Orchid Society of
Western Australia (Inc)
Bill Mather & Ken Jones
Given the level of interest in this genus demonstrated
by bidding at the last general meeting, the following article from the
Society Council of Victoria is published in this newsletter.
I have added photos of the species mentioned in the article, and from
next month, will cover some additional members of this interesting genus.
"There are approximately sixty species in the genus Stanhopea,
all native to central America from Mexico south to Ecuador, Colombia and
Venezuela. They are mainly found growing on steep mountain sides, trees
and rocks but there are also a few terrestrial species. Although some
of these species grow near sea level, others are found at altitudes up
to 5000 m, so by no means are they all warm growers and some thrive in
Melbourne in conditions suited ideally for Cymbidiums. My Stanhopeas
grow in baskets lined with paperbark and are suspended about 500 mm below
the shade cloth roof (50% shade factor) of my Cymbidium house during
both summer and winter.
Stanhopeas grown in shadehouses generally flower in summer or autumn.
Usually the first flower 'spears' (flower spikes) emerge from beneath
the basket in late spring and take about two months to develop fully.
Flowering is spectacular - the flower 'spears' emerge from the base of
the mature pseudobulbs, pierce the liner of the basket and eventually
the buds burst open (sometimes with an audible pop) in early morning.
A heavy, sweet fragrance is immediately released. The flowers last for
only three days, which in nature gives the pollinator (a bee) little time
to have his wicked way. The grower faces the same time constraint to show
his plant at an orchid meeting! Transporting your plant to a meeting is
not difficult, although it requires some ingenuity. Select a deep box
or bucket which is a little wider than your basket and thrust two stakes
horizontally through it just below the rim. These stakes will support
the basket so that the inflorescence will dangle safely within the box
or bucket. Some fore-thought is also necessary as to how your exhibit
will be displayed - either on your own stand or by propping the basket
on its side on the bench.
The genus Stanhopea was founded on Stan. insignis when that
flamboyant orchid flowered at Kew Gardens in 1828-1829, and there are
about sixty other species. Natural hybrids are rare because, although
different Stanhopea species may flower side by side, each has its
own perfume which attracts a different species of bee. Also the precise
dimensions of the fertilisation path that the bee follows down the lip
limits the size of the bee and the pollen mass that the bee can carry
Some Stanhopea species are quite variable in colour and markings.
The species most commonly benched in Melbourne are Stan. nigroviolacea,
Stan. tigrina and Stan. wardii.
The flowers of Stan. tigrina are larger and the tiger stripes are
made up of an aggregation of red spots.
The red spots on the flowers of Stan. nigroviolacea are randomly
distributed on the tepals and the base of these cream-coloured segments
is covered by an intense "bull's-blood" red.
Stan wardii has 5-10 medium-sized, golden flowers covered with
fine red spots with a conspicuous eye spot at the base of the lip
More important than flower count, size or colour, the shape of the lip
is the main basis on which taxonomists separate the Stanhopea species.
The lip is considered in three obvious sections - the hypochile (the bulky
perfumed part at the top where the lip meets the base of the column),
the mesochile (the short middle section which carries the horns) and the
epichile (the piece at the end, which is more or less heart-shaped). The
hypochile is the source of the perfume which attracts the pollinator,
a particular species of bee. Having invaded the hypochile, drunk the nectar
and over-indulged, the bee slides down the chute formed by the horns of
the mesochile to the epichile, in the process having the pollinia attached
to its metathorax by a sticky glue.
This article draws on an excellent book, Those Astonishing Stanhopeas,
published in 1998 by Barney Greer, who resides in Sydney and who is internationally
recognised as an authority on the genus Stanhopea."
The Genus Stanhopea was established
by Sir William Hooker in 1829, on publication of Stanhopea insignis
in the Botanical Magazine. The genus was named for the Rt Hon. Philip
Henry Stanhope, Earl of Stanhope who was President of the Medico-Botanical
Society of London 1829-1837. Stanhopeas are found throughout Central and
South America and are pollinated by euglossine bees.
According to Rudolf Jenny, a well-recognized taxonomist for this genus
and author of an authoritative monograph, the genus Stanhopea is
allied to the following genera: Acineta;Acropera; (Gongora); Archivea;
Braemia; Cirrhaea; Coryanthes; Embreea; Endresiella (Trevoria); Gongora;
Horichia; Houlletia; Kegeliella; Lacaena; Lueddemannia; Lycomormium; Paphinia;
Peristeria ; Polycycnis; Schlimia; Sievekingia; Soterosanthus; Stanhopeastrum;
Trevoria and Vasqueziella.
Stanhopea and related genera have large, pleated leaves and incredible
flowers that have complex structures and mechanisms for pollination. These
range from walkways for insects to containers of watery solution. Generally,
inflorescences grow downward and plants must be potted in hanging baskets
or similar containers. The flowers generally have a spicy fragrance, and
unfortunately are short-lived - some only for one day. However, well-grown
plants will flower more frequently than once a year. The related genera
of Paphinia and Peristeria require warmer temperatures and
generally produce upright inflorescences.
This genus requires bright, direct, diffused sunlight. They are best grown
suspended given their pendulous inflorescences, and this helps place them
in brighter light. The preferred light level is 3000 foot candles or 32,300
lux (similar to that for good Cattleya culture).
This genus prefers moderate summer and winter temperature in the range
10°-15°C night and 20°-24° daytime. However, as we have
seen recently in Perth, these plants can withstand higher temperatures
provided air movement, humidity and shading are increased. Light levels
that are too high, or long periods of high temperature will inevitably
lead to leaf burn and damage to your plants.
Abundant water to encourage growth during spring, summer and autumn, with
protection during the cold, wet winter months will help develop strong
pseudobulbs and minimise foliar spotting. This genus can be very susceptible
to salt accumulation in the media, so should be kept moist at all times,
even in winter, and watered heavily in the other seasons to flush out
salts. Stanhopea are slow to make new root growth so careful management
of water and fertiliser is critical.
Regular fertiliser application will promote growth and flowering. For
plants grown in bark media, a rotation of high nitrogen NPK and balanced
NPK in spring, and high potassium NPK in the summer flowering period,
supplemented by organic fertiliser and plant tonic seems to encourage
robust growth and free flowering.
Re-potting is most effective after summer flowering as in Perth, this
genus grows all year. An open mix that retains some moisture (it can include
perlite or chopped sphagnum moss to increase water-holding) and large
baskets containing big plants will reward the grower with most flowers.
Vigorous plants may require repotting every three years, or when the basket
liner breaks down. Care should be taken when splitting up Stanhopea
plants to ensure that the resultant individual plants are large enough
to support multiple new growths .
The remainder of this article will cover some of the more and a few
of the less common Stanhopeas in amateur and enthusiast collections.
Much of the following information is from Nina Rach's Stanhopea pages.
I had the pleasure of meeting Nina in Johannesburg at the World Orchid
Conference in 2014, and commended her on her website which I used for
much the article that I wrote on the genus Sobralia. ....... Ken
Stanhopea anfracta is an intriguing species that some taxonomists
believe is just a variety of Stanhopea wardii, published in Lindenia
1892 as Stanhopea wardii var. venusta Rolfe, fide Calaway
H. Dodson (1975). Dodson asserts the taxonomically-accepted name should
be Stanhopea wardii G. Lodd. ex Lindl., published in Sertum Orchidaceum
t. 20. 1838. -fide C. Schweinfurth (1960).
source: David Hunt,
However, to further explore the debate about this species, it is curious
the International Plant Names Index did not contain any reference to Stanhopea
anfracta, even as a synonym! The IPIN data is sourced from two databases,
Index Kewensis (IK) and the Gray Card Index (GCI).
More recently however, several taxonomists have published Stanhopea
anfracta as a valid species (Curry 1987; Curry et al. 1988; Greer
1998; Jenny 1993, 1999; Jørgensen 1999; Renner et al. 1990; Williams
1999). Dr. Rudolf Jenny refers to the type specimen at Kew.
Stanhopea anfracta can be distinguished from Stanhopea wardii,
and from Stanhopea peruviana. Stanhopea anfracta has a forked
column, but it does not have small hairs or horns at the end of the column
(as does Stanhopea peruviana).
Stanhopea anfracta comes from south-eastern Ecuador, Peru, and
Bolivia. In Ecuador, plants have been collected in Zamora-Chinchipe near
Cumbaratza along the Rio Zamora at 1,000 m, and between Loja and Zamora
at 1200 m. The plants grow on trees in very wet mountain forests at 700-1400
m. The TROPICOS database lists 12 specimens, all collected in Ecuador,
five from Morona-Santiago at 550m, 800m and 1,400m elevation respectively
and six from Zamora-Chinchipe at 700-1,200 m elevation.
Stanhopea annulata Mansfield 1938 is one of the hornless, or 'primitive
Stanhopeas' and is similar to Stanhopea avicula, Stanhopea cirrhata,
Stanhopea pulla and Stanhopea ecornuta.
This species is said to grow well in moist conditions and in plastic pots
with a fine-medium bark mix with charcoal, perlite, and redwood fibre.
Greer (1998) says that its natural habitat is tropical wet and wet montane
forests on western slopes of the Andes, often found on branches over water
in Ecuador and Colombia at 100-600m. In the publication 'Orquídeas
de la costa del Ecuador', the authors say that Stanhopea annulata
can be found in the Esmeraldas, Los Rios, Pichincha, and Cotopaxi provinces.
It is also found in Bolivia.
