arundina bambusifolia
Arundina bambusifolia: Japanese name is NARIYARAN. Its total form looks like a bamboo (height: 1-1.5m), but exhibits beautiful flowers like Cattleya in summer. This species grows in Okinawa islands, south part of Japan.
Plant type: evergreen, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves drained soil but you can also grow it in usual soil; loves a sunny place throughout the year and needs at least at 5 C in winter, easy to grow.

Bletilla striata
Bletilla striata: Japanese name is SHIRAN (= purple orchid) since its usual flower color is red purple. It grows on grasslands or rocky places in coastal areas of Japan. This species is very common in Japan and it is often planted in gardens. The height is 30-70cm and its blooming season is April-May.
Plant type: tuberous, dormant in winter, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: you can grow it in the garden with usual soil; loves a sunny place in spring-autumn; its tubers should not dry out in winter (dormant period); half-hardy and very easy to grow.

Bulbophyllum inconspicuum
Bulbophyllum inconspicuum: Japanese name is MUGIRAN (= wheat orchid) since its flower or berry is very small and looks like a grain of wheat. It grows on trunks of evergreen trees or on rocks in humid places. The height is 1-1.5cm. Blooming season is summer. Can you see the small white flowers in the photo?
Plant type: deciduous in winter, epiphytic.
Growing Tips: should be planted in sphagnum moss since it is epiphytic or you can grow it on tree-fern fiber; loves a shady place in summer; half-hardy.

Cleisostoma scolopendrifolium
Cleisostoma scolopendrifolium: Japanese name is MUKADERAN (= centipede orchid) since its total form looks like a centipede. It grows on trunks of evergreen trees or on rocks in humid places. Blooming season is July-August.
Plant type: evergreen, epiphytic.
Growing Tips: should be planted in sphagnum moss since it is epiphytic or you can grow it on tree-fern fiber; loves a half-shade place in summer; half-hardy.

Cypripedium japonicum
Cypripedium japonicum: Japanese name is KUMAGAISOU (= KUMAGAI plant) since its flower looks like a hat worn by the famous samurai KUMAGAI NAOZANE. Blooming season is April-May. The height is 20-40cm. It grows under forest trees in the cool (mountainous) areas of Japan.
Plant type: tuberous, dormant in winter, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves drained soil like a mixture of leaf mold and pumice; loves a cool and shady place in summer; hardy but its roots should not dry out in winter (dormant period); it is not easy to grow it in a pot since it has long roots.

Dactylorhiza aristata
Dactylorhiza aristata: Japanese name is HAKUSAN-CHIDORI (= flock of birds in HAKUSAN mountain *HAKUSAN mountain is one of its habitats). It grows in grasslands of high mountain areas. It is an alpine plant. The height is 10-40cm. Blooming season is July-August.
Plant type: tuberous, dormant in winter, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like small-sized pumice; its soil should always be kept moist since it grows in damp areas; loves a cool and sunny place in summer; hardy but its tubers should not dry out in winter (dormant period); it is not easy to grow in lowland areas.

Epipactis thunbergii
Epipactis thunbergii: Japanese name is KAKIRAN (= persimmon orchid) since its flower color looks like persimmons. It grows in damp areas all over Japan. Blooming season is June-August. The height is 30-70cm.
Plant type: tuberous, dormant in winter, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like small-sized pumice; its soil should always be moist since it grows in damp areas; loves a sunny place in summer; half-hardy; its tubers should not dry out in winter (dormant period).

Eria reptans
Eria reptans: Japanese name is OSARAN. It grows on trunks of evergreen trees or on rocks in humid places. Its habitat is limited to Southern part of Japan. It has small white flowers in July-August. The height is 2-6cm.
Plant type: deciduous in winter, epiphytic.
Growing Tips: should be planted in sphagnum moss since it is epiphytic or you can grow it on tree-fern fiber; loves a half-shade place in summer; half-hardy.

Gastrochilus japonicus
Gastrochilus japonicus: Japanese name is KASHINOKIRAN (= oak orchid) since it often hangs on branches of Japanese oaks. Its habitat is limited to Southern part of Japan. It has yellow flowers in July-August. The height is 5cm.
Plant type: evergreen, epiphytic
Growing Tips: should be planted in sphagnum moss since it is epiphytic or you can grow it on tree-fern fiber; loves a half-shade place in summer and needs at least at 8 C in winter.

Goodyera schlechtendaliana
Goodyera schlechtendaliana: Japanese name is MIYAMAUZURA (= quail of deep mountains) since its spotted leaf look like the wings a quail. It grows under forest trees of mountainous areas. It has small white flowers in August-September. The height is 5-15cm.
Plant type: evergreen, terrestrial.
For more information on Goodyera schlechtendaliana, Click Here!
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like small-sized pumice; its soil should always be moist since it grows in humid forests; loves a shady place in summer; half-hardy.

Goodyera foliosa
Goodyera foliosa var. laevis: Japanese name is AKEBONO-SHUSURAN. SHUSURAN means "satin orchid" in Japanese. It grows under forest trees of mountainous areas. It shows small white flowers in August-September. The height is 5-15cm.
Plant type: evergreen, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like small-sized pumice; its soil should always be humid since it grows in humid forests; loves a shady place in summer; half-hardy.

