a small introduction to the genus

This genus inside Laeliinae has been described in 1935 based on plant collected in Corcovado Hill (Pabst. l966) and named Pseudolaelia corcovadensis Pôrto & Brade but the first species described was vellozicola as Schomburgkia by Hoehne, in 1933. When Pôrto e Brade created the new genus, they transferred it as Pseudolaelia vellozicola (Hoehne) Pôrto & Brade. It has been published in Arquivos do Instituto de Biologia Vegetal.
According to Pabst (l976), the genus is characterized by having 8 pollinia, tied in group of two, as found in Laelia, by the structure of the column and the vegetative habit of the plant with its long rhizome of 10 cm (or more) long, the homoblastic pseudobulbs covered by sheath of the inferior leaves and by the big inflorescence from 50 - 80 cm long.

pseudolaelia vellozicola (Hoehne illustration)

Pseudolaelia is not very well known genus in spite of having 12 species (4 are recently described) and a natural hybrid (also recently described).
It is endemic to Brazil and, except for Pseudolaelia corcorvadensis in state of Rio de Janeiro (including Rio de Janeiro city) and Pseudolaelia vellozicola (Hoehne) Pôrto & Brade in Bahia (1), the species are restrict to the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. The last state is the center of distribution of the genus with 10 species. Minas Gerais has 8 species and three of them are endemic (Pseudolaelia cipoensis Pabst, Pseudolaelia geraensis Pabst and Pseudolaelia irwiniana Pabst).

In 1946, eleven years after the description of the genus, Augusto Ruschi described a new genus (Renata) based on a species he named Renata canaanensis and published it in Publ. Arq. Público Estado Espírito Santo 1946. Later, in 1994, it has been transferred, by Fabio de Barros, to the genus Pseudolaelia.
So until 1949, when Ruschi described P. dutrae, the genus stayed with only two species.
In 1967, it means, almost 20 years later, Pabst described a new species: Pseudolaelia geraensis.
In 1973, he described two more species P. irwiniana and P. cipoensis.
In 1976, he described Pseudolaelia citrina which was his last description of a species inside the genus although he had, at least, two another plants that he considered as new species (see bellow).
In 1991, Rui J.V. Alves described a species (Pseudolaelia lymansmithii) occurring in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil and published it in Folia Geobot. Phytotax, Praha 27:189-191 9- Kolbek J. & Alves but in l994, Fabio de Barros considered as synonym of Epidendrum campestre Lindl.
So we should wait for more 27 years to know another species. Michel Frey, a French expert living in Brazil, who has been studying this genus for long time, started to bring to lights of the science the results of his amazing discoveries: four new species (perhaps five) and a natural hybrid:
He published Pseudolaelia brejetubensis (2003), Pseudolaelia maquijiensis (2005), Pseudolaelia pavopolitana (2005) and Pseudolaelia x perimii (Pseudolaelia brejetubensis Frey x Pseudolaelia freyi Chiron & V. P. Castro) (2005) . In 2004, Chiron & V.P. Castro published Pseudolaelia freyi.

This paper would be part of a work which would include an interview with Michel Frey about his researches in Brazil. Unfortunately he has just passed away making us very upset with this lost. In November 2005, we have talked about this interview for the first time but he was leaving Brazil to go to France so we decided to let it for 2006. We started the work in earl April and in one of his last messages when he gave some information about the occurrence of Pseudolaelia, he finished like this: "Voilà un petit sandwich en attendant le gros repas", it means: There is a sandwich while waiting for the big dinner.
This new got us the moment we were putting on air this edition.
We render homage to Michel Frey.