Stanhopea candida Barb. Rodr. 1877 is widespread on the eastern
slopes of the Andes in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, the Guianas,
and Venezuela. In Brazil, plants collected at Rio Capisan in the state
of Para were growing in very moist, warm rainforests, usually in trees,
but occasionally the surface of steep slopes and along the edge of roads
in low vegetation. In Venezuela, plants are found along the banks of the
Orinoco between San Antonio and Tamatama in hot forests at 400 m. In Ecuador,
Stanhopea candida can be found in Napo Province growing in wet tropical
forests on large tree branches overhanging rivers at 150-400 m. In Peru,
plants have been found in the Department of Huanuco growing in wet forests
near Leoncio Prado along the Rio Monzon at 810 m, while in Bolivia, plants
have been collected in the extreme northeast corner of the Department
of Cochabamba near Chimoré at 300m where they were growing on large
limbs of canopy trees. The nearly white to brownish-white flowers have
an intense sweet fragrance
Stanhopea cirrhata Lindley 1850 is found in Nicaragua, Costa Rica,
and Panama at altitudes less than 1000 m. Those from southwestern Panama
are epiphytic in lowland rainforests, while in Costa Rica it is only found
sporadically on the Pacific slopes. Larger populations occur near the
Panama border, suggesting that this area is likely to be the distribution
centre for the species. The Costa Rica populations are generally found
in deciduous forests in seasonally dry lowlands at 400-800 m. With few
exceptions, this species is solitary and often found above standing or
slow-moving water in very humid, shaded habitats. The flowers are waxy
and fragrant, short lived and borne in pairs on short pendent racemes.
One author says Stanhopea cirrhata is scented like Vicks. 1,8-cineole,
one of the eleven major compounds found in orchids was covered in the
AOS Bulletin, November 1986. The fragrance is produced in the hypochile
(base part of the lip) and attracts male Euglossine bees.
This yellow to salmon-coloured species was named for the two hairs which
curve upward from the apical wingtips of the distinctly green column.
These can be seen clearly in the photo at left, provided by Dr. Guenter
Gerlach, Munich Botanic Garden (Botanischer Garten Muenchen).
Stanhopea cirrhata is one of the 'primitive' Stanhopea species,
all of which are without horns arising from the mesochile (central section
of the lip). The absence of horns leaves the flower accessible to a variety
of pollinating euglossine bees, increasing probability of natural hybrids
as these insects are the major pollinators for Stanhopea species.
Stanhopea cirrhata in situ in Costa Rica
Stanhopea confusa G.Gerlach & Beeche 2004. This recently discovered
species was collected by C.K. Horich in September 2000 at 800-900 m elevation
in Cartago, Turrialba, Costa Rica (east side of the Cordillera de Talamanca),
and flowered in cultivation at Jardín Botánico de Múnich-Nymphenburg,
Germany. The holotype is in the USJ herbarium.
Mora writes that Stanhopea confusa was believed
for many years to be the same species as Stanhopea gibbosa of Ecuador.
However, in 2004, Gunter Gerlach and Jorge Beeche determined that the
Costa Rican species is different and named it Stanhopea confusa
based on a specimen collected in Turrialba (Canton in the province of
Cartago, Costa Rica) between Grano de Oro and Moravia Chirripo. It is
likely that the species name refers to the misidentification of this plant
for so many years.
Stanhopea connata Klotzsch 1854 is found in
Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, on the eastern slopes of the Andes southward
from the Caribbean coast at 1,100-1,700 m. This species is generally epiphytic,
mostly on lower branches above standing or slowly moving water. In Ecuador,
plants have been collected along the Rio Topo between Banos and Puyo at
1,300 m), in Zamora-Chinchipe between Loja and Zamora at 1,400 m), and
at the confluence of Rio Quijos and Rio Barja near Baeza at 1,700 m) in
mountain cloud forests. Stanhopea connata grows on a variety of
host trees at 4-6 m above the forest floor. In Peru, the species has been
collected from the Rioja-Chachapoyas road near Venceremes at 1,500 m.
In 1854, Klotzsch described the plant and wrote "Stanhopea connata
differs from Stanhopea graveolens by the lower link of the crown
of the lip or the hypochile grown together with the thickened base of
the column." The large flowers, approximately 10cm across are reported
to smell oppressively of indole and/or scatole or other substances of
the indole group. The flower colour varies from straw-yellow with a few
fine purplish dots on the sepals to golden yellow or orange with heavier
red markings on the recurved petals.
Brinkman 2014 writes "While most Stanhopeas have
fragrances delectable enough to eat, Stanhopea connata exudes cresole
and indole. Cresole is the fragrance compound associated with coal tar
(think freshly poured asphalt), and indole has a fragrance described in
botanical literature as fecal. I was not, to be honest, in a hurry to
have a closed door photo session with Stanhopea
Stanhopea costaricensis Rchb.f. 1860 is found
in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama where the species grows
in intermediate evergreen or cloud and rainforests, mostly on the Caribbean
watershed. In Panama and Costa Rica, this orchid can be found at 500-1,500
m in moist, mist-forest habitats. It has large, fragrant flowers that
González & Retana (1996) describe as very sweet, strong, confectionery
body powder, cloves, floral, slightly spicy, bergamot. Flower colour can
range from nearly off-white or pale yellow to deeper yellow, with red
speckles on sepals, petals, and epichile, and occasionally with dark eyespots
on hypochile. A similar appearance species is found in Colombia where
it is referred to as Stanhopea aff. costaricensis. Authors
report that this species does not tolerate low humidity or high light
as leaf burn will result. The pendant flower raceme is 20 cm long, generally
carrying 3-5 flowers. The large flowers resemble those of Stanhopea
oculata, although the hypochile has a restricted centre portion that
makes it form two broad segments that are almost unique in the genus (Stanhopea
gibbosa has a similar shaped hypochile). Like most members of the
genus, this species is fragrant; camphor scented when it first opens becoming
a combination of camphor and cinnamon.
Stanhopea deltoidea Lemaire, 1862 is found in
wet montane forests in Peru and Bolivia at 1,400 - 1,850 m as a large
sized, warm growing epiphyte or occasional terrestrial or or-lithophyte
on steep slopes and rocks. Flowers are carried on a short pendant, few
flowered inflorescence from mature pseudobulbs in winter and spring. Dr.
Rudolf Jenny notes that it is a seldom seen and cultivated taxon, locally
endemic in the Chanchamayo Valley in Perú. Its flowers are usually
red spotted on creamy or yellow ground with a dark red blotch on the hypochile
base. A well-known grower, Bruce Blyth noted that it grows as a medium-sized
plant in a temperature range 10°C-32°C. The flowers do not have
a noticeable fragrance, and "the petals fold backwards under the
lateral sepals instead of over the dorsal sepal." The nearest related
species is Stanhopea marizaiana, a species described in mid-2003.
Stanhopea dodsoniana Salazar & Soto Arenas
2001 is found on the Southwestern coast of Mexico in the states of Vera
Cruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas in wet tropical rainforests and lower montane
rainforests at 150-950m as a medium sized, hot to warm growing epiphyte.
It flowers in summer from pendant 30cm, four flowered inflorescences enveloped
completely by several, inflated, imbricate, acuminate bracts and floral
bracts covering all of the ovaries and carrying large, showy, fragrant
Found in the Mexican states of Veracruz, Chiapas, and
Oaxaca, the initial collection in 27 March 1987 came from the municipality
of San Andrés Tuxtla, atop Cerro del Vigía, Estación
de Biologiá Tropical Los Tuxtlas at 500m. It flowered later in
cultivation, and one holotype was deposited at the Herbario AMO in Mexico
City. A second holotype was archived at the Herbario Instituto de Ecología,
A.C., in Xalapa, Veracruz (XAL). The isotype is in the Herbarium of the
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
However, this species was originally published as Stanhopea
oculata var. crocea by Eduard Regel in 1856, and can be found
in same area of Mexico as Stanhopea oculata and Stanhopea whittenii,
but according to Jenny (2003), no natural hybrids have been found. It
is distinguished from these two other species by lip morphology and the
fragrance, which uniquely includes phenylethylacetate (aka phenethyl acetate),
which has a rosy-honey odour, and phenylethylachohole.
The species Stanhopea dodsoniana is named for
taxonomist Calaway H. Dodson, who specialises in the orchids of Ecuador.
It is often confused with Stanhopea oculata. In the flower of Stanhopea
dodsoniana, the angle difference on the dorsal side of the hypochile
and mesochile is 45°, while Stanhopea oculata is more obtuse.
Stanhopea embreii Dodson 1975 is found in Western Ecuador in wet
mountain cloud forest in Chimborazo and Cañar Provinces. In Cañar,
plants have been collected between Durán and Tambo at 1000 m, and
in Chimborazo, along the railroad from Guayaquil to Quito at 600 m.
The flowers are average size for the genus with 3-7 blossoms are carried
on each pendant inflorescence, and are pale yellow to nearly white with
orange on the basal half of the hypochile and the base of the sepals and
petals. The petals, lip and column are sparsely flecked and spotted with
red. The large fragrant flowers occur in late spring and early summer.
Stanhopea ecornuta Lemaire 1846 is found in Belize, Guatemala,
Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Jenny writing in the 1993
Orchid Digest reported that this species' habitat is from Guatemala to
Costa Rica and northern Panama. It has been collected from heavily shaded,
very warm and constantly wet lowlands below 250 m. Others writers report
that this species can be found throughout the Caribbean watershed in most
of Central America, with distribution including Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala,
Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, but is uncommon. In Belize, Stanhopea
ecornuta is found as an epiphyte on trees in the Toledo District in
wet broad-leaved forests at about 100 m and in humid mountain forests,
while in Guatemala, it is also found as an epiphyte, but at up to 1200
m. Horich (1974) reports that this orchid grows in dark niches or ravines
along rivers or creeks in the steaming, hot, lowland, rainforest jungles
on the Atlantic side at sea level to rarely more than 500 m, and Mora
and Atwood (1993) report that Costa Rican plants grow in shady lowland
tropical evergreen forests at 500-1200 m.
This species was originally described in 1846 by Charles Lemaire, in the
first series of Flore des Serres et des Jardins de l'Europe ii, t. 181.,
published in Gand, Belgium by Louis Van Houtte. This is an interesting
warm-growing species, and is one of the "primitive" (hornless)
Stanhopeas. Flowers are usually borne in twins on short inflorescences,
facing each other. Unlike many other members of this genus, the inflorescence
crawls across the top of the compost and the flowers open near the base
of the plant. Other "primitive" Stanhopeas include: Stan.
annulata, Stan. avicula, Stan. cirrhata, and Stan. pulla.
