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Epidendrum radicans

A vigorous terrestrial orchid with bright orange and yellow flowers, Epidendrum radicans is grown as an ornamental and for cut flowers.
Epidendrum radicans flowers

Epidendrum radicans (Photo: Vaishak Kallore, licensed under CC by 3.0)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Epidendrum radicans Pav. ex Lindl.

Common name: 

ground-rooting epidendrum, crucifix orchid, fire-star orchid, rainbow orchid, reed-stem epidendrum

Conservation status: 

Not assessed according to IUCN Red List criteria.


Upland areas, often on roadsides or near disturbed ground.

Key Uses: 


Known hazards: 

None known.


Genus: Epidendrum

About this species

A terrestrial orchid from tropical and subtropical America, Epidendrum radicans is often seen on roadsides or in grassland, clambering over vegetation. Its spectacular bright orange and yellow flowers are appreciated by some orchid enthusiasts. However, the plant is too vigorous for most collections and would soon take up too large a space.

The flowers of E. radicans are superficially similar to those of two common plants (Asclepias curassavicia and Lantana camara) that often grow alongside it. This led some to believe that E. radicans, which does not produce nectar, had evolved as a mimic of the others, which do. However, research by Bierzychudek in 1981 did not support this hypothesis.


Epidendrum pratense Rchb.f., Epidendrum rhizophorum Bateman ex. Lindl.


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