Epidendrum viviparum Lindley 1841 GROUP Coilostylis

Flower Closeup

Photo by Mario Sergio Rosim

Flower closeup

Plant form with keiki growth habit [arrow] and inflorescence.

Photos by Jay Pfahl


Common Name or Meaning The Bearing Live Young Epidendrum [refers to the growth habit of the plant with keikis]

Flower Size 2 5/8" [6.5 cm]

Found in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and the Guianas at elevations of 190 to 450 meters as a medium sized, hot growing epiphyte that has the strange habit of putting out keikis on top of keikis [see plant photo] and is not uncommon to have three or four sets of plants growing on one inflorescence one stacked above the other.

This species has cylindric pseudobulbs and that is the major difference between this species and the often confused E. purpurescens. It blooms in the spring with a few successively opening flowers, with 3 to 5 open at a time, on a terminal, to 12" [30 cm] long, few to several flowered inflorescence.

This plant is often misnamed as Epidendrum purpurascens Syn Coliostylis clavata but that species has compressed pseudobulbs with no keikis on the inflorescence, while E vivipara has cylindrical pseudobulbs and an inflorescence that has a tendency to grow small plantlets after flowering.

"Epidendrum viviparum Lindl. belongs to the GROUP Coilostylis which is characterized by the sympodial, caespitose plants, the stems forming a fusiform, heteroblastic pseudobulb, with an apical, racemose, distichous inflorescence, the peduncle covered by large bracts, and flowers large, starshaped, with long, narrow sepals and petals. The species is recognized by the 2 to 3 leaves, a very long inflorescence 8 to 28" [20 to 70 cm] long, produces new plants from the apical nodes of the inflorescence which is produced from the mature pseudobulb, sepals are 1.2 to 1.8" [3 to 4.5 cm] long, the lateral lobes of the lip are reniform, the distal margin undulate, and has an acuminate midlobe Epidendrum purpurascens has inflorescence produced from the immature, bifoliate stem, sepals .6 to 1" [15 to 25 mm] long, the deeply 3-lobed lip, the lateral lobes dolabriform with the margin unevenly erose and the midlobe spatulate, unguiculate, apiculate, widest near the apex. Epidendrum oerstedii Rchb.f. also flowers from the immature growth and has 1 to 2 apical leaves, but the flowers are larger, sepals 1.6 to 2.6" [40 to 65 mm] long, the lateral lobes obovate, and the midlobe widened at the middle. Epidendrum ciliare L. has the distal margin of the lateral lobes of the lip deeply fimbriate. Epidendrum volutum Lindl. is vegetatively similar, but has 2 to 3 leaves, an obscurely 3-lobed, suborbicular-cordiform, recurved lip, and the flowers are concolor, pale green." Adapted from E purpurescens Plate 1168 Hagsater etal 2008

Here is a list of the Peruvian Epidendrum with true pseudobulbs, E blepharistes, E compressibulbum, E harmsianum, E microcattleya, E oellgaardii, E parvilabre, E polystachyum, Epidendrum pseudopolystachum, E rupestre, E saxicola and E viviparum.

Synonyms Coilostylis vivipara [Lindl] Withner & Harding 2004; Epidendrum viviparum f. maior Hoehne 1912

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Orchidaceae Brasilense Band 1 Pabst & Dungs 1975 as Epidendrum viviparum drawing fide; Die Orchideen 3 Auflage Bd 1 Sonderabdruck aus Schlechter Lieferung 9 513 - 576 Brieger, Maatsch and Senghas 1977 as Auliza viviparum; Icones Planetarum Tropicarum Series II Orchids of Bolivia plate 0338 Dodson & Vasquez 1989 drawing fide; Icones Planetarum Tropicarum Plate 491 Series II Orchids of Ecuador Dodson 1989 drawing fide; Native Colombian Orchids Vol 2 COS 1991; Native Ecuadorian Orchids Vol 2 Dodson 2001 drawing fide; Australian Orchid Review Vol 69 No 4 2004; Orchids of Bolivia Vol 2 Laelinae Vasquez and Ibisch 2004 drawing/photo fide; ; *The Cattleyas and Their Relatives, the Debateable Epidendrum Withner and Harding 2004 as Coilostylis vivipara photo fide; Icones Orchidacearum 11 Plate 1168 Hagsater 2008 see recognition section; Orquideas de Roirama Luz & Franco 2012 photo fide; Orquideas, Tesoro de Colombia Vol 2 Ortiz & Uribe 2017 drawing fide;