The ovoid, sulcate, slightly compressed pseudobulbs have basal bracts
and carry a single apical, ribbed, plicate leaf that narrows into a elongate
petiolate base, elliptic, abruptly acute leaf. Flowers are borne on a
lateral and then pendant, 4 cm long, few flowered inflorescence arising
on a mature pseudobulb, concealed by ovoid, inflated, imbricating, scarious,
lepidote sheaths giving rise to 2 to rarely 3, large, fragrant, showy,
membraneous flowers in summer.
Asociación Costarricense de Orquideología (A.C.O.) has the
following note about this species: "Stanhopea ecornuta produces
two flowers in the base of the pseudobulb, white colour, speckled of brown
near the base of labellum; this it seems an end of a slipper without division
in the centre. It does not have pieces. In the centre of labellum it has
a yellow colour with a solid concentration of spots brown to each side."
[Translated from the original Spanish]. Other "primitive Stanhopeas
found in Costa Rica include Stan. cirrhata and Stan. pulla.
Natural hybrids include: Stanhopea x fowlieana (Stan. ecornuta x Stan.
costaricensis) and Stanhopea x horichiana (Stan. ecornuta x Stan.
Stanhopea florida Rchb.f. 1879 is found in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador
on the western and eastern slopes of the Andes at 1000-1800 m). In Ecuador,
plants have been collected in Canar Province near Asumción, between
Cuenca and Pasaje at 1000 m, in Tungurahua Province at Rio San Franciso
5 km west of Rio Negro between Baños and Puyo at 1500 m, and in
Zamora-Chinchipe at km 49 between Loja and Zamora at 1300 m.
This medium sized, warm growing caespitose epiphyte
occurs in seasonally dry mountain cloud forest.
florida has a narrowly ellipsoid, sulcate, obtuse angled pseudobulb
with a single, apical, elliptic-lanceolate, gradually narrowing into the
elongate petiolate base, acute leaf with flowers on a pendant, 24 cm,
racemose, few to several [5 to 9] flowered inflorescence arising on a
mature pseudobulb, with large, concealing,
distichous (arranged in two ranks or rows), imbricating (overlapping),
scarious (thin and dry), chartaceous (thin, hard and stiff like writing
paper) bracts and subsimilar floral bracts in the late summer.
Stanhopea florida in situ Ecuador
Stanhopea frymirei Dodson 1975 is endemic to
Ecuador. Found in the provinces of Manabí and Guayas, Dodson and
Dodson (1980) reported that the species grows in wet cloud forests on
the summits of coastal mountains. Collections were found in Manabí
Province in low ountains near the coast between Manta and Salinas at elevations
of 200-600 m. It is also reported on hilltops, mostly epiphytic but sometimes
as a terrestrial on steep road banks at 50-500 meters.
This species flowers in summer and autumn and requires high humidity throughout
the year with bright light and is considered to be warm growing. The ribbed,
ovate, dark green pseudobulbs carry a single, apical, plicate, broadly
elliptic, acute leaf that gradually narrows below into the elongate petiolate
base leaf. The pendant, racemose flower raceme, up to 30 cm long carries
few to several large, pleasantly cinnamon and bergamot (the flavouring
in Earl Grey and Lady Grey black teas) scented flowers partially enveloped
by large chartaceous bracts. It was initially published in Selbyana 1(2):
126-128, fig. 5A. 1975.
Calaway Dodson collected the original plant from which this species was
described, in Ecuador in 1961, and seemingly took 14 years to describe
it. Stanhopea frymirei is named for G.P. Frymire, with whom Dodson
writes: "Beginning in 1959, Calaway H. Dodson and G.P. Frymire took
up where Allen had left off in studies of the orchids of tropical America
and their pollinators. Dodson and Frymire began their work in Ecuador,
whereas Allen had done most of his work in Panama and Costa Rica (Dodson
& Frymire 1961, Dodson 1962b). They quickly noted the key role that
fragrance played in attracting pollinators. Since Cycnoches is
one of the most fragrant of the genera, along with the other members of
the Catasetinae, they did a lot of work with Cycnoches species."
Stanhopea frymirei is pollinated by the euglossine bee Eulaema
bomboides, as is Stanhopea jenischiana (Whitten & Williams,
and it is closely allied to both Stanhopea embreei and to Stanhopea
jenischiana (known in cultivation as Stanhopea bucephalus)
although there are no known natural hybrids with Stanhopea jenischiana
as the habitats do not overlap.
Stanhopea gibbosa Rchb.f. 1869 is found in Nicaragua, Costa Rica,
and Panama at 500-1500 m elevation in moist to very wet rainforests, often
growing over standing or slow moving water. Other authors also note that
this species occurs in Colombia where plants are found in temperate rainforests
in the districts of Antioquia, Chocó, and Caldas. However, there
is disagreement between authors as Atwood (1993), Dressler (1993), and
Hamer (1984) say that distribution is only Honduras to Costa Rica and
does not include Panama or Colombia. Such differences of opinion are quite
common with the genus Stanhopea concerning distribution, correct
name, flower form and colouration.
According to Charles and Margaret Baker, plants were collected in Matagalpa
Province near Sta. María de Ostumos, and near Cerro Buena Vist
in Nicaragua at 1260 m, in Costa Rica, the species is found in intermediate
rain and cloud forests, growing on the shady trunks and lower branches
of trees in dense, very humid tropical lowland and lower-mountain rainforests
at 500-1500m, particularly on the Atlantic/Caribbean slopes north of the
Cordillera Central. The most plentiful populations occur in forest niches
at 700-1000 m on the Sarapiqui and San Carlos Cordillera slopes, while
the highest elevation at which plants are found is the La Plama mountain
saddle at Rio Para. It is a medium sized, hot to warm growing epiphyte
in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama on shady trunks and lower branches
in wet, tropical lowland rainforests.
This species, initially published in Gardener's Chronicle (1869) 1254
has pyriform to ovoid, strongly sulcate pseudobulbs with a single apical,
coriaceous, obovate, plicate, ribbed, gradually narrows below into the
elongate, petiolate base, elliptic-obovate leaf that blooms in the summer
on a pendant, racemose, 6 to 10" [15 to 25 cm] long, few  flowered
inflorescence arising on a mature pseudobulb with large, chartaceous bracts
and vanilla scented flowers. The large, fragrant flowers on pendent inflorescences
have cream to yellowish-white sepals and petals and the lip (hypochile,
mesochile, epichile) are pink, greenish-white, and cream. The pink coloration
is a distinguishing characteristic. The lip is approx. 5 cm, and the underside
of the hypochile is shallowly bilobed. The flowers also have fine (or
as the photo above shows, blotches) spots on sepals, petals, and lip,
and always has dark "eyes" on the petals and hypochile.
Stanhopea gibbosa is often confused with Stanhopea costaricensis,
warscewicziana and wardii. However, note that Stanhopea
gibbosa has eyes on the petals and on the hypochile, while Stanhopea
costaricensis has no eyes, and Stanhopea warscewicziana and
Stanhopea wardii each have eyes on the hypochile but NOT on the
Stanhopea grandiflora (Lodd.) Lindley 1832 is found throughout
Trinidad, British Guiana, northern Brazil, the Guyanas, Venezuela, and
Colombia on spurs of the eastern slopes of the Andes at 100-1000 m. In
Venezuela, plants are found in the state of Bolivar between El Dorado
and Sta. Elena, and in Amazonas, plants have been found at Alto Orinoco
and Tamá-Tamá at 120 m. Plants have also been collected
in Guatopo and Canaima provinces. In Trinidad, plants have been found
on Government House grounds, Tamana Mountain, and Brickfield. In Surinam,
these orchids are found primarily in the northern coastal lowlands along
rivers and creeks, while in British Guiana, plants were found along the
upper Rupunumi River near Dadanawa at 245°N, and between the Rupununi
and Kuyuwini Rivers at about 210° N growing epiphytically at the edge
of the forest. Stanhopea grandiflora is usually found in warm, moist rainforests,
often near moving or standing water on branches that hang down over the
water. Some authors show Mexico as habitat for this species, but Williams
(1951) has concerns with those reports and is unable to place this species
in Mexico. In this regard, he suggests that Schlechter's report might
have been erroneous.
This species was first described in 1828 as Ceratochilus grandiflorus
by Conrad Loddiges, plate 1414 of the Botanical Cabinet; Consisting of
Coloured Delineations of Plants from all Countries [Bot. Cab., London].
Next, John Lindley published it in 1832 as Stanhopea eburnea in
the Botanical Register [Bot. Reg.] 18, t. 1529. Recognizing that Loddiges
had published first, Lindley revised it to Stanhopea grandiflora
and published later in 1832 in The Genera and Species of Orchidaceous
Plants, p. 158 [Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.]. Other synonyms include: Stanhopea
calceolata Drap.; Stanhopea calceolus Hort. ex Reichb. f.;
Ceratochilus grandiflorus Lodd. The plants grow epiphytically,
up to 60 cm tall, with clustered, ridged, ovoid pseudobulbs up to 7 cm
tall, and leaves/petioles 25-55-cm long, 6-11-cm wide. One to three flowers
are borne on each short, pendent raceme, subtended by papery bracts.
They are very fragrant and pearly to translucent white; the lip is finely
spotted with purple, and the column is white to greenish-white. The lip
is long, straight (rather than bending at the mesochile), and relatively
narrow. The hypochile has a small tooth on either side, near the base;
the epichile is triangular, acute, and convex; the column is up to 7.5-cm
long and has broad, translucent wings. It has two waxy pollinia.
Stanhopea graveolens Lindley 1840. Found from Mexico south to Honduras
and El Salvador. In Belize, plants grow near the Cayo (Mt. Pine Ridge
Reserve) and Toledo Districts in riverine forests. While this species
has been reported in Panama, Dressler in, "A Checklist of the Orchids
of Panama as Known Today", which was appended to the 1980 publication
of, "Orchids of Panama" by L. O. Williams and Paul H. Allen,
reported that these plants were actually Stanhopea costaricensis.
Plants in El Salvador collected at Boquerón, in the crater of the
San Salvador volcano at 1800 m and in Cerro Grande de Apaneca at 1500
m that were originally identified as Stanhopea wardii by Hamer
(1964) were later reported by Hamer (1970) to actually be Stanhopea
graveolens. The plants described as Stanhopea wardii by Ames
and Correll (1952-1965), which were said to grow as epiphytes on trees
and on rocks in humid forests at elevations up to 2700 m should probably
be referred to as Stanhopea graveolens. Brazil has been included
in some reports as within the range of distribution, but it is generally
accepted that this is a different species.
