Bletilla striata

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Bletilla striata
Bletilla striata 2007-05-13 375.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Arethuseae
Genus: Bletilla
B. striata
Binomial name
Bletilla striata
(Thunb.) Rchb.f. (1878)

Bletilla striata, known as hyacinth orchid[2] or Chinese ground orchid,[3] is a species of flowering plant in the orchid family Orchidaceae, native to Japan, Korea, Myanmar (Burma), and China (Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang).[1][4] It is most commonly found growing in clumps alongside grassy slopes with sandy soil. [5]

The Latin specific epithet striata means “striped”, in reference to the ribbed leaves.[6]


Bletilla striata is a terrestrial orchid with pleated, spear-shaped leaves. It breaks dormancy in early spring, with each tuber of the previous year potentially sending out multiple shoots. These growths mature over the course of a couple months and eventually bear 3-7 magenta-pink flowers.[7]


In cultivation in the UK it is hardy in sheltered locations down to −10 °C (14 °F). It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.[2]

In the U.S. it may be grown in USDA hardiness zones 5–9, although a winter mulching for plants grown in zone 5 is recommended.[7]

Like most terrestrial orchids, it drops its leaves as it enters winter dormancy; however, it tolerates moisture during this period much better than most others. Nevertheless, it is encouraged to grow Bletilla striata in a well-draining, humus-rich mix.[8]


Bletilla striata is used in Asian traditional medicine for treating problems with the lining of the alimentary canal, e.g. ulcers.[9]

It is also used as a natural glue for making silk strings for traditional Chinese instruments like the guqin.[10]


  1. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ a b "RHS Plantfinder - Bletilla striata". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  3. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  4. ^ Flora of China v 25 p 210, 白及 bai ji, Bletilla striata
  5. ^ Ōi, Jisaburō. Flora of Japan (English translation). The Smithsonian Institution, 1965
  6. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for Gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 184533731X.
  7. ^ a b "MO Botanical Garden - Bletilla striata". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Phytesia - Bletilla". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  9. ^ Chunming Wang; Jiantao Sun; Yi Luo; Weihua Xue; Huajia Diao; Lei Dong; Jiangning Chen; Junfeng Zhang (2006). "A Polysaccharide Isolated from the Medicinal Herb Bletilla striata Induces Endothelial Cells Proliferation and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Expression in vitro". Biotechnology Letters. 28 (8): 539–543. doi:10.1007/s10529-006-0011-x. PMID 16614890.
  10. ^ Yu-Ku-Chai translation - Volume 3, Chapter 9: The Method for Making Strings

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