28 April, 2011

A-Z Blogging Challenge: X Stands For: Xeilyathum

Xeilyathum is another word for Oncidium, which is a genus containing 330 species of orchids. Some of its common names include Dancing Ladies, Dancing Dolls, and Butterfly Orchids. Oncidium are from the subtribe Oncidiinae, orchid family Orchidaceae. The name comes from the Greek "oncos" which means swelling or growth, in reference to the lumps on the lips of the flowers. Oncidium is also called Baptistonia, Braasiella, Cohnia, Cohniella, Cyrtochilum, Gynozodon, Lophiaris, Miltonioides, and Xaritonia.

Oncidium species are spread across Northern Mexico, parts of south Florida, South America, and the Caribbean. They can live in all kinds of conditions; one started to bloom in a ship's cabin en route from South America, and one species is found at 6,000-7,000 meters elevation. They first arrived in England in 1760, and one person was said to have commented "these plants are more difficult to kill than to keep alive!"

Many species in the genus Oncidium are ephiphytes--meaning that they grow on other plants, although they don't harm the host. Some are also lithophytes--plants that grow in and on rocks. Oncidium orchids are pollinated by a certain kind of bee, which is aggressive by nature, and the flower has evolved so that it triggers something in the insect to cause it to attack. When it does, its head gets covered in pollinia, a mass of pollen grains. The bee then, of course, attacks another flower and its pollen-covered head presses against the stigma of the flower.




Have you ever kept orchids?

-----The Golden Eagle
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Charles Gramlich said...

Orchids are so lovely. This is kind of a cool name too. I didn't know it.

Stacy Henrie said...

My DH gave me a beautiful pink orchid plant a couple of years ago. It bloomed every fall/winter, but this year it hasn't grown at all. We repotted it, but I'm not sure it's gonna make it. :( We'll have to get another because they really are so lovely.

Old Kitty said...

Beautiful and clever! I love these gorgeous plants!!! Oh but what a name! Xeilyathum! Take care

Claire Goverts said...

Nice use of X (tricky letter that it is). I have yet to have orchids, though maybe I should try growing some sometime.

M.J. Fifield said...

I love orchids. They're gorgeous. Nice post for the letter X!

Carole Anne Carr said...

Useless at keeping orchids, but they are so amazing. The English climate does nothing for them, but remember, whilst in Africa, being taken into a garden at night to see beautiful orchids.

L.G.Smith said...

It's so dry where I live that it's almost impossible to keep orchids, but there are a few species that grow naturally here in the mountains. Beautiful.

Great X post.

Summer Ross said...

I think these are very pretty, I have a black thumb when it comes to plants- seriously ask anyone. Even my manly man says when he gets his green house done I'm not allowed to step one foot inside for fear of his flowers. LOL I usually feel really bad about it when it comes to my kids because every year for mothers day their elementary teacher has them plant a flower and start the growing for me, then when they bring it home I can't keep it alive to save myself.

Jessica Bell said...

ARe these the flowers that sing in Disney's Animated Alice in Wonderland? I think they are .... :o)

Angie said...

So pretty! I love orchids, but I've never kept them. How funny that the bee attacks the flower to pollinate it.

Lauracea said...

I've seen those orchids but never knew the name of them. Probably never remember it either LOL (I'd like one of those orchids, you know, the ones that begin with X)
Good way to use X - I had to cheat on my blog :(

Holly Ruggiero said...

Orchids are freaky yet beautiful flowers.

Ray said...

Thanks for that post. How informative! I have been studying genera in science and this helped put it all together.

Susan Kane said...

Truly lovely post! I read an article not too long ago in the National Geographic, and am amazed by the tricks orchids have developed.

Jai Joshi said...

Orchids are beautiful but I've never grown them myself. Don't have the patience for it although I wish I did. They're gorgeous.


Michael Di Gesu said...

Yes, I have. I had several species growing in my garden in south Florida.

And now I have an orchid blooming in my Chicago condo.

Donna Weaver said...

What a gorgeous flower type!

Cally Jackson said...

Orchids are exquisite flowers. In the Botanic Gardens in Singapore, there is an orchid garden with hundreds of species of orchids. Absolutely beautiful! :-)

Lucy Adams said...

No. I don't keep orchids. I'm the only person on the planet who can't keep a dandelion alive.


laughingwolf said...


this is the kind of parasite i can put up with, unlike the book i posted about ;)

never grew any... expensive enough to give ladies as corsages!

Josh Hoyt said...

Wonderful pictures I love them.

