(pronounced: sik-NOH-keez)


Cymbidieae subtribe Catasetinae. The genus is divided into two sections, sect. Cycnoches [syn.: Eucycnoches] and sect. Heteranthae. In section Cycnoches, the pistillate (“female”) and staminate (“male”) flowers are similar. In section Heteranthae, literal

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Caespitose epiphytes with coarse, fleshy roots. Pseudobulbs spindle-shaped, succulent. Leaves several, two-ranked, thin-textured, arching, deciduous. Inflorescences axillary, short-pedunculate racemes from near the pseudobulb apex, the floral bracts inconspicuous. Flowers monoecious, fleshy, not resupinate, the pistillate (female) flowers usually simpler than the staminate (male) flowers; the pistillate flowers usually on short inflorescences and have simple unlobed lips; the staminate flowers often on long, pendent inflorescences and often have complexly lobed and ornamented lips. Sepals and petals free, spreading. Lip simple or complexly divided into multiple lobes and horns. Column with a long foot, sexually dimorphic, the pistillate flowers with short straight columns, the staminate flowers with elongate slender arching column; pollinia 2, notched, on a common elongate, linear stipe and transverse viscidium.


From the Greek kyknos, meaning swan, and auchen, meaning neck, referring to the slender arching columns of the staminate (male) flowers.


A genus of 25 species ranging from Mexico to Bolivia. Common name: Swan Orchid.

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Allen, P. H. 1952. The swan orchids, a revision of the genus Cycnoches. Orchid J. 1:173-184.

Batchelor, S. R. 1983. Catasetum and Cycnoches, part 1. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 52(6):605-611.

Batchelor, S. R. 1983. Catasetum and Cycnoches, part 2. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 52(7):713-721.

Batchelor, S. R. 1983. Catasetum and Cycnoches, part 3. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 52(8):829-835.

Batchelor, S. R. 1983. Catasetum and Cycnoches, part 4. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 52(9):917-914.

Batchelor, S. R. 1983. Catasetum and Cycnoches, part 5. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 52(10):1051-1055.

Batchelor, S. R. 1983. Catasetum and Cycnoches, part 6. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 52(11):1163-1169.

Batchelor, S. R. 1983. Catasetum and Cycnoches, part 7. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 52(12):1295-1304.

Carr, G. F., Jr. 1995. Cycnoches, one hundred sixty-five years of confusion. Privately published by the author.

Carr, G. F., Jr. 2000. The Cycnoches ventricosum complex. Orchid Digest 64(1):29-38.

Carr, G. F., Jr. and E. A. Christenson 1999. A Colombian Jewel. Orchids 68(6):598-601.

Cavestro, W. 1977. The culture of Catasetum, Mormodes and Cycnoches. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 46(7):637-641.

Christenson, E. A. 1999. Cycnoches carrii, a new species from Peru. Orchid Digest 63(4):173-175.

Gregg, K. B. 1975. The effect of light intensity on sex expression in species of Cycnoches and Catasetum (Orchidaceae). Selbyana 1:101-113.

Gregg, K. B. 1976. The interaction of light intensity, plant size and nutrition in sex expression in Cycnoches (Orchidaceae). Selbyana 2:212-223.

Gregg, K. B. 1982. Sunlight-enhanced ethylene evolution by developing inflorescences of Catasetum and Cycnoches and its relation to female flower production. Bot. Gaz. 143(4):466-475.

Gregg, K. B. 1983. Variation in floral fragrances and morphology: incipient speciation in Cycnoches? Bot. Gaz. 144(4):566-576.

Jenny, R. 1995. Cycnoches herrenhusanum Jenny & Romero 1991. Die Orchidee 46(6): Orchideenkartei Seite 817-818.

Jenny, R. 1997. Cycnoches herrenhusanum. Orchids 66(7):706-715.

Jenny, R. and G. Romero 1991. Cycnoches herrenhusanum, ein neufund aus Kolumbien. Die Orchidee 42(2):68-72.

Rolfe, R. A. 1909. A revision of the genus Cycnoches. Orchid Review 17:269-272.