This species was initially published by John Lindley in 1840, "based
on a plant purchased from the London nurseryman James Charles Tate, who
had imported it from Peru." This is now accepted to be erroneous
since the showy, rather grotesque, species Stanhopea graveolens
occurs from Mexico south through Guatemala to Honduras and Belize, growing
in mountain forests up to 2,700 m (Cribb 1992). Vegetatively, this species
has ovoid-conical to rhomboidal, sulcate (deeply grooved) , slightly compressed
pseudobulbs carrying a single, apical, elliptic-lanceolate to broadly
obovate (egg-shaped)-elliptic, abruptly acute (sharply ended), petiolate
(with a leaf stalk), sulcate leaves.
Stanhopea greerii Jenny 2000 is a recently named
species from Moyombamba in the San Marcos region of Peru. It is named
after Barney Greer, an enthusiastic Australian collector and hybridiser
of Stanhopea orchids, and published author of on this genus. This
species has been the subject of considerable controversy (for a more fulsome
explanation, see Nina Rach's republication of an article by Rudolph Jenny
published in Orchids Australia in 2000 at http://stanhopea.autrevie.com/stanhopea_greerii.html
In summary, it appears that published reports had for many years suggested
that Stanhopea wardii also occurred in Peru despite the fact that
it had never been collected in either Southern Colombia or Ecuador. Rudolph
Jenny received material and slides of an unknown plant collected in Peru
from Roger Kramer in Australia. While the flower was very similar to Stanhopea
wardii, careful examination revealed major differences from the known
clonal variations of that species. While reluctant to describe a new species
based on a single specimen, Jenny felt that given prior published material
about a seemingly different form of Stanhopea wardii from Moyombamba,
the differences were significant enough to publish it as a new species.
Whether it is a new species, or is an old segregate from Stanhopea
wardii that has disappeared in Ecuador and Southern Colombia is unknown.
Jenny agrees that Stanhopea greerii is very closely allied to Stanhopea
wardii and Stanhopea inodora.
This species is epiphytic in primary forest at 1,100m. The creeping
rhizome and clustered growths have oval pseudobulbs that are strongly
ribbed when aged and furrowed. The pseudobulbs are 4-6cm high and 3-4cm
wide and always unifoliate. The leaves are coarse and leathery, petiolate,
lanceolate, plicate and acute, 30-40cm long and 12-15 cm wide, petiole
round and one-sided notched, 10-12cm long. Consistent with other species
in this genus, the inflorescence grows downwards from the base of the
bulb, up to 15cm long and with 2-5 loosely arranged, pleasantly scented
flowers. The inflorescence is covered by large, spread out broadly triangular
and acute bracts. Flowers are 6-7cm in size with sepals and petals yellow
to golden yellow with fine red dots.
The Stanhopea greerii hypochile is orange-yellow without markings,
with sharply delimited, almost black eyespots,
mesochile and epichile white without spots. The column is white, dorsal
sepal is oval, concave, acute, 4-4.5cm long and 2-3cm wide in the middle,
lateral sepals lightly asymmetric, broadly lanceolate, acute, 4-5cm long
and 2.5-3cm wide at the broadest part in the basic third, folded backwards,
and petals are oblanceolate (inversely lanceolate with the point of attachment
at the tapering end), acute, undulate, 4-4.5cm long and 2cm wide in the
middle, folded backwards between dorsal and lateral sepals. The labellum
is 5cm long in all and 2 cm wide, hypochile distinctly narrower than epichile
(upper part of the jointed lip), saccate, flat at bottom, only slightly
dented, protruding toward mesochile, on top with distinct knee of 90°,
opening ovate, bridge at base narrow wide and towards front lightly triangularly
Stanhopea haselowiana Rchb.f. 1855 -- Perú was originally
published as Stanhopea haselhoffiana Allg. Gartenz. 23:322 1855
based on material collected by J. Warszewicz. This species is found in
the Cusco and San Martin Departments in Peru at 1,000-2,000m as an epiphyte
in wet, tropical forests on the eastern slopes of the Andes. Joseph Warscewicz,
a Lithuanian of Polish descent made several collecting trips to Central
and South America between 1840 and 1850, and many species bear his name.
This species is a spectacular, but sadly now rare species seldom seen
in collections. Three - five very large, heavy textured flowers with reflexed
sepals and petals that are white, pale grey (yellowish within) to pale
pink with pale and deep red-violet rings or spots. The dorsal sepal is
nearly 8cm. long and 3cm. wide, and the lateral sepals are slightly longer
and considerably wider than the dorsal sepal. Consistent with other members
of this genus, this species quite strongly scented. Initially, it is a
sweet, herbal mixture that becomes a strong, pleasant and penetrating
smell of myrrh.
Stanhopea moliana is said to be intermediate in form between Stanhopea
haselowiana and Stanhopea wardii.
Stanhopea Louis Bernier (haselowiana x wardii), was registered in
1970 by Marcel Lecoufle.
Stanhopea hernandezii (Kunth) Schltr. 1918 is the type species
for the genus and was first collected by Fernando Hernandez in Mexico
(then "New Spain" - Nuevo Espana) in the 1570's. A line drawing
of the species was pictured in Hernandez's De Rerum Medicarum Nova Hispaniae
Thesaurus, published in 1628, with the flower identified as "Coatzonte
Coxochitl". Kunth changed it to Anguloa hernandezii in 1815,
and Schlechter moved it to Stanhopea hernandezii in 1918.
Stanhopea hernandezii is found in Mexico and Guatemala, on the
southwestern side of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in the states of
Guerrero, Mexico, Michoacan and Morelos at 1,700-2,200m in moist forests
with a seasonal dry period. It is a semi-terrestrial or lithophyte in
shallow soils and humus over rock and in decaying leaf litter.
Typical of the genus, the flowers are relatively large (9cm across) with
heavy reddish spotting over a buff to cream background on the petals and
sepals. This species is in the Saccata section of Stanhopea
where the members have inflated hypochiles that are sack-like. Generally,
the inflorescence has 2-3 flowers carried on a short pendulous raceme.
The fragrance is difficult to describe but is a mixture of vanilla, herbs,
peppermint, and cinnamon, varies throughout the day sometimes appearing
to be similar to bubble gum. In this regard, it is quite different to
Stanhopea tigrina with which it is sometimes confused.
Stanhopea impressa Rolfe 1898 is found in Colombia and Ecuador.
Stanhopea impressa was first published by Robert Allan Rolfe in
Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information Kew 196 in 1898. His description
came for a specimen supposedly from Ecuador, and was published without
illustration. Jenny (1993) advises that the type specimen in the Kew herbarium
consists of a single leaf and an inflorescence of three flowers. The first
published drawing of the lip was done by Dodson (1975) and the first colour
picture was published in 1986.
It is a small to medium sized, hot to cool growing epiphyte or occasional
terrestrial on steep embankments roadsides, and among low bush vegetation
from southern Colombia and western Ecuador. It occurs in wet montane forests
on the western slopes of the Andes at 500-2,000.
The 10cm wide flowers are cream coloured to white and have a few sparse
reddish spots along the petals and more on the sepals, hypochile and column.
The centre portion of the flower is infused with an intense yellow-gold
colour. The fragrance of the flowers is similar to basil and is slightly
herb-like, with an undertone of moth balls.
Stanhopea inodora Loddiges ex Lindley 1870 is found in Mexico,
Belize and Nicaragua in wet montane forests on trees at 800-1,500m as
a medium sized, hot to cool growing epiphyte or occasional terrestrial
along roads on steep banks. This widely grown species has ribbed, sulcate
pseudobulbs enveloped basally by several dry sheaths and carrying a single,
apical, plicate, elliptic-lanceolate, gradually narrows below into the
elongate, petiolate base leaf. The pendulous inflorescence has several
to ten flowers in spring and summer with showy, fragrant flowers. Its
common name, the odourless Stanhopea ('inodora" means non-fragrant)
is somewhat of a misnomer as it does have a subtle fragrance. However,
many of the alba and white coloured forms have very faint perfume when
compared with other members of the genus, and perhaps this nomenclature
is understandable when compared with them. The forms from Belize seem
to be more strongly perfumed.
The flowers are large, sculptured pale lime to white with red specks on
the petals displaying full, showy blooms with red "eyes" and
golden colour labellum. The following photo shows a superior cultivar,
Stanhopea inodora 'Cinnamon'
The scent is herbal/spicy/medicinal with many undertones, and is stable
Stanhopea jenishiana Kramer ex Rchb.f. 1851. Found in Colombia,
Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, and possibly Costa Rica and Panama, this
species occurs on the western slopes of the Andes in montane areas with
a distinct dry season at 800-1,500m as a medium sized, hot to cool growing
epiphyte or occasional terrestrial. In Colombia, plants grow near Popayan
along the western slopes of the Andes at 800-1,500 m), as epiphytes in
seasonally dry, mountain cloud forests on steep slopes and road cuts,
but can also be found the ground in low scrubby vegetation. In Ecuador,
plants grow in seasonally dry, mountain cloud forest in El Oro Province
near Zarum at 1,300m and near Pacha at 1,400m. It was initially reported
as an epiphyte on tree trunks near Cuença, Ecuador, and has since
been found on the slopes from coastal Guayaquil to Cuença at 1,830
m). In Perú, plants have been cultivated at Iquitos, but in the
past were collected in tropical wet forest in the Department of Amazonas.
In Venezuela, plants have been collected at La Aguadita, near Las Delicias
(Edo. Táchira) at about 1,650 m on steep, shaded road banks. This
species was named for Jenisch, senator in Hamburg, and German orchid enthusiast
in the 2nd half of the 19th century.
The ribbed, globose pseudobulbs carry a single, apical, plicate leaf that
gradually narrows below into the elongate, channelled petiolate base.
