Rhynchostylis retusa plant

Source: Vtbijoy

Rhynchostylis retusa plant

Rhynchostylis retusa or foxtail orchid has drooping inflorescences with countless white and pink flowers.

It is the official flower of the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in India and Uva province in Sri Lanka.

The species is threatened in its habitat due to excessive harvest.

It belongs to the family of Orchidaceae, subfamily Epidendroideae, tribe Vandeae, sub-tribe Aeridinae, genus Rhynchostylis.


Rhynchostylis retusa is an epiphytic orchid.

The stems are conical, 10-15 cm long, sheathed at the base. The leaves are dark green, sessile, oblong, with curved spines at the end, 15-30 cm long and 3-4 cm wide, pendulous and leathery.

The inflorescence is lateral, pending, up to 60 cm long and filled with many flowers. The flowers are 2-2.5 cm in diameter, white to pale pink with dark pink spots. The bracts are obovate, pointed upwards, toothed along the margins, 3-4 mm long, membranous. The sepals are oval, about 1 x 0.7 cm. The petals are oblong, blunt, approximately 1 x 0.4 cm; the lip is erect, elongated, slightly wider at the top, about 1.2 cm long, pink, white after, laced with a notch at the end. The spurs are approximately 7 mm long, have a rounded top and are compressed laterally. The column is 3-4 mm long, white. The pollinia are spherical. The ovary is 1-1.5 cm long, pinkish.

The flowers emit a spicy perfume.

Flowering occurs from April to May. In culture, flowering occurs in winter.


Common name:

Foxtail orchid


Aerides retusa, Epidendrum retusum, Gastrochilus retusus, Limodorum retusum, Saccolabium retusum, Rhynchostylis retusa f. albiflora


Rhynchostylis: from the Greek rhynchos (beak) and stylos (column)
Retusa: from the Latin retusus (blunt)


Chinese Himalayas, Assam, Bangladesh, Eastern Himalayas, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Western Himalayas, Andaman Islands, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia , Borneo, Java, Sumatra and the Philippines


Dry lowland forests and woodlands, at 0-1,200 m altitude



Diurnal temperature: 30-35°C
Nocturnal temperature: 20-25 °C

Withstands temperatures between 16-21 °C


Light, no direct sunlight


Regular watering in summer but no standing water. In winter, a little less water. The roots must be able to dry between waterings.




Airy substrate (coconut bark) or without substrate directly in hanging basket


Hanging basket because of its drooping growth and inflorescence


The roots are quite sensitive and don’t like repotting. But as they need to be very well aired, it is necessary to repot whenever the roots have grown so much that aeration is compromised.

Rhynchostylis retusa inflorescence


1/4 to 1/2 of the recommended dilution. Weekly during growing period.
Some growers use a balanced fertilizer throughout the year, others use a fertilizer high in N content during growing season and high P content in the fall.



Keiki are small plants that occur on the nodes of the flower stem. When the keiki is sufficiently developed and has sufficient roots, it can be separated from the mother plant and repotted separately.


Divide and repot the plant separately.