Diodonopsis pygmaea… or is it?

This plant originally comes from Ecuagenera who sell it under the name Diodonopsis pygmaea. However, I am not convinced that this is correct. Although my plant and flower matches the picture on Ecuageneras website, other photos of this species show a rather different looking plant and flower. For one, there is nothing pygmy about this pygmaea… The plant is much larger that I had expected with leaves measuring about 8-10 cm and with a much broader flower measuring about 1.5 cm. My best guess is that this is more likely to be Dryadella albicans. 

Dryadella albicans can be found from Costa Rica down to Ecuador from 400 to 2400 meters. While Diodonopsis pygmaea can be found in Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador from 700 to 1600 meters. Dryadella is a Masdevallia breakaway genus with 40 or more species and Diodonopsis is yet another small (only 3 species) genus formerly included in Masdevallia. But at the end of the day pygmaea may or may not even be included here, final DNA analysis will tell. Regardless what it is, it is a pretty temperature tolerant and easy going species that I grow intermediate to cool, wet and very humid. In the greenhouse during the warmer season and in the cool vivarium during winter. I actualy missed the real photo opportunity here, it showed off quite a display of flowers this summer, this is a solitary straggler in round two. Lovely none the less, I’m not complaining!

Dryadella albicans (Luer) Luer 1978.
Diodonopsis pygmaea (Kraenzl.) Pridgeon & M.W. Chase, Lindleyana 16: 253 (2001).

By | 2015-09-17T12:48:31+02:00 September 17th, 2015|Categories: My orchids|Tags: , , |16 Comments

About the Author:

Karma is a digital nomad graphic artist and writer, orchid nerd and long-distance hiker from Gothenburg, Sweden. Former editor-in-chief for the Swedish Orchid Society magazine, published internationally and held lectures on orchid culture.


  1. Worth September 18, 2015 at 02:19 - Reply

    Whatever the identity it is a beautiful plant and amazing flower – almost translucent it seems from the picture! This looks like a very happy orchid 🙂

    • Karma September 18, 2015 at 18:39 - Reply

      Thank you very much! Yes, nearly transkucent, I love that too. 🙂

  2. André September 18, 2015 at 18:25 - Reply

    It’s a beautiful species, wether it is dryadella or diodonopsis. Must be a beautiful sight when it is in full bloom. ( On internet-pictures you see also a colored lip for diodonopsis)

    • Karma September 18, 2015 at 18:44 - Reply

      Thanks André! I’m convinced it is a Dryadella of some kind, hard to nail down the species of course, but pretty sure it is albicans… or possibly barrowii…. no probably albicans… 😉

  3. Kelly September 19, 2015 at 21:57 - Reply

    So beautiful!! I’m growing Dryadella edwallii, but it hasn’t bloomed recently. Maybe I should move it around a bit in the terrarium…

    • Karma September 24, 2015 at 08:40 - Reply

      Thanks Kelly! Yes try a differant spot. You never know what will trigger a bloom. 🙂

  4. Daniel September 25, 2015 at 20:33 - Reply

    Hi Karma, first of all I like your blog, specially your very detailed description of your greenhouse and vivarium projects:) I recently moved to Dals-Ed north of Göteborg and I was wondering if there is anything orchid related at all (stores/greenhouses/national parks) around the west coast? Sorry for the unrelated comment, I looked for an email on the site but couldn’t find any.


    • Karma September 26, 2015 at 17:00 - Reply

      Hej Daniel! Thanks, nice to hear you like the blog. 🙂 As far as orchid related stuff on the west coast, Botaniska Trädgården in Gothenburg has the largest orchid collection on display in Sweden, 3 greenhouses/temperature zones. A nice place to visit. As for buying orchids it depends on what you are looking for, but you are usually better off with international growers. The only Swedish stores I know of do mailorder, Orchidéhuset in Stockholm (think most plants come from German growers) and Åkessons Orkidéer in Gothenburg (she imports from France).

      • Daniel September 27, 2015 at 13:49 - Reply

        Thank you, I’ll check it out 🙂
        Are there any international growers you can recommend? I prefer warm/intermediate species and I like slippers, but a quality store/grower is always worth taking a look at, even if they only sell cold species 🙂

        • Daniel September 27, 2015 at 14:03 - Reply

          Perhaps you know of a place that sells Cypripedium or any of the cold-hardy orchids. I’ve always liked them, and now that I have a balcony I can actually grow them! 🙂

  5. Mor September 30, 2015 at 20:54 - Reply

    Hi Karma,

    I discovered your orchid blog few days ago and I’m STUNNED. The photos are so artistic, professional and amazing. your vivarium orchids look so delicate and fragile. so beautiful!

    Is there any updates for your new set-up’s or new vivarium you recently built? I’m thinking about building an orchid vivarium for my own but there is no chance I could find those amazing orchids you have (I live in Tel Aviv and no one sell botanical species in Israel).

    Keep doing that great job you do so well and I’ll keep follow your blog!


    • Karma October 2, 2015 at 19:20 - Reply

      Hey Mor! Very nice words. Thanks!! 🙂 Sorry, not ready to divulge in detail the new vivarium build quite yet. 😉 But I promise it is coming… at some point. Soon I think… ha ha… Really, I think I might be ready soon. Good luck with your build!

      • Mor October 2, 2015 at 22:27 - Reply

        I wish you all the best with your vivarium. I believe it will look amazing. I think before I build mine I’ll wait for updates from you. I thought about buying Exo Terra terrarium (90*45*90 cm) for start.. I don’t know. I think I need more time. It’s like building a room for baby 🙂 anyway, good luck with yours!

        • Karma October 4, 2015 at 08:12 - Reply

          Thanks! 🙂 Yes, it is kind of like building a nursery for a baby. 😉 Takes a little thinking to get it right, so take your time.

  6. Becky April 25, 2017 at 21:12 - Reply

    Did you ever get a species ID on this? I just received a “Diodonopsis pygmaea” from Ecuagenera as well and I’m pretty sure that’s not what it is. It hasn’t bloomed yet and I had to divide it into four plants (it was a huge clump) but the leaves are about the size of my Masdevallia minuta which is supposed to be significantly larger than the pygmaea. Physically, the plant looks the same as yours.

    • Karma April 26, 2017 at 09:26 - Reply

      No, I have not bothered with it… but it is clearly not pygmaea… but maybe contact Ecuagenera?

Leave A Comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.