Flowers are borne on a basal, pendant to lateral, racemose, 30cm, few
to several flowered inflorescence with large, chartaceous bracts. Flowering
is from mature pseudobulbs. Stanhopea jenishiana fragrance is mostly
methyl cinnamate. It is a warm fruity-floral scent lacking the tangy liquorice
component belonging to Stanhopea embreei.
This species is closely related to Stanhopea frymirei and Stanhopea
embreei. All three species can be found in Ecuador but not together
and their habitats do not overlap, so there are no natural hybrids. The
two species, Stanhopea frymirei and Stanhopea embreei have
very similar floral morphologies, nearly identical fragrances and share
some of the same pollinators. Stanhopea frymirei and Stanhopea
embreei both grow on the western side of the Andes, but at different
elevations. Stanhopea frymirei is found in the warm lowlands at
50 - 500 m, and Stanhopea embreei higher at 500-1,200m.
Stanhopea lietzei (Regel) Schlechter 1926 is found in coastal Brazil
(Rio de Janiero, Sao Paolo, Alagoas, Pernambuco, Parana, Santa Catarina,
Rio do Sul) and is also reported from northern Argentina. This species
is a medium sized, hot to warm growing lithophyte or epiphyte that occurs
in the southeast Atlantic forests of Brazil at 100-800m in very humid
and shady locations with a distinct dry season in the winter. Growing
as a lithophyte on rocks, often in large clumps that have expanded over
time in leaf litter and humus, it is found in semi-deciduous, lowland
mesophytic forests in Santa Catarina, Espirito Santo and Minas Gerias.
This species was initially published in 1891 by Regel under the name Stanhopea
graveolens var. lietzei, however in 1926; Schlechter distinguished
it as a valid species. The flowers are golden yellow with red markings.
Naumann notes that it is found in northern Argentina, Salta and Jujuy
Stanhopea x Lewisae (Ames & Correll) Horich ex Jenny 1988 (1942)
is a natural hybrid from Guatemala. It was originally identified as a
species by Ames & Correll (1953 who named it after Margaret Ward Lewis
who first collected it in Guatemala (Dept. Izabal, Los Andes District,
near Entre Rios) on June 12, 1935. It was later recognized as a natural
hybrid of Stanhopea ecornuta and Stanhopea inodora. This
orchid grows between 0-100m in very humid, lowland forests.
The plant is described as a small monophyllous pseudobulb with a pendent
several-flowered inflorescence carrying 3-5-flowers, drooping from the
base of the pseudobulb and covered with dry hard imbricating bracts. The
flowers are large, showy, creamy white with purple or reddish flecks,
with slightly triangular papillose pedicellate ovaries. The dorsal sepal
is oblong-elliptic, and the lateral sepals are oblique, ovate-elliptic
and deeply concave. The petals are slightly oblique, ovate-lanceolate,
acute to shortly acuminate. The labellum is fleshy and rigid with a glossy
wax-like appearance, 4-4.5 cm. long, complex in structure with the basal
half deep yellow with striations of purple flecks. The upper front section
is very fleshy. The column is flat, somewhat arcuate, lightly winged above.
This natural hybrid is distinguished from other species by the extremely
short lateral horns on the lip, about 6mm, and the rigid apical portion
of the lip. However, as is often the case, its recognition as a natural
hybrid is the subject of considerable debate with some regarding it as
a paler form of Stanhopea insignis.
Stanhopea maculosa Knowles et Westcott 1839 known locally as "Torito"
(bull) is endemic to Mexico and can be found near the southwest Pacific
coast and slopes of the Sierra Madre del Sur, Sierra Madre Occidental
and the Volcanic Belt, in Sonora, Sinaloa, Durango, Nayarit, Jalisco,
Colima, Michoacan, and Guerrero at 1,000-1,800m as a medium sized, warm
The pseudobulbs are ovoid, and the intensely apricot-scented flowers are
large, cream to yellow and reddish-brown to orange blotched and borne
on a pendant short inflorescence. Typical of the genus, flowers are short-lived,
and the species requires a distinct winter/spring dry season to bloom.
This species is closely related to Stanhopea hernandezii and Stanhopea
The Arizona Desert Museum has an interesting discussion about this species.
Apparently, it is "known in Sonora from one very large colony with
hundreds of pseudobulbs on the lip of a huge boulder of a cliff face in
the bottom of a moist canyon in the Sierra Saharibo west of Rancho Santa
Bárbara, among oak forest at 1,160 m. The tropical evergreen canyon
bottom vegetation includes Magnolia pacifica, Platanus wrightii, Oreopanax
peltatum, Cornus disciflora, Urera carascana, and Clethra lanata,
and closely associated with Cuphea hookeriana, Senecio tepopana,
and Tillandsia cretacea. Also occurs in Colima and Michoacán
and is expected in Sinaloa.
Unlike all other known species that grow in wet tropical forests, Stanhopea
maculosa will not flower unless it experiences a spring dry period.
Our species lives in an area with a nine-month dry season, yet it is obviously
a mesic orchid. This fact probably explains why it is restricted to the
very moist microhabitat of Arroyo Verde. The species has been in cultivation
for many years, where it is the only species of about 30 in the genus
that seems to require a spring dry rest in order to bloom.
Stanhopea maduroi Dodson &
Dressler 1998 is a recently named species. It was previously identified
as Stanhopea platyceras fma. gunnii by Jenny. Jenny wrote
"If you put a platyceras in alcohol, it looks very much the
same but the hypochile is a bit shorter and broader." The flower
is concolor yellow and the lip is very similar to that of Stanhopea
platyceras. Apparently, the type plants were "collected"
(purchased in the weekly plant market) in El Valle de Anton, Panama, and
it is named after Andres Maduro, a Panamanian orchidist and owner of Finca
Dracula. With only three clones known, it is arguably one of the rarest
An article in the Australian Orchid Review by Rudolph Jenny and David
Banks referred to a slide provided by Ron Parsons of a pure yellow Stanhopea
collected by the late Henry Butcher, allegedly in northern Colombia close
to the border of Panama. It was named Stanhopea platyceras alba.
Jenny says that he wasn't able to identify the species, so just filed
it away. Some years later, Ron Parsons sent some more slides of an unspotted
yellow Stanhopea for identification that had been flowered by Howard
Gunn in Sacramento, California USA. Jenny later received pickled flowers
and when compared with Stanhopea platyceras, realised that it could
be an anthocyanin-free form of this species. As it was unclear whether
the two plants in the photos were exceptions of part of a population,
if was described in 1997 as Stanhopea platyceras fma. gunnii.
Then, in 1998, a third plant was described as Stanhopea maduroi
by Dodson and Dressler in Orquideologia. This plant was collected in 1985
by Andres Maduro, a Panamanian orchidist, in El Valle in Panama and described
by the authors as a species in his honour. The comparison shows very clearly
that Stanhopea maduroi is absolutely identical with the concept
of Stanhopea platyceras f. gunnii. The flower is pure yellow;
the form of the lip is very close to Stanhopea platyceras, deeply
saccate with broad horns. If you put a flower of Stanhopea platyceras
in alcohol, it looks very much the same as Stanhopea maduroi but
the hypochile is a bit shorter and broader. After careful comparison of
the available material Jenny concurred that Dodson and Dressler are correct
in treating this plant at specific level and not as an aberrant colour
form of Stanhopea platyceras.
It is found at 500-1,500m in Panama and Colombia. This species has been
collected once in El Valle de Anton in Panama and twice in northern Colombia,
close to the border of Panama.
Stanhopea manriqueii Jenny & Nauray 2004 This new species was
described in 2004 by Rudolf Jenny and William Nauray, and published in
the journal Lankesteriana. Is found in Peru, and was named for Alfredo
Manrique, past-president of Club Peruano de Orquídeas (2001-05)
and owner of Centro de Jardineria Manrique, Lima. Manrique is an agronomist
from Universidad Agraria la Molina, Lima, but is better-known for his
association with Phragmipedium kovachii. The flowers are a deep
golden yellow, evenly spotted dark red, with red flush on hypochile.
Stanhopea marizaiana Jenny 2003 was published by Dr. Rudolf Jenny
in August 2003. It is found in the Cusco region of Peru, and is related
to Stanhopea deltoidea that is endemic to the Chanchamayo Valley
in Peru. The two species have identical mesochiles and epichiles, while
the main variance is the shape and size of the hypochile. According to
Jenny, the hypochile of Stanhopea marizaiana is "large and
massive...as broad as the mesochile [horns]." By comparison, the
hypochile of Stanhopea deltoidea is small and narrow, approximately
1/3 the width of the mesochile. Physically, the species is small and compact
in growth, with rounded leaves and with a growth habit similar to Stanhopea
The original plant was noticed by Isaias Rolando, an orchidist from Lima,
Peru who is responsible for the Peruvian Orchid Club website, www.peruorchids.com.
Collected in November 2001 by Moises Quispe at an altitude of 1,800-2,200
m, it flowered in autumn 2002 with flowers that were 11-12 cm across.
The colour is described as beige with sepals and petals uniformly covered
with small, red to red-brown spots. The inside of the hypochile is red,
and the horns and epichile are covered with speckles, rather than spots.
The species was named for the collector's late wife Mariza Rolando.
Stanhopea martiana Bateman ex Lindley 1840. This species from the
Nayarit, Jalisco, Guerrero and Oaxaca states of Mexico is found as a medium
sized, cool to hot growing lithophyte on rocks in open oak forests in
the lower coastal mountains from Tepic to Oaxaca 1,200 to 2,100m. It is
similar to Stanhopea hernandezii and Williams and Whitten (1999),
University of Florida, Gainesville, noted that Stanhopea martiana
is "morphologically similar to Stanhopea tigrina Bateman ex
Lindley, but differing in floral fragrances" and "forms an independent
clade." Index Kewensis also lists Stanhopea martiana var.
bicolor Lindl., published in Edward's Botanical Register 29: tab.
Stanhopea martiana is very showy species, but is
not common in culture but grows in intermediate to cool conditions. In
vegetative form, it has few, clustered, ovoid, deeply rugose pseudobulbs
enveloped partially below by scarious bracts that become fibrous with
age and carrying a single, apical, elliptic, plicate, acuminate, erect,
gradually narrowing below in to the stout petiole. It blooms in its natural
habitat in late spring and summer on a pendant, often 2 flowered, to 20
cm long inflorescence with ovate clasping bracts and narrower floral bracts
and has waxy, large, fragrant flowers.
