Cattleya
Tribe: Epidendreae
Subtribe: Laeliinae
Etymology: In honor of Sir William Cattley, English horticulturist during the nineteenth century.

 

 
When we think about orchids, first of all, we think about Cattleya. To some people, it is difficult to accept some genera as orchid because they have, deeply in their mind, that the "appearance" of an orchid is the form of Cattleya's flower. To them, it is hard to believe that a flower with so different shape can be inside the Orchidaceae family.
The popularity of the orchid family is due, in most part, to the gorgeous appearance of many species of Cattleya's flowers.
Like every orchid, the flower is composed by three sepals and three petals. One of those petals is modified and receives the name of lip or lip. The petals and sepals have, in general, the same color and the lip, the most attractive part, is colorful.
Closely related to another genus, Laelia (*), there are some important differences between them. The mainly is the number of pollinia, while Cattleya has 4 (except for Cattleya dormaniana that has more two or four atrophied or rudimentary pollinia), Laelia has 8 (**).
This genus is distributed throughout the North (Mexico), Central and South America (until Argentina) where occurs the most part of the species. In Brazil, it is found in every state, since the extreme North, Pacaraima and Parima mountains, in the state of Roraima, in the boundary of Venezuela and Guiana until the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
From the approximately 50 species, 32 occur in Brazil, without including the great number of varieties existing inside the same species as well as the great number of natural hybrids between its own species or with another genera.
Due to the high capacity of hybridization, only in the nature and inside Brazil, its species inter-crossed more than 38 times (inter-specific hybrids, it means, between species inside the same genus), and with another genera (inter-generic hybrids), 31 times. With Laelia, it crossed 21 times. With Brassavola, 7 times and with Schomburgkia, 3 times.
In other words, there are more natural hybrids than species.
This genus is part of a group known as Cattleya Alliance which involves genera that belong to the Epidendreae Tribe and Laeliinae Subtribe. It is often crossed with some of those genera or could be:
Barkeria, Brassavola, Broughtonia, Caularthron (Diacrium), Constantia, Cattleya, Dimerandra, Encyclia, Epidendrum, Isabelia, Isochilus, Laelia, Leptotes, Oerstedella, Pseudolaelia, Rhyncholaelia, Schomburgkia, Sophronitella, Sophronitis, Tetramicra, between others.
Those crosses generated another artificial genera of great beauty that in their turn are re-crosses with another genera and thus successively.
Brassolaeliocattleya
(Blc) and Potinara are those which produced more exuberant flowers and also the most famous. However, another genera, although less famous, are not less interesting such as Allenara, Brassocattleya,Cattleytonia, Cattotes, Dekensara, Dialaeliocattleya, Epicatonia, Epicattleya, Epilaeliocattleya, Fujiwarara, Hasegawaara, Hawkesara, Hawkinsara, Herbetara, Higashiara Hookerara, Iwanagara, Izumiara, Jewellara, Johnyeeara, Kawamotoara, Lyon, Mailamaiara, Maymoirara, Mizutara, Northenara, Opsiscattleya, Osmentara, Otaara, Recchara, Rolfeara, Rothara, Schombavola, Schombocatonia, Schombocattleya, Scullyara, Sophrocattleya, Sophrolaelia, Sophrolaeliocattleya, Stacyara, Stellamizutaara, Tetracattleya, Tuckeara, etc.
Regarding to the vegetative system, the genus Cattleya is divided into two big groups:
Monofoliate (or unifoliate or single leaf, also called labiata):
Cattleya labiata, mossiae, percivaliana, trianae, warscewiczii, etc.
Bifoliate (or two leaves and sometimes, with three leaves:
Cattleya acklandiae, amethystoglossa, bicolor, forbesii, granulosa, guttata, intermedia, leopoldii, schilleriana, skinneri, velutina, etc.
The monofoliate species bear less flowers than the bifoliate ones, but their flowers are larger and have an outstanding lip (labellum). In general, they produce no more than 4 flowers (often scented) which last for 15 or 20 days.
The flowers of Cattleya araguaiensis and Cattleya luteola are an exception because, although those species are monofoliate, their flowers are really smaller and the last one is one of the smaller species of the genus (both plant and flowers).
In general, the monofoliate species have expanded stems called pseudobulbs which storage water for the dormancy period.
The bifoliate species have slim stems (which are improper called pseudobulbs) which can have just a few centimeters or reach 60 cm, 1m or even 1.50m height. Cattleya amethystoglossa, bicolor, granulosa, guttata, leopoldii, schofieldiana and porphyroglossa are among the biggest plants of the genus.
Cattleya acklandiae is the smallest plant of bifoliate Cattleya and bears, sometimes, three leaves instead of two. The size of the flower is compensated by the great number of them. In many species the inflorescence can bear 14 flowers such C. skinneri or 20, C. bowringiana or 30, C. amethystoglossa.

