Neofinetia orchid show, fuukiran-ten, part one

July is flowering season for the select clones of Neofinetia falcata, known as fuukiran in Japanese.  This is always a pleasant time of year with its lazy hot days and orchid shows, or ran-ten.  I’ve managed over the years to take pictures of some pretty spectacular plants, both in terms of rarity and size.  What follows is a sampling.  So, I’ll let the pictures mostly speak for themselves.

Here is a typical scene at a fuukiran show in Japan.  In a show plants must be put into special glazed pots, some of which are elegantly hand painted.  They must be planted the traditional method – in a mound of long fibered sphagnum moss.

Fuukiran show
Fuukiran show, or ran ten.

The highest ranked fuukiran is Fukiden.  While it remains the top ranked form, it is not the most sought after these days.  In recent years the value of this plant has dropped 50%, but the cost of a single fan remains high – around $500 US.  A plant this size commands a wallet breaking price.

Fukiden, the top ranked fuukiran.

A lovely easy to grow and fairly cheap form is Tenkeifukurin.  The variegation of this form is very stable and it clumps well.  This is a wonderful specimen that represents 20 or more years of growth.

Tenkeifukurin, an easy to grow fuukiran.

To see these lovely plants in “person”, check out this video of a show near my house in southern Japan:

Though not technically a fuukiran or a pure Neofinetia, Kibana Furan is still very lovely and commands a high value.  A form as nice as this one, especially at this size, is valuable indeed.

Kibana Furan
Kibana Furan, though not a true fuukiran, a plant like this is very valuable.

A closely related form, also a hybrid, is Kurimubana Fuuran.  This is a large specimen.

Kurimubana Furan
A cream colored form is Kurimubana Furan, meaning literally, “cream flowered wind orchid”.

One of the most valuable of the Kibana Furan forms is Yuubae.  The flowers are very dark and large.  A plant this size would be worth pretty serious cash – into the hundreds of dollars.

The most expensive and exclusive of the Kibana Furan – Yuubae.

These are pretty heavy pages, so I’ve decided to put them in a series of posts.


10 Replies to “Neofinetia orchid show, fuukiran-ten, part one”

  1. Wonderful overview of this Species. I found that I can grow these beauties and have begun to do so seriously. Have grown orchids for 20 years now and it has taken me this long to get to Neos.

    I live in S. California and grow them outside all year long. I have an unusual one called Kyobijin. Bought from Seed-engii. It turned out to be very dark and is perfectly described as you have stated Yuubai might be colored. Can send you off a photo if you are interested. Deeply colored orange/yellow w. purple/rose flush to the nectary. Most probably a hybrid, but who would care with it’s beautiful flowers.

    Thanks for all the great photos.


  2. Hey Carol, thanks for visiting and commenting. I too have been growing orchids for a long time, since I was a kid, and it took me coming to live in Japan to get into Neofinetia and other Japanese plants. We are both blessed to live in climates where growing these outdoors is possible.

    I’m not familiar with the plant you mention, but that isn’t surprising. There are a dizzying array of Neos and their hybrids about. Seed Engei does indeed provide a lot of these, and as their name implies, many are seed grown. Any flower with orange present I would treat as a hybrid, but as you say, if it is gorgeous, then what the hay, its fun to have regardless.

    I’ll post more photos as time goes on.


  3. Tom:

    Thanks for the information on Seikai. I will not water it or Unkai from the top any more. I have buds forming in the Seikai right now. Did not know about the blasting.

    Any other tips about growing? I feed with liquid fertilizer on the leaves only and have had great success with Neos. and other plants too. They seem to thrive with the foliar feeding.

    Please post more. The Tokyo Dome show should provide at least some great specimen plants this Feb.

    My best.


  4. Hey Carol,

    Glad you are enjoying these pages. I do indeed intend to post more about fuukiran in the future, so stay tuned.

    In Japan growers keep their collections out of the rain and snow, though this is not necessary. The reason is simple, they want their plants to look perfect. As for getting water on developing flower stalks, this is a potential problem for any form, but with Seikai, Unkai, and Kutsuwamushi it often leads to them losing the entire flower stalk.

    Most of what I know about growing these is in the article about cultivating fuukiran. Fertilizer can be applied in any fashion you see fit so long as you don’t over do it. Of course in winter I recommend no fertilizer at all.