Stanhopea napoensis Dodson 1975. Found on the hot, humid, Amazonian
lowlands and eastern slopes of the Andes in Ecuador near Napo at elevations
around 400 m in very wet montane forests, this species is a medium sized,
hot to cool growing epiphyte with a short rhizome, pyriform, sulcate,
dark green pseudobulbs carrying a single, apical, large elliptic, plicate
leaf that gradually narrows below into the elongate, channelled petiolate
towards the base. It flowers in spring on a basal, 12.5 cm long, few flowered
inflorescence arising from a mature pseudobulb and enveloped completely
by large, inflated chartaceous bracts. This species was originally published
by Calaway H. Dodson (1975) in: Selbyana, 1(2): 114--129.
This rarely seen species has very large flowers up to 23cm with distinctive
markings and deep purple spotting coloration in the bowing hypochile
Stanhopea naurayi Jenny 2005 is found in Peru, although the actual
location and habitat details have not been published, perhaps to protect
this population from collection. It is one of the most recent species
of Stanhopea to be published, and information is scarce. However,
it was originally collected by Alfredo Manrique in 2002, in Dept. Puno,
Peru; and flowered in cultivation. IPNI lists D. E. Bennett as collector,
specimen B-7989. Herbarium sheets: Holotype MOL, isotype Heb. Jenny.
It is named for William Nauray Huari, the artist of Fig. 1 in the original
publication in Lankesteriana. He is a Peruvian national and Ph.D. candidate
at Universitat de Girona (Spain) working under Prof. Norma Salinas Revilla.
His research project was "Systematic and biogeography of the genus
Telipogon Kunth". Nauray earned a BSc in biology and an MSc
in botany at the National University of Cusco, and as a student, studied
the orchids of Wiñay Wayna, an orchid-rich, cloud-forest portion
of the historical sanctuary of Machu Picchu, and contributed to the Cesar
Vargas Herbarium (CUZ) at the University of Cuzco. He is a co-author of
the book "Orchids of Machu Picchu."
Stanhopea nigripes Rolfe 1894 is found in Peru in wet montane rain
forest in the Departments of Amazonas, Huánuco, and Pasco at 800
to 1,900m. It is a medium sized, warm to cool growing epiphyte. This species
first flowered in Kew in the 1890's, although it appears that its origin
was unknown at the time, and that single plant was the only example that
could be studied. It was originally published in the Bulletin of Miscellaneous
Information, Royal Gardens, Kew [Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew]: p.364.
Stanhopea nigripes has an ovoid-pyriform, sulcate pseudobulb subtended
by 4 to 6 basal, scarious bracts and a single, apical, lanceolate, attenuate
to the stout, terete petiole, coriaceous, acuminate, glossy dark green
leaf. It blooms on pendant 10 cm one to seven flowered inflorescence arising
from mature pseudobulbs. The flowers are dark cream in colour with darker
overlapping petals and very large, distinct black "eyes". The
perfume is quite unusual as it is reminiscent of strong and penetrating
Unusually, this species is not included in Charles Schweinfurth's 1960
publication, Orchids of Peru, published in Fieldiana: Botany that list
only eight Stanhopea species, one of which (Stan. randii)
is no longer considered valid (now Stan. candida). The orchids
of Peru are currently being reconsidered by Calaway H. Dodson and David
E. Bennett Jr. in the Orchids of Peru: Icones Plantarum Tropicarum, Series
II , published by the Missouri Botanical Garden. David E. Bennett
also collaborated with Eric A. Christenson in producing the Icones Orchidacearum
Peruviarum, in which Stanhopea nigripes is presented as plate 577.
Stanhopea nigroviolacea Morren ex Beer 1854 is found in Mexico
in heavy rainfall forests on the eastern slopes of the
Mexican Plateau up to 2,000 m. It was first reported as collected near
Xalapa, Veracruz at 1,000-1,300 m. There is some question as to whether
or not Stanhopea nigroviolacea is valid as a separate species.
Dr. Rudolf Jenny considers it to be a dark-coloured variant of Stanhopea
tigrina Bateman ex Lindley. "For now, Stan. nigroviolacea
should be maintained as a variety of Stan. tigrina, this based
on the illustration by Morren and the indications by Kennedy in 1977"
(Jenny 1999). As is often the case, debate continues between taxonomists
on this matter. Collections of both Stanhopea tigrina and Stanhopea
tigrina var. nigroviolacea have been made near Veracruz and
near Orizaba. Some of the confusion arose because early authors reported
the species in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Brazil. Cogniaux (1893-1906)
reported that plants were found near Caracas, Venezuela, and in Colombia
near Bogota, but more contemporary authors have not supported the occurrence
of Stanhopea tigrina outside of Mexico.
Kennedy (1997) does not support the classification of Stanhopea nigroviolacea
as a variety of Stanhopea tigrina. In his view, the differences
between Stanhopea tigrina and Stanhopea nigroviolacea are
significant. In particular, he writes of Stanhopea nigroviolacea
"...petals largely of a solid maroon colour; the hypochile is very
much thicker [rounded and bulbous] than Stanhopea. tigrina, the
horns surrounding the epichile are substantially thicker, the column is
much less arched, and it accepts a somewhat smaller pollinator than Bateman's
Stanhopea tigrina." Yet Kennedy's work was used by Jenny 1999
to argue for its classification as a variety of Stanhopea tigrina
which seems curious.
Kennedy explained the taxonomic history thus: "This plant [with dominant
maroon petals and deep hypochile] was originally described as Stanhopea
tigrina var. nigroviolacea [by] Morren...1845... It was later
elevated to specific rank, Stanhopea nigroviolacea (Morr.) Beer
[in] 1854." Auguste Morren was known for his work on algaes
(1804-1870; source: IPNI). Johann Georg Beer was an Austrian taxonomist
(1803-1873; source: IPNI).
This large, showy and fragrant species blooms in the summer, and given
the outstanding colour, is one of the most
recognisable members of the genus.
Stanhopea novogaliciana S.Rosillo de Velasco
1984 is found in the states of Nayarit and Jalisco in Mexico. The type
specimen was collected near Ameca in Jalisco at about 1,550 m) and was
growing in deep shade in a deep, narrow gorge which narrowed to only about
5m wide. It was in this very narrow crevice that Stanhopea novogaliciana
was found. This orchid, which may be epiphytic or lithophytic, grows in
the same area as Stanhopea intermedia. These plants have also been
found near Tepic in Nayarit. Other than this limited information, little
has been published.
Stanhopea oculata (Lodd.) Lindley 1832. This well-known and relatively
common species comes from Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador,
Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, northern South America and Brazil. The
Mexican habitat is the eastern slopes of the Mexican Plateau from the
States of Puebla and Veracruz into the intermountain regions of Chiapas.
In Belize, plants are found on trees, stumps, rotten logs, or rocks in
wet broad-leaved forests in the Cayo and Toledo Districts at 400-750m.
In Guatemala, the species is found in humid forests as an epiphyte on
trees or on rocky ground at 1,500 m) near Cobán in Alta Verapaz,
and also may be found in coastal regions along the Pacific slope in Guatemala.
In El Salvador, plants grow in the Department of Santa Ana on Cerro Montecristo
at 1,600-2,000 m, while in Nicaragua, it can be found in Nueva Segovia
Province where epiphytic plants were collected from trees on Cerro El
Sangarro and between Ocotal and Jalapa at 960 m. In Panama, Stanhopea
occulata is found in Coclé Province at1,000m in wet highland
forests high in the canopy of tall trees. In Venezuela, plants were found
at Caripe at about 910m, and between Guácharo Cave and San Francisco
in the same habitat as Stanhopea wardii. In Brazil, these plants
are found only at lower elevations in the State of Amazonas.
Most habitat listings include Mexico, including the states of Chiapas,
Michoacan, Vera Cruz, and Puebla, but McVaugh (1986) indicates that reports
of this species from western Mexico is probably based on the misidentification
of Stanhopea maculosa. He states, "According to Dodson (1963),
true Stanhopea oculata is found from Puebla and Veracruz to Central
America." However, Kennedy (1975) illustrated a Stanhopea oculata
found at 1,830m, 16 km southwest of Taxco in Guerrero, Mexico.
It is another variable species, with substantial variation in colour (from
bright yellow to buff), size and colour of spotting on petals and sepals
with most having torus shaped (like the letter O) red to purple coloured
spots. Some forms have a many intense red to purple spots on the upper
hypochile and the epichile. This is one of the easiest Stanhopea
species to grow in a shadehouse provided high humidity can be provided
The best known characteristics used in identifying this species are the
narrow hypochile that is bent at a 90 degree angle, and several dark red
eye spots along the hypochile and base of the petals. The eye spots are
what provide us with the epithet "oculata" meaning eyes in Latin.
This species is well known for its fragrance that has been described as
vanilla with mint and a hint of cocoa. As with many of the genus, the
fragrance is strong and can be overpowering in a confined space.
Stanhopea ospinae Dodson 1967 is found in Colombia, endemic to
the area of Fusagasuga in the Department of Cundinamarca in Colombia as
an epiphyte at approx. 1,800 m in moist cloud forest. This species was
originally published in Orquideologia; Revista de la Sociedad Colombiana
de Orquieologia, Medellin; no. 4:19 (1967).
Jenny (1993) says the plant was "discovered by Dodson in 1965 in
the collection of Dona Ospina in Fusagasuga" and named for her (note
the feminine -ae ending). He considers that the species is "closely
related to Stanhopea gibbosa from Costa Rica but differs from this
by the form of the hypochile." The flowers are yellow-orange to pale
orange, hypochile darker, with distinct dark eye spot. Sepals and petals
have small, randomly scattered, burgundy spots. Horns are short and plump.