Emily Rose said...

wow, what beautiful flowers! I think it's so interesting that they grow off of other plants.

Alleged Author said...

The orchids DO look like they're dancing. Looks like Walt should have used some of this specimen in "Fantasia."

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Grow on other plants? Now that is odd!

Tiger85 said...

My mom used to have a few in her garden when I was little. I use to use it as chalk. I have an award for you. It will be on my blog tomorrow. =)

Poetry, Quotes and Book Reviews.

L'Aussie said...

I've killed more orchids than you've had hot dinners as they say. Very tricky. Beautiful post. Great perspective on X.


Trisha said...

Beautiful pictures!

Rusty Webb said...

Very pretty. I'm ashamed to say that I made a 'D' in my botany class years ago.

I seem to classify all flora by how edible it is or how pretty it is. That's about all I'm good for.

I do marvel and the wonders of nature, evolution shows us many bizarre means of spreading genes. Sometimes I feel like flowers are picking on those poor little insects that come to look for a little nectar.

Anonymous said...

They are so beautiful. Yes I have an orchid. My neighbour couldn't get it to flower so she gave it to me. It has flowered every year since. :)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Beautiful flowers! Nice way to use the letter X! :D I would have been stumped! LOL

Lynda R Young said...

my mum gave me some orchids and they all died. Gorgeous flowers though.

India Drummond said...

I had a wonderful orchid plant, but it grew and grew and grew... it tried to take over the kitchen. I ended up neglecting it because I resented how huge it got!

I'm sure this says something about me. LOL

The Golden Eagle said...

Charles: I didn't either--I actually got the word from randomly typing up different combinations of letters after "X". :P

Stacy: I hope your orchid makes it this year!

Old Kitty: I love orchids as well. :)

Yeah . . . not I haven't tried pronouncing "Xeilyathum"!

Claire: Thank you. :)

Well, you could always try this kind! They're supposed to grow in all kinds of conditions/altitudes.

M.J.: I agree--they are beautiful flowers!

Thank you!

Carole: That must have been nice, to see orchids at night. :)

L.G.: I usually think of orchids as being tropical/summery plants, but they do grow all over the world, don't they?


Summer: Maybe this year will be different for the flower. :)

Jessica: Could be! I never liked the animated Alice In Wonderland so I didn't pay much attention. (Although I loved the recent one with Mia Wasikowska/Johnny Depp.)

Angie: It's a surprising pollination strategy . . . LOL.

Lauracea: I don't remember the names of plants very well--whenever I see once I recognize I'll be like "Oh, that's . . . that's . . . you know, the one growing in front [insert location]!"

I like the way you cheated. It was a great "X" post!

The Golden Eagle said...

Holly: They are a little strange-looking, with all the colors and shapes.

Ray: You're very welcome! :)

Susan: Thank you!

They do have some amazing strategies of survival.

Jai: I don't know much about keeping orchids, but since indoors is so different from many of their native environments, I imagine it would be tedious . . .

They are. :)

Michael: So cool!

It must be nice having an orchid growing inside.

Donna: It is!

Cally: I hadn't heard that before, but it sounds like a beautiful place! Must have been going there. :)

(I'm assuming you did, since you mentioned it.)

Lucy: I'm sure there are plants you could keep alive--some survive better than others under different care, I would think.

Laughingwolf: They're beautiful flowers--especially for a parasite.

Glad I don't have to worry about that . . . LOL.

Josh: I'm glad you enjoyed the pics!

Emily: It is intriguing the way they do that, isn't it? And they don't even take nutrients from their host.

Alleged: As Jessica mentioned, they might be the flowers in Alice In Wonderland--so perhaps good ol' Walt did use them at one point. :D

Alex: Not many plants do it.

Tiger85: LOL. That sounds like me; I used to use plants and their juice to write and play around with. :P

Thank you so much for awarding me! I'll hop on over to check it out; I'll be sure to post about it once the Challenge is over!

L'Aussie: They must be fickle plants.

Thank you! :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Trisha: Glad you liked the pics!

Rusty: Well, it seems like that's how most people judge plants. They grow things because they like the look or how they taste.

I do feel sorry for the victims of plants--bugs crawl inside them just trying to get food and they're exploited, or even eaten.

Niki: Nice! I'll be it's pretty to see. :)

Chantele: Thanks! :D

I was stumped for a bit--until I came across Xeilyathum typing up random combinations of words into Wikipedia Search.

Lynda: That's too bad!

India: It grew that big? Wow. I can see why you'd neglect it. :P