Notes:

(*) Due to the DNA analysis available nowadays, some genera have been divided or had their species transferred to another genus or had their name changed, so many those genera obtained by hybridization is supposed to be also changed soon. In this presentation, we considered the name by what the species are most known.
(**) Pollinia are the groups from two to eight hardened, cohesive mass of pollen grains.



 

 
Since l818, the orchids started to be grown in large scale when Mr. William Cattley of Barnet succeeded in making flowering a Cattleya labiata for the first time in Europe. For his surprising, that plant that he got wrapping up another ornamental plants he received from Brazil and collected in Serra dos Órgãos (Órgãos Mountains in the state of Rio de Janeiro) had a wonderful flower. Cattley showed it to John Lindley who named Cattleya in his homage and "labiata" because of its outstanding lip.
If the plants sent to Cattley were really from Serra dos Órgãos, a doubt remains, it could not be Cattleya labiata because it does not occur in the southeast, it is endemic to the northeast, in the states of Alagoas, Ceará, Paraíba and Pernambuco.
In the southeast occurs C. warneri T. Moore which has been for long time considered as a variety of C. labiata (C. labiata var. warneri). Still today, some authors considered it as a variety.
From this remarkable event, the interest in orchids spread and the collectors who were commissioned to find similar plants in the same region.
During the 19th century, Mexico, Central America and South America have been invaded by plant hunters which destroyed whole habitats of orchids. They had two objects: the first one was to enrich the collections of those who sent them and the second was to preventing other collectors to find the same place because so rare the plant was, so expensive it was. Unfortunately many, many plants were lost because no one had an idea of how to cultivate those epiphytic plants. Most of them died during the trip.
By l830, John Lindley had suggested that orchids need damp, moist and hot conditions to be cultivated, as he was respected, this idea spread. Later, he concluded that as the plants grow in different altitude and different conditions, they need different environments to be cultivated off their habitats. Despite of this, people went on believing that they needed hot and humid climate. Thus, the plants that survived to the calamitous crossing of the Atlantic died due the heat, fungal and bacterial attacks provoked by the heat and high humidity.
This situation reached so incredible dimension that Joseph Dalton Hooker, Director of Kew Gardens, an orchid taxonomist, commented that England became the "the graveyard of tropical orchids" due to the incredible quantity of plants dying because of the inappropriate cultivation, inside super heathouses. Because of all those difficulties, by that time, orchids were sold by unbelievable prices (for that time).
Europe discovered, in this way, the Cattleya.
Belgium, France, Germany and England became the most important trader of orchids and the importation reach the top by l850 although the conditions of transportation were still very bad.


 

 
C. acklandiae
Lindl.
  Brazil - States of Bahia and Espírito Santo.
The species was dedicated to Lady Thomas Ackland who illustrated the plant to Lindley. Often spelled as Cattleya aclandiae.
Bifoliate.
Described in 1840
.