Stanhopea panamensis N.H. Williams & W.M. Whitten 1988 is found
in Panama. Plants were originally as epiphytes on moist rainforest trees
around Cero Campana, approximately 80 km south of Panama City 900m. The
species is a medium sized, warm growing epiphyte with oval, strongly ribbed
and furrowed with age pseudobulbs carrying a single, apical, coarse, leathery,
plicate, lanceolate, acute, gradually narrowing below into the channelled,
petiolate base leaf that blooms in the mid-summer through early winter
on a pendent, basal, to 8" [to 20 cm] long, loosely 3 to 7 flowered
inflorescence enveloped by large, spread, broadly triangular, acute floral
bracts and carrying fragrant flowers.
This species is often cited as a synonym of Stanhopea occulata but
differs in having a less sharply angled hypochile, has a different scent
and there is no eye spot although there may be patterning. This species
has a strong mint scent and showy, cream-colored flowers with reddish
spots. While Stanhopea panamensis was originally described as endemic
to Panama, plants have since been reported in Colombia. It appears that
the species was known and discussed prior to 1983, but not formally described
Stanhopea peruviana Rolfe 1912. Found in the Huanuco department
of Peru at 950-1,000m., this species was originally published in Botanical
Magazine 1912, and is often confused with Stanhopea pozoi.
It is a very attractive species with closely spaced (but not crowded)
flowers on relatively short to medium length inflorescences. Sepals and
petals are yellow-gold, with or without spots. The lip is predominantly
white to cream, and has two large, dark eye spots on the hypochile. The
horns arising from the mesochile are short, sturdy, and curved. The epichile
is wide, heart-shaped, and longer than the column. The column has wide,
rounded wings and can be speckled. It has a wonderful rich, spicy chocolate
scent. When well grown, this species forms large, specimen plants.
Rchb.f. 1868 is found in Narino and Antioquia areas of Colombia at 1,000
to 1,500m. It was previously identified as Stanhopea madouxiana
Cogn. and is a large, warm to cool growing, epiphytic species that requires
good air circulation, wet humid conditions and deep shade. Jenny (1993-Orchid
Digest) asserts that all discoveries came from the Departments of Antioquia
and Narino at 1,000-1,500m), however Hernandez (1958) reports that this
species is found on the humid slopes in the Departments of Tolima and
Huila and the Commisaryship of Caquetá at about 2,000m.
The plant is a large robust species with ovoid-pyriform pseudobulbs carrying
a single, apical, elliptic, acute, longly petiolate, plicate leaves blooming
in the fall on a pendulous, 2 -7 flowered,15 cm inflorescence subtended
by large, chartaceous, oblong ovate bracts and giving rise to large, fragrant,
waxy flowers. This species is seldom seen in collections.
Stanhopea posadae Jenny et Braem 2000. is a relatively recently
discovered species from Colombia. It was described by Rodrigo Escobar
in the publication "Native Orchids of Colombia" in 1992 and
is named for the Colombian orchid grower, Juan Felipe Posada of Medellín.
While a very desirable species, it is seldom seen in collections.
A medium sized, cool growing epiphyte, this species has ovate, longitudinally
grooved with age pseudobulbs that carry a single, apical, plicate, lanceolate,
acuminate, gradually narrowing below into the terete, channelled, petiolate
base leaf. They bloom in summer on a basal, pendant, to 30 cm long, 4
to 12 flowered inflorescence with large, spread, broadly triangular, acute
floral bracts carrying up to 12, fragrant flowers. The striking yellow
flowers with dark burgundy spotting have a herbal or spicy perfume with
sharp undertones that is very long lasting.
The original specimen upon which the recently published description was
based, was collected by Rudolf Jenny on 22 July 1993. The holotype was
filed in Geneva at the herbarium of the Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques
de la Ville de Genève.
Stanhopea pozoi Dodson & D.E. Bennett 1989 is an Ecuadorian
and Peruvian medium sized, hot growing epiphytic species found at 800-1,000m
in wet montane forests on the western slopes of the Andes. It has ovoid,
sulcate pseudobulbs carrying a single, apical, plicate, obtuse, gradually
narrowing below into the elongate, channelled, petiolate base leaf. Flowering
in late summer or early autumn, it has a pendant, basal, 3 to 5 flowered
inflorescence subtended by large, chartaceous bracts. The large, yellow-orange
waxy flowers with red-brown blotches or "eyes" on the labellum
are pleasantly fragrant.
In Peru, plants were collected in the Department of Huanuco growing in
wet mountain forest at 950 m, and have also been found on the eastern
slopes of the Andes in southern Ecuador on the Peru border. This species
was originally published in Icones Plantarum Tropicarum fasc. 2, t. 177.
Stanhopea pseudoradiosa Jenny & R. González 1997. Found
in Guerrero, Colima and Oaxaca States of Mexico on the western slopes
as an epiphyte in oak, oak-pine and tropical sub deciduous forests at
750-1,300m, it is a medium sized, cool to warm growing species with oval,
strongly ribbed, furrowed with age pseudobulbs carrying a single, coarse
, leathery, lanceolate, plicate, acute, gradually narrowing below into
the channelled, petiolate base leaf. Flowering in summer, the pendent,
basal, 20 cm loosely 2 to 5 flowered inflorescence is enveloped by spread,
large, broadly triangular, acute floral bracts. The flowers are fragrant
This species differs from Stanhopea radiosa as the hypochile is
less deeply saccate and has a very narrow opening; the horns are elongate,
triangular and not oblanceolate; and it has a free tooth-like callus on
the base of the epichile.
Stanhopea pulla Rchb.f. 1877. Found in Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia.
In Colombia, the species occurs in very hot, moist habitats at 100-800m,
especially in the Department of Choco. The species is rare in Costa Rica,
but was reported by Holrich (1974) from a single specimen on the base
of a tree in roots and rocks on a semi-vertical, heavily jungle covered
rock wall along a tributary of the Reventazon River close to Cervantes
at 1000 m. Later, a few widely dispersed plants were later found on the
Caribbean watershed, east and southeast of Turrialba at El Alto de las
Varas and Grano de Oro at 500-700m.
The species is much more common in Panama where it can be found at sea
level in the Canal Zone in the vicinity of Gatún. Plants also grow
in Coclé Province in El Valle de Antón at 800m, and in Veraguas
Province in the region west of Santa Fé at 760-910 m. In this region,
the plants grow on both the Atlantic slopes and in adjacent high-rainfall
areas of the Pacific watershed
It is a medium sized, hot to warm growing epiphyte with ovoid to pyriform,
sulcate pseudobulbs with fibery, basal bracts with a single, apical, elliptic,
plicate, ribbed, gradually narrowing below into the elongate, petiolate
base leaf. Flowers are borne on a short, lateral inflorescence that grows
across the surface of the media before becoming pendant. One or-two small
fragrant flowers which lack the elegant horns which are so prominent in
most of the other Stanhopea species arise from the mature pseudobulb in
autumn as a new growth appears. This species requires less light than
most of the genus.
Stanhopea radiosa Lemaire 1859-1860 is found along the north Pacific
coast of Nayarit, Jalisco and Oaxaca states of Mexico, on rocks or trees
in oak and pine-oak forests and deciduous tropical forests at 200-1,500m.
Plants have been found near Tepic, between Tepic and Jalcocotán,
near the towns of Mascota, Talpa, and Los Pericos near Caule, on the south
side of Sierra de Manantlán, on the seaward-facing slopes southwest
of Autlán, on a coffee plantation northeast of Pihuamo, and between
Pihuamo and Colima at 760m.
Stanhopea reichenbachiana Roezl ex Rchb.f. 1879
is found in Colombia and Ecuador. In Colombia, the species has been collected
from Western Cordillera in the Rio Cauca basin. In this habitat, Stanhopea
reichenbachiana is epiphytic, lithophytic, or semi-terrestrial in
warm, wet rainforests, often in inaccessible locations and on deforested
cliffs and banks at 500-1,000m. This warm-growing species with ivory/white
waxy flowers is often mistaken for Stanhopea candida, Stanhopea grandiflora,
or Stanhopea inodora. The large porcelain ivory/white flowers
have a spicy sweet smell.
The species was originally described by the younger Reichenbach and renamed
by Benedikt Roezl. Synonyms include:
Stanhopea amesiana Hort, Stanhopea lowii Rolfe, and possibly
Stanhopea suavis Ospina. Stanhopea reichenbachiana
is not considered to be one of the 'primitive Stanhopea', but it
has very abbreviated horns. Based on the open lip morphology that does
not restrict the size or shape of pollinators, it is likely that there
are natural hybrids.
Stanhopea ruckeri Lindley 1843 is reported from Mexico and Nicaragua,
where it can be found as an epiphyte in wet mountain forests at 450-1,400m.
Other authors report that it can be found in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala
and Honduras, although here are no reported collections from these countries.
Kennedy (1975) reported that in Mexico plants apparently grow in Veracruz
near Fortin de Las Flores, but the published literature including Kennedy
(1975) and Williams (1951) has no instances where the author has actually
sighted material collected in Mexico.
This is another Stanhopea species shrouded in mystery and in 1963,
Calaway Dodson suggested in the article "The Mexican Stanhopeas"
that Stanhopea ruckeri is in fact a natural hybrid of Stanhopea
oculata and Stanhopea wardii. He writes that the specimen at
the British Museum, labelled Stanhopea ruckeri by Lindley contains
two inflorescences, one of Stanhopea oculata and one of an intermediate
between Stanhopea wardii and Stanhopea oculata. This appears
to leave a group of variable hybrids between Stanhopea oculata and
Stanhopea wardii. As there is no name to apply to them, it might be
a reasonable approach to apply the name "Stanhopea x ruckeri"
to the whole group. Roger Kramer writing in Orchids Australia, Volume
12, No. 4, August 2000 says "This species is only relatively new
in cultivation even though it was described in 1843. However, there seems
to be some confusion as to what is and what is not Stanhopea ruckeri."
Stanhopea ruckeri, like many of the members of the genus, is quite
variable. Some forms are more or less spotted, while there are also alba
forms that have no red colouration in the flower, while others are more
ivory - yellow. Its fragrance is a light cinnamon scent, consistent with
the fragrance study done that includes the pheromones trans-cinnamaldehyde,
cinnamyl-alcohol, and cinnamyl-acetate. These provide a fragrance that
is similar to a candy known in the USA as "Hot Tamales", and
the flowers have a similar fragrance to the candy.
