The Masdevallia is an orchid that has unusual shaped flowers. This orchid is a nice challenge for the hobbyist, as it is a bit more sensitive with watering. Its care is not very complicated, but it does need extra attention.
The name Masdevallia was dedicated in 1794 by botanists Hipólito Ruiz and José Antonio Pavón to Jose Masdeval, a physician and botanist at the court of Charles III of Spain.
Masdevallia is a genus with about 590 species found from Mexico to southern Brazil, but mainly in the higher elevations (2500 - 4000m) of the Andes of Ecuador and Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.
They are epiphytes, terrestrial plants or lithophytes that grow on moist rocks. These plants have creeping rhizomes, to which stems come without pseudobulbs. These stems each bear one oval to lanceolate leaf. The flowers are triangular and grow singly on one stem, or on a cluster. They have a waxy calyx and a reduced corolla. The sepals are connected at the base and often have long spurs. The petals face the gynostemium, to which a tongue-like lip hangs flexibly.
Because this orchid does not have bulbs or thick leaves to store water, extra care must be taken with watering. The plant should not stay dry for too long, but continuous wet feet or too long in a wet substrate does not make this particular orchid happy either. But when you get the hang of watering, this is a very fine and unique orchid to have.