 
C. amethystoglossa
Lind. & Rchb. f
.

  Brazil - States of Bahia, Espírito Santo, Pernambuco and Minas Gerais.
One of the biggest plants of the entire genus, it can reach more than 1m height. Nowadays, it is only found occurring on the branches of the trees but it has been also found growing on the rocks.
Bifoliate.
Described in 1862
.

 
C. araguaiensis
Pabst

  Brazil - States of Pará and Tocantins (Araguaia river banks and also its tributaries Formoso and Coco, in riparian woods).
Monofoliate.
Described in l967.
New Propositions: Cattleyella as Cattleyella araguaiensis (Pabst) Van den Berg & M. W. Chase (Boletim Caob 52 - Pages 99:101)
Schluckebieria araguaiensis (Pabst) Braem. (Richardiana, 2004)
.

 
C. aurantiaca
(Batemm. ex. Lindl.)
Don
  Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, possibly Belize and Costa Rica (the most part of Central America).
Its flowers are the smallest in the genus Cattleya (from 4 to 5 cm).
Bifoliate.
Described in l840.
New proposition: Guarianthe aurantiaca (Batem. ex Lindl.) Dressler & W. E. Higgins (Lankesteriana 7:37-28- 2003)
.

 

C. aurea
Linden
  Colombia (Antioquia).
Considered by some people as a variety of Cattleya dowiana, their characteristics are similar however the flowers of Cattleya aurea are really bigger and the color is more bright. There are on the lip a kind of yellow "eyes" in the lip which are transmitted, in general, to its hybrids.
Monofoliate.
Described in 1881
.

 

C. bicolor
Lindl.
  Brazil - Brasilia and States of Espírito Santo, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
Divided into 3 subspecies:
- Cattleya bicolor ssp bicolor (in mountains situated in the States São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro),
- Cattleya bicolor ssp minasgeraisensis (in Minas Gerais) with two varieties: var. canastrensis and crassifolia.
- Cattleya bicolor ssp brasiliensis (Brazil Central: Brasilia, Goiás and Minas Gerais).
Bifoliate.
Described in l836
.

 
C. bowringiana
Veitch.
  Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.
Bifoliate.
Described in l885.
New proposition: Guarianthe bowringiana (Veitch) Dressler & W. E. Higgins (Lankesteriana 7:37-28- 2003)
.

 
C. brownii
Rolfe
  Brazil - State of Minas Gerais.
Accord to Carl L. Whitner, it seems to be a variety of Cattleya harrisoniana. Also spelled as Cattleya brownie. According to J. A. Fowlie, it could also be an hybrid between Cattleya harrisoniana Batem. ex Lindl. x Cattleya bicolor Lindl.
Bifoliate.
Described in l894
.

 

C. deckeri
Kotsch.
  Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, West Indies, Venezuela and Trinidad.
Bifoliate.
Described in l885.
New proposition: Guarianthe patinii (Cogn.) Dressler & W. E. Higgins. (Lankesteriana 7:37-28- 2003)
.

 

 

Cattleya dolosa
(Rchb. f.) Rchb .f.
  Brazil - Minas Gerais.
Natural hybrid of Cattleya loddigesii Lindl. and Cattleya walkeriana Gardn. which has, in its turn, re-crossed with Cattleya loddigesii Lindl. generating the hybrid Cattleya x o'brieniana Rolfe.
Described in l876
.

 

 
C. dormaniana
(Rchb. f ) Rchb. f.
  Brazil - State of Rio de Janeiro, occurring in Organs Mountains (Serra dos Órgãos). It has been also reported to Rio de Janeiro city but it is quite sure that it has never grown there.
Bifoliate.
Described in l880
.

 
C. dowiana
Batem.
  Costa Rica.
Mono
foliate.
Described in l866
.


 
C. eldorado
Linden ex Van Hout.
  Brazil - States of Amazonas and Pará.
Guido Braëm considers Cattleya trichopiliochila Barb. Rodr. as the valid name for this species and Cassio van den Berg considers Cattleya wallisii (Linden) Linden ex Rchb. f.
It has been intensively collected during the XIX century. It is reported that 700 specimens bloomed at the same time in Paris. From this information, we can conclude how many plants have been collected in that region and sent to Europe.
Monofoliate.
Described in l869
.