    I’d love to go to the Tokyo Grand Prix this year, but funds and timing will not allow it. If memory serves there were some nice specimen fuukiran there two years ago, but honestly the local shows around Fukuoka have just as nice plants.

  5. Hey Tom;

    We have had strange weather here in S. Cal. and I brought my Neos. that were outside in, when it was going to be 85 degrees one day. They have stayed inside since as we continue to have warm weather. I left all of them outside last year and lost a 1 growth. Hence all small plants stay inside for the winter. I have also kept all plants with serious root growth still going on, inside too. I have gotten many from Satomi of Seed_engei and Glenn Lehr of New World Orchids. When they get here, they are confused as to what time of year it is. Hence, if the roots are growing and showing new tips, I do not take them outside when cold. They are under cover never the less. Bright light with little moisture to rot the roots.

    I did get my 1st 2 AOS awards this past year, so have at least mastered several genera by now. I am also in the AOS Judging program as a Clerk. Learning all of the time. Otherwise my brain would atrophy!

    What took you to Japan? It is a wonder that people can transplant themselves to other lands and pick up so much wonderful information on plants and the Country. I have always been a student of Japanese art and as a costume designer for the stage/film/TV have done some Japanese costumes. Studied all of the 18th and 19th Century print makers in the process.

    I have now begun to make pots for my Neos. With an MFA in design I can do most anything with my hands. Did pottery for many years and when I was young, hand formed items in clay. That is now what I have begun. I love the pots from the 17th – 19th Centuries and have developed methods to slightly update them but still retain their original essence. If you send me an email, I will send you photos of what I have been up to. I have begun to work on a website, but that will take some time. I want to have flowers in bloom when I take some of the photos of pots.

    Be well. Time to get some sleep. I go off to the Paph. Guild meetings soon. Holger Perner and wife are coming from China. Should be good.

    My best.


  6. Hey Carol,

    Sorry for the late reply. I think many regions have had a strange fall and early winter – overall too warm. The same thing has occurred here in Japan, but in a more moderate way. All my fuukiran are outside and still dormant.

    Neofinetia pots are a whole other topic in themselves. I am just starting to get into the fancy hand painted pots (nishiki bachi). These are used only during show times and not as a regular pot for the plant. Quality and authenticity are again big issues – many on the international market are not so great. Occasionally truly lovely ones are offered at the local nurseries and at shows…if the price isn’t too dear I buy them.

    I think shear madness drove me to come to Japan. Now it is just a way of life 🙂

  7. Hello Tom,
    I have enjoyed this site and its excellent information. Glen Lehr helped me start my collection of Neos. A Shojyo with nine growths and later 14 flowers….awesome. A Tamkama with three growths and a Amanii Islands four growths. And lets not forget a big dose of Neo Madness! They are grown in the fuuran plastic pots he offers.

    As with Carol I have always found the Japanese the most interesting culture. Because I live in the land of Elvis there a very few Japanese markets. I have not had any luck finding simple ceramic fuuran pots for display. I really can not afford his prices on pots.

    Thank you again for this wonderful site and I will check in often.


    1. Hey Jim,

      I’m glad you are enjoying the site. It is a labor of love mostly – I try to keep it real, that being, the plants I have known and grown personally.

      Getting fuukiran pots even in Japan – the nice ones at least – is not cheap. Many are mass produced and not so lovely. The issue is the quality of the painting. Signed pots carry the most value. In the near future I’ll post an article about them. I’ll pass your email on to Carol.


  8. I am interested in the spelling of the Neofinetia falcata variety which is the darkest natural pink. I wrote it down as Benitingo but I cannot find this spelling online. I must have misspelled it incorrectly. Would you please inform me of the correct spelling?

    1. Hi Robin,

      The correct romanization is Benitengu. The name means “red (crimson) long-nosed goblin”. Tengu are supernatural beings with a really long nose and are sometimes considered gods. If you see a Japanese mask with a Pinocchio-like nose, that’s a Tengu. This name shows up over an over again in Japan, especially in the naming of things. BTW, while the original form of Benitengu may have really dark flowers, some of its offspring may not be as dark – the result of propagation through seed. That goes for all purple colored Neofinetia.


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