Lithophytic orchids: Restrepia, Sarcochilus, Vandopsis.

Lithophytic orchids are orchids that grows in or on the rocks. They feed off moss, gaining nutrients in rain water, litter, and their own dead tissue. Lithophytic orchids grow with their roots exploring the crack and crevices of suitable rocky surfaces, so that even when the rock is in a sunny place, the roots are protected from excessive drying out. List of Lithophytic Orchids:


A genus of epiphytic orchids distributed from southern Mexico to northern Argentina.

Restrepia is a genus of epiphytic orchids in the family Orchidaceae, comprising 50 species. Restrepia is abbreviated as Rstp in horticultural trade, and is named in honor of Don Jose Manuel Restrepo (1781-1863), an investigator of Colombian flora. It is distributed from Southern Mexico to Northern Argentina, where the plants thrive in cool moist forests of the high Andes mountain range.

Restrepia species are tiny epiphytic and rarely lithophytic orchids that lack pseudobulbs. They have erect, thick, leathery leaves of elliptic-ovate in shape, and aerial roots with fine hairs. The leaves will turn to a reddish color under optimum conditions. The flowers are developed one at a time, on a slender peduncle from the base of the back of the leaf. Flowering occurs throughout the year. The long dorsal sepal and lateral petals end in thickened club-shaped tip. The fused lateral sepals come in a range of beautiful colors, from white, yellow, rose, purple, orange or tan with red, brown to purple, and are marked frequently with reddish-purple spots or stripes. The long, ovoid lip is widest at its apex, and shares the same color and markings.

Keikis or new young plants are produced at the base of mature leaves. Keikis can be removed and grown separately, once they have established a satisfactory root system.


A genus of orchids found in Australia including Tasmania, and in New Caledonia.

Sarcochilus species are compact plants (15 cm tall) with a monopodial growth habit. They branch freely at the base and forming dense clumps. The leaves are produced from pseudobulbs. Each mature plant in the clump will produce 2-5 racemes. The axillary, racemose inflorescence is pendant to arching, producing 3-25 colorful and fragrant flowers. Sarcochilus species grow well in high humidity, exceptional air movement and moderate to low light conditions.


A genus of orchids found in Southeast Asia that could be terrestrial as well as lithophytic.

Vandopsis is a genus of orchids in the family Orchidaceae, comprising about 6 species. The genus is abbreviated as Vdps in horticultural trade. The genus is distributed throughout Southeast Asia, Southern China, the Philippines, and New Guinea.

Vandopsis lissochiloides is a giant sized, lithophytic or terrestrial, monopodial orchid in the genus Vandopsis. It can be found in the Phillipines, New Guinea, Laos and also Thailand. The stems can grow up to 2 m tall, and produces stiff and leathery leaves of 30 cm long. It produces a unique combination of striking yellow and pinkish or purplish toned backside flowers. The erect inflorescence bears 10-20 flowers and are 6-7 cm in diameter. The yellow tepals are covered with brown and red spots, and are purple on the outside. Its small lip has a purple tip. The flowers can last for several months.

Written by 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *