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There are around 12- species native to Central and South-America and are also found in the West Indies. Most species of Encyclia were originally described under Epidendrum and are typically found in lowland forests at altitudes of up to 1000m. Most of these species are found in seasonally dry oak forests where the humidity tends to remain high throughout the year, though precipitation is infrequent which sometimes is lacking for months. 

Many species in this genus are cultivated as ornamental plants with flowers sometimes lasting over a month. They are sadly easily overwatered and only require periodic misting during the winter. Encyclias are extremely variable and range in size from 2 inch plants up to pseudobulbs with leaves 2 feet or more in length. Despite this variability, they all share the common feature of a lip that, while not fused to the column, more or less enfolds it. 

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