Roscoea cautleyoides

Common Name: roscoea 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Zingiberaceae
Native Range: South-central China
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Pale yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Flower: Showy


Best grown in a Mediterranean-type climate featuring cool summers and mild winters. This plant does not grow well in the St. Louis climate. It is best sited in sheltered, lightly shaded, open woodland areas in organically rich, sandy-humusy, consistently moist but well-drained soils. Avoid wet soils, particularly in winter. Best with a winter mulch in the northern parts of its growing range.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Roscoea cautleyoides is an upright perennial that is native to pine forest clearings, grasslands, slopes and meadows in alpine areas of western China (Sichuan and Yunnan) at elevations up to 11,000 feet. Plants have thick fleshy roots. They typically grow 12-18" (sometimes to 24") tall. Large, orchid-like, pale yellow flowers (to 1 1/2" wide) in short, terminal, peduncled spikes (2-7 flowers per spike) bloom in May-June (sometimes with a summer re-bloom) on upright green stems rising above the foliage. Each flower has three petals, with the wider upper petal often forming a cowl. Flower color is typically pale yellow, but rarely appears as purple, white or pink. Alternate, glossy, narrow (to 1" wide), parallel-veined, dark green leaves (each to 6" long) sheath the stems. Genus name honors William Roscoe (1753-1831) who founded the Liverpool Botanic Garden in 1802. Specific epithet is sometimes listed as cautleoides.

Genus name honors William Roscoe (1753-1831) who founded the Liverpool Botanic Garden.

Specific epithet means resembling the genus Cattleya.


No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs and snails may attack young leaves.


Partially shaded areas of rock gardens, borders or woodland margins.