 
C. elongata
Barb. Rodr.
  Brazil - States of Bahia, Minas Gerais and Pernambuco.
Bifoliate.
Described in l877
.

 
C. forbesii
Lindl.
  Brazil - States of Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and São Paulo.
Bifoliate.
Described in l823
.

 
C. gaskelliana
Rchb. f.
  Colombia and Venezuela.
Monofoliate.
Described in l883.

 
C. granulosa
Lindl.
  Brazil - States of Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí and Rio Grande do Norte.
Bifoliate.
Described in l842.

 
C. guatemalensis
Moore
  El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua.
Natural Hybrid natural Cattleya aurantiaca (Batem.) Don x Cattleya skinneri Batem.
Described in 1861.
New proposition: Guarianthe x guatemalensis (Moore) W. E. Higgins (Lankesteriana 7:37-28- 2003)
.

 
C. guttata
Lindl.
  Brazil - States of Alagoas, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina and São Paulo.
It can reach 1.5 cm height.
Bifoliate.
Described in 1832
.

 
C. hardyana
Williams
  Colombia.
Natural hybrid between C. aurea Linden and C. warscewiczii Rchb. f.
Described in l886
.

 
C. harrisoniana
Batem. ex Lindl.
  Brazil - States of Bahia (Sul), Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Possibly in Minas Gerais.
Bifoliate.
Described in l836
.

 
C. intermedia
Graham ex Hook
  Brazil - States of Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, São Paulo and also in Paraguay and Uruguay.
Bifoliate.
Described in l828.

 
C. iricolor
Rchb. f.
  Ecuador and Peru.
Monofoliate.
Described in l874, it was rediscovered in 1962, by Padre Andretta de Cuenca.

 
C. jenmanii
Rolfe
  Venezuela e Brazil - State of Roraima, only in the mountains which border the Amazon region and Venezuela.
Monofoliate Cattleya
Described in l906, it has been rediscovered l969, by Dunsterville
.

 
C. kerchoveana
Cogn.
  Brazil - State of Espírito Santo.
Natural hybrid described as C. granulosa Lindl. x C. schilleriana Rchb. f. However, it is, probably, C. schofieldiana Rchb f. (also known as C. granulosa var. schofieldiana) since there is no Cattleya granulosa, reported for this state.
Described in 1900
.

 
C. kerri
Brieger & Bicalho
  Brazil - State of Bahia.
Some plants have two leaves and some others are monofoliate.
Described in l976
.

 
C. labiata Lindl.
  Brazil - States of Alagoas, Ceará, Paraíba and Pernambuco.
Monofoliate.
Described in l821
.

 
C. lawrenciana
Rchb. f.
  Brazil (States of Amazonas and Roraima), Guyana and Venezuela.
Monofiliate.
Described in l885
.

 
C. leopoldi
Verschaff. ex Lem.
  Brazil - States of Bahia, Espírito Santo, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, São Paulo and Sergipe.
Often spelled as Cattleya leopoldi.
Bifoliate.
Described in l854
.

 
C. loddigesii
Lindl.
  Brazil (States of Bahia, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo), Argentina and Paraguay.
Bifoliate.
Described in l819, as Epidendrum violaceum and it has been transferred by Lindley to genus Cattleya and renamed as loddigesii, in l823
.

 
C. lueddemanniana
Rchb. f.
  Venezuela.
Monofoliate.
Described in l854
.

 
C. luteola
Lindl.
  Brazil - States of Acre, Amazonas, Pará and Roraima and also in Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador. It occurs in periodically floored areas in the basin formed by Negro and Solimões rivers and in the lowlands.
The smallest plant of the entire the genus and its flowers are between the smallest.
Monofoliate.
Described in l853
.

