Native: a genus consisting of fourteen species that grows in humid rainforests at low- to mid-elevation regions of South America, with most species in Brazil
Type: most are epiphytes, but some are terrestrials
Size: flowers vary from 2 to 3 inches in diameter depending on species; prominent bracts of the flower equal the length of the ovary
Flowering: produces long-lived flowers with multiple blooms; blooms up to 8 weeks
Colors: flowers have green petals and sepals, often spotted or striped with purple or brown; the large, flat lip is white with purple, raspberry or bluish veins radiating from the base
Flowering stem: produces a 24 inch-long, few- to several-flowered, racemose inflorescence that grows laterally and is longer than the leaves
Growth pattern: sympodial
Pseudobulb: has ovoid-conical pseudobulbs which are deciduous
Roots: tends to make extensive root system that needs to stay moist but not too wet
Known for: fragrant, waxy, and long-lived flowers with multiple blooms; ease of culture; excellent cut flowers which are much in demand
History: genus was created in 1827 by famous orchid botanist Sir William Hooker who examined this unique new orchid given to him by a Brazilian named Mackay; the first species was name Zygopetalum mackayi in his honor; name is derived from Greek word zygon which means "yoked petal" referring to the yoke-like growth at the base of the labellum caused by the fusion of petals and sepals

The sepals and petals often curve inward slightly but usually recurve at the tips.

The name is derived from the Greek word zygon means "yoked petal" which refers to the yoke-like growth at the base of the labellum caused by the fusion of petals and the sepals.