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in this site copyright © Francisco Miranda unless otherwise mentioned. No reproduction in whole or part without
Cyrtopodium andersonii is the better known species of the genus, and certainly
the one with the broader distribution range. It seems that anywhere you have mountains with large portions of exposed
and not very steep ledges the species is to be found. Just to give an idea, the species is found inside Rio de
Janeiro City just a few dozen ft. above se level. Then, it is found on the Organ Mountains, again on exposed ledges,
but this time to about 3000 ft. elevation (and everywhere in between from sea level). Then, it is found in the
State of Rondonia (Amazon Region), growing on similar types of ledges, but here the climate is much hotter and
dryer. We can find the species in Central Brazil, in Minas Gerais and Goiás, and also the species is found
on the northern and southern mountain regions that limit the Amazon Basin to the north and south in Amapá,
Pará and Roraima States (and on the northern range, spreading to the Guyanas). Finally, the species is found
in the northeastern region. So, whenever there is granite rock (and this seems to be the key) or any other type
of crystalline formation, the species is bound to be found, and in large numbers. Cyrtopodium andersonii
also produces the heaviest pseudo bulbs in the genus. These are fusiform can frequently more than 2' tall and sometimes
more than 4" across. They loose their leaves every year and the remaining spines are extremely dangerous if
one is not careful - the resulting punctures are very painful. The branching inflorescences can be more than 5'
tall and produce dozens of yellow flowers that are about 1 1/2" across. These are sometimes irregularly spotted
with red, especially around the lip callus, and also sometimes have a brownish cast on the outside of sepals. The
plants themselves can produce large clumps up to several feet across. In Brazil, the species is usually grown outdoors
in gardens, as its size make it quite ill-suited for pots. .As
with most Cyrtopodium species, plants of C. andersonii
produce flowers just after the rainy season starts, by the end of Winter and start of Spring. Inflorescences are produced at the same time as the new growths start,
and as they develop so much faster, when the flowers start to open the new growths are usually about 1' or less
Distribution Map for Cyrtopodium andersonii.
This map only shows the confirmed distribution in Brazil, but fact is that probably the species has a much wider
distribution, in Brazil or in surrounding countries.
||On 1, we have
a view of a small clump of Cyrtopodium
andersonii growing on a rock ledge
near the sea, in Rio de Janeiro City. The ledge is not very steep, about some 10-12 degrees, and this allows for
quite a bit of soil to accumulate. These are the ideal conditions for a well developed growth of Cyrtopodium plants.
On 2, we see a close-up of an inflorescence of Cyrtopodium andersonii,
still in the habitat. The flowers show the typical shape and color for the species, although quite frequently the
yellow is much more intense.