 
C. maxima
Lindl.
  Venezuela, Colombia, Equador and Peru.
Monofoliate.
Described in 1831.

 
C. mendelii
Backh.
  Colombia.
Monofoliate.
Described in l870.

 
C. mooreana
Whitner, Allison and Guenard
  Peru, found in lowlands and mountainous regions.
Carl L. Withner knew this plant since l958 but only in 1986, he succeeded in getting a specimen for the description.
Monofoliate.
Described in l988
.

 
C. mossiae
Hook.
  Venezuela. It is also reported to Colombia.
Monofoliate.
Described in 1838
.

 
C.nobilior
Rchb. f.
  Brazil - States of Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Rondônia e Tocantins. The variety amaliae occurs in Goiás and Tocantins. It also reported to Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia.
Bifoliate.
Described in l883
.

 
C. percivaliana
O'Brien
  Venezuela.
Due to the blooming season, it is known as "Christmas Cattleya".
Monofoliate.
Described in l883.

 
C. porphyroglossa
Linden & Rchb. f.
  Brazil - States of Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina.
Bifoliate.
Described in l856
.

 
C. quadricolor
Batem.
  Colombia.
Although this is the valid name, it is better known as Cattleya chocoensis Linden and André.
Monofoliate.
Described in l864
.

 
C. rex
O'Brien
  Peru (Andes).
Monofoliate.
Described in l890.

 
C. schilleriana
Rchb. f.
  Brazil - States of Espírito Santo e Bahia.
Bifoliate.
Described in l857.

 
C. schofieldiana
Rchb f.
  Brazil - States of Espírito Santo.
Also known C. granulosa var. schofieldiana.
Bifoliate.
Described in l882.

 
C. schroderae
Sander
  Colombia, between 700 and 2.000m altitude.
Often spelled as Cattleya schroederae.
Monofoliate.
Described in l888
.

 
C. silvana
Pabst
  Brazil - State of Bahia.
Doubt species, according to Lou Menezes, it can be Laeliocattleya albanensis Rolfe, natural hybrid between L. grandis Lindl. x C. warneri Moore.
Described in 1976
.

 
C. skinneri
Batem.
  Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico (Southern), Nicaragua, Panama.
Bifoliate.
Described in l838.
New proposition: Guarianthe skinneri (Batem.) Dressler & W. E. Higgins (Lankesteriana 7:37-28- 2003).

 
C. tenuis
Campacci & Vedovello
  Brazil - State of Bahia.
In semi-arid Savannah between 800 and 1.000m altitude, Chapada Diamantina, on small trees.
Bifoliate.
Described in 1983
3.

 
C. trianae
Linden & Rchb. f.
  Colombia (Andes)
Often spelled as Cattleya trianaei.
Monofoliate.
Described in l860
.

 
C. velutina
Rchb. f.
  Brazil - States of Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
Bifoliate.
Described in l870
.

 
C. violacea
(H.B.K.) Rolfe
  Brazil - States of Amazonas, Pará and Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Rondônia and Roraima besides Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyanas and Peru (low altitudes).
Bifoliate Cattleya
Described in l815 as Cymbidium violaceum. It has been transferred to the genus Cattleya, in l889, by Rolfe
.

 
C. walkeriana
Gardn.
  Brasil - Distrito Federal e Estados de Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná (possivelmente) e São Paulo.
Bifoliada.
Descrita em l843.


 
C. warneri
T. Moore
  Brazil - States of Bahia (south), Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro (north).
Still today considered by some people as a variety of Cattleya labiata (Cattleya labiata var. warneri).
Monofoliate.
Described in l860.
.

 
C. warscewiczii
Rchb. f.
  Colombia.
Also known as Cattleya gigas.
Monofoliate Cattleya.
Described in 1854
.

 
C. whitei
Cogn.
  Brazil - States of Espírito Santo and Bahia
Natural hybrid of Cattleya schilleriana Rchb. f. x C. warneri Moore



genera   
   continues