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Pleurothallis also known as Bonnet Orchids is a genus of orchids belonging to the orchid family

Image of Pleurothallis plant at Google

Pleurothallis is a genus of orchids belonging to the orchid family, Orchidaceae. Pleurothallis, is abbreviated Pths in horticultural trade. These orchids are also known as Bonnet Orchids. The name is derived from the Greek word ‘pleurothallos’, meaning ‘riblike branches’.

This genus comprises of 1200 species which is known to be the second largest in the family. They are distributed from the southeast United States down into the tropics of South America, with most species in the high Andes chain of cloud forest in Colombia.

Some of the species of this genus are:
A few have common names:
– Pleurothallis angustifolia : Wilson’s Bonnet Orchid
– Pleurothallis appendiculata : Hand Bonnet Orchid (now a synonym of Antilla appendiculata (Cogn.) Luer in 2004)
– Pleurothallis aristata : Forest Bonnet Orchid
– Pleurothallis domingensis : Guadeloupe Bonnet Orchid (now a synonym of Crocodeilanthe domingensis (Cogn.) Luer 2004)
– Pleurothallis immersa : Black Orchid – now a synonym of Specklinia immersa (Linden & Rchb.f.) Luer
– Pleurothallis oblongifolia : Ladies’ Bonnet Orchid
– Pleurothallis obovata : South American Bonnet Orchid – now a synonym of Anathallis obovata
– Pleurothallis pruinosa : Waxy Bonnet Orchid
– Pleurothallis pubescens : Hairy Bonnet Orchid
– Pleurothallis ruscifolia : Green Bonnet Orchid
– Pleurothallis segoviensis : Trout-fly Orchid – now synonym of Unciferia segoviensis (Rchb.f.) Luer
– Pleurothallis sieberi: Luer

Growing/Caring conditions for Pleurothallis:
– Select a location which receives natural sunlight.
– Care should be taken that the location is not too hot.
– Indirect light is preferred in summer.
– Plant the orchid in the location.
– Water the orchid well.
– Care should be taken, not to overwater the orchid.
– Keep the orchid moist.
– Plant blooms in the fall to spring.
– Re-potting annually is better for some orchids.
– Plant the orchid in a potting mix of mulch for tropical plants.
– Fertilize the orchid with plant food that is specific for orchids.
– Control the way roots get their oxygen because it is an important factor when they grow.
– This plant needs rich and fertile soil.
– This plant needs well draining soil.
– Add tree fern fibers (for small plants), several pieces of coarse fir bark, or sphagnum moss for draining.
– Dead growth and branches should be removed.

The following fungal and bacterial infections are known to attack the plant.
– Leaf spot is caused by Colletotrichum and Gleosporium.
– Leaf blight – caused by Pythium.
– Collar blocth – caused by Penicilium thomii
– Collar rot – caused by Sclerotium
– Orchid wilt – caused by Sclerotium rolfsli
To avoid the above, fungicides like Captan, Dithane, Agrosan and Ceresan are very effective.

More than 32 diseases are known to occur on orchids with the most common are Cymbidium mosaic virus. All infected plants should be isolated to prevent spreading of the disease for avoiding.The most commonly reported insects pests on orchids are thrips, aphids, spidermite, soft scale, mealy bugs, orchid weevil, snail and slugs.

They feed on tender young shoot, suck the sap and damage the young bud and shoot and also act as the carrier of different diseases. These can be controlled by effective insecticides like Parathion, Malathion, BHC, Aldrin, Dieldrin, etc. Metaldehyde has proved to be very effective in killing slugs and snails.

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