Oncidium orchid grown by the photographer, 17 inches tall, with one multibranched flower spike supporting 23 individual blossoms.
Oncidium is a genus that contains over 330 species of orchids. It is an extraordinarily large and diverse group from varied habitats. Most species in the Oncidium genus are epiphytes (grow on other plants), although some are lithophytes (grow on rocks) or terrestrials (grow in the ground). They are widespread from northern Mexico, the Caribbean, and some parts of South Florida to South America, usually occurring in seasonally dry areas. This genus was first described by Olof Swartz in 1800, a Swedish botanist and taxonomist and the first specialist of orchid taxonomy. The name is derived from the Greek word "onkos", meaning "swelling" due to the callus at the flower's lower lip.