Habenaria radiata
Habenaria radiata: Japanese name is SAGISOO (= egret plant) since its flower shape looks like a flying egret. It grows in damp areas of all over Japan. Blooming season is July-August. The height is 15-40cm.
Plant type: tuberous, dormant in winter, terrestrial.
For more information on Habenaria radiata, Click Here!
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like small-sized pumice; its soil should always be moist since it grows in damp areas; loves a sunny place in summer; half-hardy; its tubers should not dry out in winter (dormant period).

Liparis krameri
Liparis krameri: Japanese name is JIGABACHISOO (= digger wasp plant) since its flower looks like a digger wasp. It grows under forest trees of mountainous areas. Blooming season is June-August. The height is 10-20cm.
Plant type: deciduous in winter, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like small-sized pumice; its soil should always be humid since it grows in humid forests; loves a shady place in summer; half-hardy.

Liparis makinoana
Liparis makinoana: Japanese name is SUZUMUSHISOO (= Japanese singing cricket plant) since its flower looks like a Japanese singing cricket. It grows under forest trees of mountainous areas. Blooming season is June-August. The height is 10-20cm.
Plant type: deciduous in winter, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like small-sized pumice; its soil should always be humid since it grows in humid forests; loves a shady place in summer; half-hardy.

Liparis nervosa
Liparis nervosa: Japanese name is KOKURAN (= black orchid) since its flower looks black (actually dark red). It grows under forest trees of mountainous areas. Blooming season is June-July. The height is 15-30cm.
Plant type: deciduous in winter, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like small-sized pumice; its soil should always be moist since it grows in humid forests; loves a shady place in summer; half-hardy.

Luisia teres
Luisia teres: Japanese name is BOORAN (= rod orchid) since its total form looks like a rod. It grows on tree trunks in flatlands. It has flowers with yellow petals and a brown lip in July-August. The height (length) is 10-40cm.
Plant type: evergreen, epiphytic.
Growing Tips: should be planted in sphagnum moss since it is epiphytic or you can grow it on tree-fern fiber; loves a half-shade place in summer; half hardy.

Neottianthe cucullata
Neottinanthe cocullata: Japanese name is MIYAMAMOJIZURI (= Ladies' tresses in deep mountains) since its flowers look like Ladies' tresses (Spiranthes). It grows under deciduous trees of mountainous areas. The height is 10-15cm.
Plant type: tuberous, dormant in winter, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like small-sized pumice; its soil should always be humid since it grows in humid forests; loves a cool and shady place in summer; half-hardy; it is not easy to grow in lowland areas.

Phaius flavus
Phaius flavus: Japanese name is GANSEKIRAN (=rock orchid) since its big pseudobulbs look like rocks. It grows under forest trees in the Southern part of Japan. Blooming season is May-June. The height is 40-60cm. This genus is related to Calanthe.
Plant type: evergreen, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves drained soil like a mixture of leaf mold and pumice; loves a shady place throughout the year and needs at least at 5 C in winter.

Pogonia japonica
Pogonia japonica: Japanese name is TOKISOU (= ibis orchid) since its flower looks like a Japanese ibis (Nipponia Nippon). It grows in damp areas all over Japan. Blooming season is May-July. The height is 10-30cm.
Plant type: tuberous, dormant in winter, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: loves well-drained soil like small-sized pumice; its soil should always be moist since it grows in damp areas; loves a sunny place in summer; half-hardy; its tubers should not dry out in winter (dormant period).

Sedirea japonica
Sedirea japonica: Japanese name is NAGORAN (= Nago orchid) since it was first found in Nago-City of Okinawa island. It grows on tree trunks or on rocks of humid places. Its habitat is limited to southern part of Japan. Blooming season is June-August. The height is 5-15cm.
Plant type: evergreen, epiphytic.
Growing Tips: should be planted in sphagnum moss since it is epiphytic or you can grow it on tree-fern fiber; loves a sunny place throughout the year and needs at least at 8 C in winter.

Spiranthes sinensis
Spiranthes sinensis: Japanese name is NEJIBANA (= spiral flower) since its flowers bloom spirally. It grows in grasslands and it is one of most common orchids in Japan. Blooming season is April-October. The height is 10-40cm.
Plant type: evergreen, terrestrial.
Growing Tips: you can grow it in any soil; loves a sunny place throughout the year; half-hardy and very easy to grow; it will die when it becomes 7-8 years old but you can get many seedlings around the plant.

There are more Japanese orchids that I cannot show you the photos. I
will add more contents in the future.

Reference: Japanese Wild Orchid Websites
The website "CalypsoLip" is created by Mr.Nakayama. He visited the habitats of wild orchids all over Japan and took photos. You can understand how they grow in the nature by looking at his excellent photos of Japanese wild orchids.

The Encyclopedia
of Orchids in Japan
The website "NIHON NO RANKA SHOKUBUTSU ZUKAN" (= The Encyclopedia of Orchids in Japan) is created by Mr. Takeuchi living in Shikoku Island of Japan. He visited the habitas of wild orchids in Shikoku and took photos. You can enjoy enlarged images of Japanese wild orchids in this site. He is also a website owner of "Gesneriads of the World".
(Japanese only, but you can recognize the orchids by species name)

Reference: Wild Orchid Website
THE HARDY
ORCHID
SOCIETY
The Hardy Orchid Society in the UK is doing interesting
activities for the people who are fascinated by wild hardy
orchids. You can get plenty of information on wild
orchids other than orchids from tropical areas. There
are photo gallery of wild orchids in this site.
(English)

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