Stanhopea schilleriana Rchb.f. 1870 from Antioquia Colombia at
2,200 meters is generally found growing on wet rocks. The actual location
has not been published which is somewhat surprising given this species
was first identified nearly 150 years ago. It is a medium sized, cold
growing lithophyte with ovate, strongly ribbed and furrowed pseudobulbs.
The single apical, erect leathery leaf narrows to channelled petiolate
base. Consistent with most of the genus, blooming occurs on a basal, pendent,
to 25 cm loosely bunched 6 - 10 flowered inflorescence with large broadly
triangular, acute floral bracts. Flowers are pleasantly fragrant. Information
about this species is at best sparse.
Stanhopea x thienii Dodson 1980 is thought to be a natural hybrid
of Stanhopea impressa and Stanhopea annulata. The natural
hybrid was discovered by Calway Dodson and Dr. Leonard B. Thien in wet
cloud forest in western Colombian in 1962. While the natural hybrid has
only been reported from Ecuador, both parents also grow in Colombia (Stanhopea
x thienii is the only known natural hybrid involving Stanhopea
impressa). Calaway Dodson (1975) wrote that both Stanhopea impressa
and Stanhopea annulata are pollinated by the same bee, Euglossa
Stanhopea tigrina Bateman ex Lindley 1838, a cool to warm growing
Mexican species is the subject of continuing and often robust debate between
The best known variety is Stanhopea tigrina var. nigroviolacea,
although commonly it is now treated as a species in its own right (see
earlier discussion in this series). The RHS accepts only Stanhopea
tigrina and Stanhopea tigrina var. nigroviolacea. The
latter is one of the most common Stanhopea in cultivation while
Stanhopea tigrina is now rarely seen. Accordingly, I have attempted
to find reliable photos of the lesser known forms rather than the well-known
ox-blood Stanhopea tigrina var. nigroviolacea. The original
illustration by Bateman was of a 'tiger-stripe' flower
distinctly different to the much later described Stanhopea tigrina
var. nigroviolacea (1854).The following photos show other forms
where the yellow petals and sepals with some red blotching are dominant,
the second photo an albinistic form, and the third image shows the 'tiger
stripes' referred to by early taxonomists.
Stanhopea tigrina is a medium sized, epiphytic species on oak trees
in the well-watered, thick forests of the eastern slope of the Mexican
Plateau at 600 to 1,700m. It has ovoid, slightly compressed, dark green
pseudobulbs carrying a single apical dark green leaf, and blooms on a
pendulous, 2 to 8 flowered, 15 cm inflorescences that are subtended by
large, chartaceous bracts. The flowers are large, pleasantly fragrant
and are borne in summer and autumn.
Stanhopea tigrina var. nigroviolacea and its many cultivars
most often photographed have exceptionally dark colouring and unusual
petal and sepal shapes.
Stanhopea tricornis Lindley 1849 is found in Colombia, Ecuador
and Peru in tropical wet and wet montane lowland cloud forests on the
western slopes of the Andes at sea level to 1,200m. It is a small to medium
sized, hot to warm growing epiphyte or terrestrial generally growing on
steep embankments. It has ovate, ribbed, dark green pseudobulbs carrying
a single apical leaf. Blooming in winter through to summer, flowers are
carried on a short 15 cm racemose, 2-3 flowered inflorescences arising
from mature pseudobulbs and enveloped by large chartaceous bracts. It
is a very distinctive Stanhopea, and therefore easily identified. The
white to cream fragrant flowers have pale to bright yellow markings on
the end of the lip, sepals, and petals. The petals clasp the column and
lip and the lip has three horns (giving rise to the name).
Experienced growers warn that this species requires heavy shade, good
air circulation and a hot, moist tropical environment to survive. The
flowers have heavy, waxy substance, and sepals will snap off if you attempt
to fully open the flower.
Stanhopea tricornis subsp. stenochila is a recognised subspecies
that has small magenta spots or speckles on the base (bottom) of the lip
(hypochile), and sometimes at the base of petals and sepals.
There is a school of thought that Stanhopea tricornis may be a
hybrid between a species of Sievekingia and Stanhopea (Curry
et al. 1991) but this view is not widely accepted.
Stanhopea wardii Lodd. ex Lindley 1838 variously reported to be
from Mexico, Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia,
Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru is one of the most common members of
the genus in collections. However, there is substantial disagreement between
authors about the northern extent of habitat range. Current opinion is
that this species is only found south of Honduras.
First collected near Caracas, Venezuela and then elsewhere including the
National Park in the District of Aragua at 800-1,800.m. In Colombia, the
species is found in the north at 1,800-2,500m, while in Costa Rica, it
occurs on the Costa Rican Meseta Central, east and southeast of Cartago
and the adjacent Reventazon area at 1,350 m) where it grows on old trees
covered with Spanish moss and masses of Bromeliad, particularly
Tillandsia. In Panama, this species is common in the intermediate
highlands on the Pacific slope of Coclé and Chiriquí Provinces
at 550-1,220 m). Plants collected in El Salvador near Boquerón
and in the Cerro Grande de Apaneca at 1,500m) were originally identified
as Stanhopea wardii by Hamer (1964), but later in 1970, he advised
that they were actually Stanhopea graveolens.
Stanhopea wardii is a medium sized, hot to warm growing epiphyte
found growing on trees and on rocks in humid cloud forests from 800 -
2,700m. A distinctive feature of this species is a powerful, yet pleasant
fragrance. The species blooms in summer through autumn on a pendant, 3
to 10 flowered, 15 to 18cm, crowded inflorescence arising from a mature
pseudobulb. Flowers have a spicy scent and dramatically coloured flowers.
Sepals and petals are yellow to yellow-orange, occasionally greenish-yellow.
The hypochile is yellow to yellow orange, while the mesochile and epichile
are cream to yellow. There are fine spots on the sepals, petals, epichile
and column; only rarely is the hypochile stippled. There are no "eyes"
on the petals or sepals, only on the hypochile. The column is usually
greenish white. Flowers last from 2-4 days, and this species is pollinated
by the Eulaema polychroma bee.
Stanhopea warscewicziana Klotzsch
1852 occurs in the Atlantic (Caribbean) lowlands of Costa Rica, from sea
level 1000 m. Dressler describes it "Hypochile globose in profile;
greenish cream color, horns and epichile white, base of lip may have dark
purple eyes, column and epichile may be speckled with red." Barney
Greer wrote that this species "grows huge and lush in the wet tropical
jungles of Costa Rica" and "In Australia, it grows best in a
warm glasshouse down to 14 deg.C with up to eight flowers per inflorescence."
This species is shown on the cover of his book, "The Astonishing
Stanhopeas." Andres Maduro believes that this species may be
found in Panama.
It is a medium sized, hot to warm growing epiphyte found in Costa Rica
and western Panama in very wet tropical rain forests at elevations from
sea level to 1,400m. Flowering in summer, the up to eight-flowered inflorescence
is short-lived. There is also a concolor-yellow form described.
Stanhopea whittenii Soto Arenas, Salazar & G.Gerlach 2002 is
found in the Chipas state of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize as a medium sized,
hot to warm growing epiphyte in Chiapas state of Mexico, Guatemala and
Belize in lowland and lower montane rainforests at 300-1,500m. The 2-4
flowered inflorescence has simultaneously opening, pleasantly fragrant
This species was named for Dr. Wm. Mark Whitten, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville,
a specialist in the biology and classification of the subtribe Stanhopinae.
He collected the original specimen in 1987, and it was flowered by Gerardo
Salazar, and Miguel Soto in 2005: The flowers are pale cream, lightly
spotted with red-purple; proximal half of hypochile bright orange, with
a pair of dark purple eyespots.
According to Soto Arenas (2002), this species grows as an epiphyte in
lowland and lower montane rainforest and flowers from July to September.
It is the commonest Stanhopea species in the Selva Lacandona where
it is sometimes found with Stanhopea graveolens, S. inodora, S. oculata,
and S. dodsoniana.
Stanhopea whittenii is distinguished from Stanhopea oculata
by its fewer flowers (2-3 in the wild), and massive hypochile with a broader,
shorter, bright orange base. It is often found at lower elevation than
Stanhopea oculata. Fragrance is similar to, but stronger than both
Stanhopea oculata and Stanhopea dodsoniana, and it has a
touch of cinnamon-scent as well (trans-methyl cinnamate).
In 2003, Soto Arenas noted that it is also found in Alta Verapaz and is
confused with Stanhopea ruckeri from Nicaragua. He examined specimens
from the collections of D.E. Breedlove (13043; 68659).
Stanhopea xytriophora Rchb.f. 1868 comes from Bolivia and Perú.
After earlier incorrect identification as Stanhopea deltoidea,
Reichenbach published named this species from Peru as Stanhopea xytriophora
in 1868. Subsequently, in 1984, Dodson published it as Stanhopea vasquezii
from a plant that flowered in cultivation after being collected at
Cochabamba, Bolivia by Kuhn in July 1981 (the holotype for Stanhopea
vasquezii Dodson is in the Selby Herbarium). This was found to be
invalid and the accepted name is Stanhopea xytriophora.
Rare in collections, this species is found in Bolivia on steep slopes
at 1,800-2,000m. as a small sized, cool to cold growing epiphyte or terrestrial.
It has white to cream/white flowers with red eyes and many red spots on
the petals. It also has a strong, spice fragrance. A yellow form, Stanhopea
xytriophora var. aureum is also known. While the plant itself
is medium sized, it seems to be very slow growing in cultivation.
This concludes what has been a long, but hopefully interesting article
about this enchanting species. It is relatively easy to grow in Perth
providing you are able to keep them drier during the colder winter months.
You may remember that back in March 2016 when I started publishing this
treatment of the Genus Stanhopea, I included part of an article
from the Orchid Society Council of Victoria. In summary, that article
spoke about the rewards from growing this genus and that many are relatively
easy to grow for inexperienced orchid hobbyists.
This article has covered both common and rare Stanhopea species
including those that we most often see and some about which little is
known. We will have Stanhopea species in our raffles from time
to time, and there will be plants for sale at WAOS. Many of our members
grow Stanhopea and if this article has stimulated your interest,
ask them next time they have a plant on our display tables.