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Belonging to the Miltassia genus, Miltassia has a botanical name of Miltassia.

This beautiful orchid is a bigeneric hybrid between two South American orchids, Brassia ‘Edvah Loo’ and Miltonia ‘Olmec’. Both are in the Oncidium alliance of the large orchid family. Many orchids are sexually compatible, a characteristic that would often result in plants being lumped together in one genus in other plants. But, because orchids often coevolved with a specific pollinator, the flowers of these sexually compatible plants may be strikingly different in appearance.

This Miltassia is a clumping epiphyte with smooth, thin, foot-long medium green leaves arising from smooth pseudobulbs. In a 6-inch pot plants can grow a foot wide and 16 inches high.

Blooms appear in warm weather, for me usually in June and July. The spikes usually contain six buds that open to 4-inch diameter spidery flowers. The light maroon-tinged, flattened lip is to 1.5-inch long with conspicuous dark maroon spots. Below it are five slender and tapered maroon tepals marked with bands of yellow. Individual flowers remain open for several weeks and, just before they wither away, they do turn reddish.

This orchid hybrid speaks of spiders. The Brassia side of the hybrid has spidery flowers with long, slender 6-inch long tepals that, in nature are pollinated by a wasp called the tarantula hawk. In a splendid example of co-evolutionary mimicry, this 2-inch long, orange-winged wasp sees the orchid flowers as spiders and, in the process of setting up to sting the flower, pushes its head into position to receive a dab of pollen. As the wasp visits other flowers cross-pollination is assured.

But the spidery allusion doesn’t end there. The Shelob hybrids are named for the giant and evil spider that J.R.R. Tolkien brings to life high in the mountains on the border of Mordor in his “Lord of the Rings” volumes. A cultivar sold as ‘Tolkien,’ and certainly a sibling of ‘Red Spider,’ was hybridized in 1998 and received awards from the American Orchid Society in 2004.

Miltassia grows as an annual/perennial and is an orchid. Being an annual / perennial plant, it tends to grow either as a single season plant, or a plant that can stay in your garden for many years.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Miltassia have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Miltassia

The Shelob hybrids are vigorous and easy to grow by orchid standards. They are ephyphytic so must be grown in a coarse orchid bark mix. Because the pseudobulbs don’t hold much moisture and the roots are fairly slender, the growing media should not be allowed to dry out between waterings. In the summertime, watering once every five to seven days seems adequate.

Fertilize with a liquid solution twice a month during the spring and summer when plants are making active growth. They should have bright light but not direct sun. Too much sunlight, even in the winter, can burn the thin, sword-shaped leaves.

Over winter plants can be kept in a cool greenhouse with nighttime temperatures between 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Or, if kept in the home, give them a bright windowsill location but protect the foliage from sunburn by means of a light curtain liner. Like most orchids, this species can go several years without division. But, when the pot becomes overly crowded with pseudobulbs, divide in the spring just before new growth starts.

See our list of companion Plants for Miltassia to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Miltassia from seed

Transplanting Miltassia

How long does Miltassia take to grow?

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Other names for Miltassia


x Miltassia shelob, Mtssa.

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