Pronunciation:   kloh-WES-e-ah 

Tribe: Cymbidieae

Subtribe: Catasetinae


The genus Clowesia was published by John Lindley based on Clowesia rosea in 1848. Reichenbach transferred the species to Catasetum in 1872 and so it remained until 1975. At that time C. H. Dodson published his revision in which he removed from Catasetum, eight species that bore bisexual or perfect flowers. He resurrected the genus Clowesia with Clowesia rosea as its type from the original description and transferred 4 other species from Catasetum to Clowesia. The remaining three species from Catasetum with perfect or bisexual flowers were placed in the newly established genus Dressleria. Clowesia are found at altitudes ranging from 200 to 1500 meters. It is an epiphytic genus of sympodial orchids that are found in warm, moist open canopy tropical trees, except Clowesia glaucoglossa found in one particular species of palm in one small area of southwest Mexico. Pseudobulbs are somewhat fusiform to conical in shape with thin veined leaves during the growth season. Like Catasetum and Cycnoches, the bulbs grow to maturity in 6 to 7 months and lose their leaves in a rest period. Some of the species bloom on new maturing growths, while others such as Clowesia rosea bloom from completely leafless pseudobulbs. The inflorescences emerge from the base of the pseudobulbs and are sharply pendent unlike the more arching, pendant inflorescences of Catasetum. There are two particularly beautiful and fragrant hybrids, Clowesia (Catasetum) Grace Dunn and Clowesia (Catasetum) Rebecca Northen. Because the International Orchid Registration Authority and the RHS do not recognize the genus Clowesia as valid, all Clowesia species and hybrids are still listed as Catasetum. The American Orchid Society judging system accepts Clowesia as a valid genus for species, so awards are now listed as Clowesia although the older awards are still listed under Catasetum. Because of the rules of registration, the A.O.S still lists the many Clowesia hybrids under Catasetum or the intergeneric hybrids using Catasetum. For example a hybrid of Clowesia and Cycnoches would be registered as Catanoches.


Number of species:

The World Monocot Checklist contains 8 accepted names (9/2007).



Mexico, 5 species; one species, Clowesia warscewiczii, from Central America to Ecuador and Venezuela, one species Clowesia amazonica from the Brazilian Amazon and Ecuador


Basic Culture    (Individual orchids might require more or less of any of these conditions, refer to the specific orchid for more details)



Warm, although while resting can take quite cool temperatures almost to freezing.


Bright open shade with good air movement


During the growth period, maintain even moisture, high humidity and good air movement. After the bulbs mature, moisture can be reduced or stopped completely. While at rest, if the bulbs appear to be shriveling, you can lightly spray them. When the new growth appears and roots have formed, you may repot and begin to water and fertilize again. Like Catasetum and Cycnoches, the worst enemy of Clowesia are spider mites that come with hot, dry conditions with poor air circulation while the plants are in growth.


Use balanced or high nitrogen fertilizer while the plants are in growth. My remarks about fertilizing Cycnoches can be applied to Clowesia also.


Sphagnum in clay pots; medium-fine bark in clay or plastic pots; mounted in baskets or on tree fern, cork or driftwood with sphagnum at the roots. Hanging the pots or mounts is best because of the good air circulation this provides




Hybrid orchids are preferred over species for beginners to orchid culture.  Species orchids are less tolerant of unfavorable conditions and unintentional neglect.  Hybrid orchids are more forgiving and take advantage of traits from two or more species or other combinations of parents.  These traits also include diverse growing conditions as well as spectacular blooms.


Additional Information



Below are details on individual orchids.  This listing does not include all 8 recognized Clowesia species (The World Monocot Checklist).  Orchids below are parents of hybrids that  I am familiar with or awarded  orchids from the Napa Valley Orchid Society Annual Show or the monthly Show and Tell winners.


Navigation Tip:  Click on the name of an orchid (Bold Text) that you wish to explore further.

Enjoy browsing the Orchids

Clowesia / Culture


General information on the growing of Mormodes can be found here. Information specific to species and hybrid Momodes can be found following the appropriate links for a species or hybrid Mormodes. Culture sheets are meant as a guide. The ultimate source for the proper care of any orchid is frequent observation of the actual orchid and the correct interpretation of what it is telling you.

Clowesia / Species


In the orchid world, "species" are those orchids that occur naturally in nature. Depending who you ask, the blooms of a species is better, the same or not as dramatic as the bloom of a hybdrid orchid. Most species orchids are less forgiving in a growing area they are not accustomed to and the result will be disappointing (specially for the orchid). Understanding the cultivation needs of species orchids will serve as a guide for the care of a hybrid that includes particular species in its background.

Clowesia / Hybrids


Hybrid orchids are the result of an experienced grower controlling the breeding of two orchids that result in a hybrid orchid with traits from both parent orchids. These traits can include determining the overall size of the new orchid, appearance of the bloom, and growing conditions. Hybrid orchids are generally easier to care for. Hybrid orchids might also include more dramatic and longer lasting blooms.