(pronounced: kat-ah-SEE-tum)


Cymbidieae subtribe Catasetinae

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Caespitose monoecious epiphytes, lithophytes or terrestrials. Pseudobulbs spindle-shaped, fibrous, rooting at the base. Leaves several, plicate, distichous, deciduous. Inflorescences erect to pendent basal pedunculate racemes, the floral bracts inconspicuous. Flowers unisexual (usually non-functional when hermaphroditic), dimorphic; the pistillate (“female”) flowers similar throughout the genus, not resupinate, green, with a rigid helmet-like lip; staminate (“male”) flowers highly variable, resupinate or not resupinate, the lip helmet-like to flat, variously lobed and ornamented. Sepals and petals free, spreading, the petals often erect and subparallel with the dorsal sepal. Lip unlobed or three-lobed, saccate, globose to flat, sessile. Column erect, without wings or foot, with a pair of antennae-like triggers, the anther with a terminal beak; pollinia 2, on a common linear stipe and a large viscidium with copious glue.


From the Greek kata, meaning down, and the Latin seta, meaning bristle, referring to the pair of trigger antennae in the staminate flowers.


A genus of about 100 species distributed throughout the Neotropics from Mexico to Bolivia. The genera Clowesia and Dressleria were previously included in a more broadly defined Catasetum. Catasetum is divided into two subgenera, subg. Catasetum and subg.

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Bedell, B. J. 1927. The floral mechanism of Catasetum macrocarpum Rich. (C. tridentatum Hook.). J. Bot. London 65:304-314.

Bennett, D. E., Jr., E. A. Christenson and B. Collantes M. 1999. An emerald Catasetum. Orchids 68(5):476-479.

Bicalho, H. D. and F. de Barros 1988. On the taxonomy of Catasetum subsect. Isoceras. Lindleyana 3(2):87-92.

Braga, P. I. S. 1994. Orquídeas da Amazônia Brasiliera, III. Bradea 6(35):293-296.

Couret, P. 1977. Study on the morphology and pigmentation of Catasetum pileatum Rchb.f. and its natural hybrids. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 46:200--208.

Darwin, C. 1862. On the three remarkable sexual forms of Catasetum tridentatum, an orchid in the possession of the Linnean Society. J. Proc. Linn. Soc. Bot. 6:151-157.

Diaz, N. A. 1986. El primer reporte de Catasetum L. C. Rich. (Orchidaceae) para las Antillas: Catasetum cf. integerrimum Hook. Rev. Jardin Bot. Nac. La Habana 6(2):12-19.

Dunsterville, G. C. K. 1980. Some Venezuelan Catasetum species. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 49:5-12.

Hills, H. G., N. H. Williams and C. H. Dodson 1972. Floral fragrances and isolating mechanisms in the genus Catasetum (Orchidaceae). Biotropica 4:61-76.

Janzen, D. H. 1981. Bee arrival at two Costa Rican female Catasetum orchid inflorescences, and a hypothesis on euglossine population structure. Oikos 36: 177-183.

Jenny, R. 1991. Catasetum tabulare Lindl. 1844. Die Orchidee 42(2): Orchideenkartei seite 637-638.

Jenny, R. 1991. Catasetum sanguineum Lindl. & Paxton 1854. Die Orchidee 42(2): Orchideenkartei Seite 639-640.

Lacerda, K. G. de, Jr. 1998. Catasetum galeatum Lacerda sp. nov. Bradea 8(16):85-88.

Lacerda, K. G. de, Jr. 1998. Estudos em Catasetinae (Orchidaceae), Complexo cristatum Lindl., 1. Bradea 8(16):88-96.

Lacerda, K. G. de, Jr. 2000. Catasetum lanciferum Lindl., eine bekannte Art mit verschollenem Namen. Die Orchidee 51(5):[069]-[073].

Lacerda, K. G. de, Jr. and V. P. Castro N. 1995. Catasetum osculatum Lacerda & P. Castro sp. nov. Bradea 6(44):381-388.

Lacerda, K. G. de, Jr. and J. B. Fernandez da Silva 1998. Catasetum maranhense Lacerda & da Silva sp. nov. Bradea 8(13):69-71.

Mansfeld, R. 1932. Die Gattung Catasetum L. C. Rich. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 30:257-275.

Mansfeld, R. 1933. Die Gattung Catasetum L. C. Rich. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 31:99-125.

Miranda, F. E. and K. G. de Lacerda, Jr. 1992. Estudos em Catasetinae (Orchidaceae), 1. Bradea 6(7):45-60.

Miranda, F. E. and K. G. de Lacerda, Jr. 1992. Estudos em Catasetinae (Orchidaceae), 2. Bradea 6(14):122-132.

Romero, G. A. and G. Carnevali 1989. A new combination for the orchid flora of southern Venezuela: Catasetum ? tapiriceps Reichb. f. (pro sp.). Lindleyana 4:127-134.

Romero, G. A.and G. Carnevali 1991. Catasetum natural hybrids from southern Venezuela, 2. Catasetum xdunstervillei G. Romero & Carnevali. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 60:115-120.

Romero, G. A. and G. Carnevali 1991. Catasetum natural hybrids from southern Venezuela, 3. Catasetum ? roseo-album (Hook.) Lindley and C. x wendlingeri Foldats. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 60(8):770-774.

Romero, G. A. and R. Jenny 1995. Contributions towards a monograph of Catasetum (Catasetinae, Orchidaceae) I: a checklist of species, varieties, and natural hybrids. Harvard Pap. Bot. 4:59-84.

Senghas, K. 1990. Einige neue Arten aus der Subtribus Catasetinae I. Catasetum sektion Anisoceras. Die Orchidee 41(6):212-218.

Senghas, K. 1991. Einige neue Arten aus der Subtribus Catasetinae II. Catasetum sektion Isoceras (Teil 1). Die Orchidee 42(1):19-24.

Senghas, K. 1991. Einige neue Arten aus der Subtribus Catasetinae II. Catasetum sektion Isoceras (Teil 2). Die Orchidee 42(2):60-64.

Silva, M. F. F. da and A. T. de Oliveira 1998. Catasetum cucullatum, uma nova espécie de Orchidaceae para o estado do Amazonas, Brasil. Bol. Mus. Para. Emilio Goeldi, sér. Bot. 14(1):63-67.

Teuscher, H. 1957. Catasetum platyglossum Schlechter. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 26:630-633.

Vásquez Ch., R. and C. H. Dodson 1997. Doe nuevas especies de Catasetum (Orchidaceae) del Parque Nacional Noel Kempff M. (Santa Cruz, Bolivia). Rev. Soc. Boliviana Bot. 1(2):1-8.

Zimmerman, J. K. 1990. Role of pseudobulbs in growth and flowering of Catasetum viridiflavum (Orchidaceae). Amer. J. Bot. 77:533-542.

Zimmerman, J. K. 1991. Ecological correlates of labile sex expression in the orchid Catasetum viridiflavum. Ecology 72(2):597-608.

Zimmerman, J. K. and J. R. Ehleringer 1990. Carbon isotope ratios are correlated with irradiance levels in the Panamanian orchid Catasetum viridiflavum. Oecologia 83:247-249.