  P & D Number
01   Pseudolaelia brejetubensis M. Frey
from white to soft pink.
02 932 Pseudolaelia canaanensis (Ruschi) F. Barros
03 933 Pseudolaelia cipoensis Pabst
04   Pseudolaelia citrina Pabst
Greenish and yellow lemon lip
05 934 Pseudolaelia corcovadensis Pôrto & Brade
Dark Pink
06 935 Pseudolaelia dutrae Ruschi
Soft Pink
07   Pseudolaelia freyi Chiron & V.P. Castro
Soft Pink/White
08 936 Pseudolaelia geraensis Pabst
09 937 Pseudolaelia irwiniana Pabst
Dark Pink
10   Pseudolaelia maquijiensis M. Frey
11   Pseudolaelia pavopolitana M. Frey
12 938 Pseudolaelia vellozicola (Hoehne) Pôrto & Brade
Dark Pink
since sea level
13   Pseudolaelia x perimii M. Frey

The main host of the genus is Vellozia but some species are rupicolous.
R = rupicolous
E = Epiphyte
(1) - Inclusion of the state of Bahia - Carl L. Withner - The Cattleyas and Their Relatives, Volume III and also exsicata filed in the Herbarium Bradeanum (Maracás- Bahia - see bellow).
(2) - Pabst G. F.J. & F. Dungs, 1975 - Orchidaceae Brasilienses - Vol 1- K. Schmersow, Hildesheim


Pseudolaelia brejetubensis
M. Frey
Bradea V (8):33-36

Typus: Brazil, Espírito Santo, Brejetuba, Monte Feio, 1100-1400 m.s.m VI 2001 (fl) Mr Frey 30 & l. C. F. Perrim (Holotypus: RB).
It also occurs in Minas Gerais, near to the boundary with Espírito Santo (M. Frey)

Pseudolaelia canaanensis (Ruschi) F. Barros
Hoehnea - volume 29


Pseudolaelia cipoensis
Bradea vol I(36) 365:366 e 370 - 1973

"Habitat: Minas Gerais, Serra do Cipó, c. 1400 msm. Leg. Dr. Br Antón Ghillány, nº 209, 15 Mai. 1970 - Holotypus HB-57099.
This new species of Pseudolaelia belongs to the group of wide petals character of P. corcovadensis and P. geraensis from which it is easily distinguished by the shape of the lip. Pseudolaelia dutrae and P. vellozicola have rather narrow petals'.


seudolaelia citrina Pabst
Bradea vol II (12) 69:70 - 1976

"Habitat: Minas Gerais, pr. Ibiraçu, 1200msm, epiphyta in Velloziaceae, soli prorsus exposita. Legit R. Kautsky nr 490, 7. MAJ. 1975. Holotypus-HB.
By the color yellow-citrin of the flowers which are really small, this new species distinguishes since the first sight. To whom who consider Pseudolaelia as an hybrid , Pseudolaelia citrina will make troubles to discover which are the parents".

It grows exposed to the sun on Vellozia.

Pseudolaelia corcovadensis Pôrto & Brade

It grows on Corcovado Hill on Vellozia. It has been also found in Tijuca, São José do Rio Preto and Maria Madalena mountains (Pabst l976). H. S. Irwin e S.F. da Fonseca & R. Souza have found this species in Minas Gerais, Diamantina, at 900 m (Missouri Botanical Garden).
It has been only found as epiphyte growing in Velozias always in altitudes reached by the clouds which supply copious humidity to the region (Pabst l976).

Pseudolaelia dutrae Ruschi
Boletim do Museu de Biologia Mello Leitão 1: 40. 1949.
"Habitat: Espírito Santo. Santa Tereza. Barra do Rio Perdido. Alt 400-600ms. Epiphyta ad Velloziaceae. Exemplar tipo Herbario Museu de Biologia Professor Mello Leitão nº 1501".

Pseudolaelia freyi Chiron & V.P. Castro, Richardiana Vol IV (4) 155:162 - 2004
(see in Novelties in Pseudolaelia)


Pseudolaelia geraensis

Orquídea 29: 63. 1967.

Habitat: Brasil - Minas Gerais, in saxis calcaris ad marginem viae Nanuque - Teófilo Otoni. Leg. R. P. Belém nº 1629. 14 Aug. 1965 (Holotypus Ceplac - Cepec - Herbario nº 1854. Itabuna).
The new species in closest to Pseudolaelia corcovadensis with which it has in common the broad sepals and petals the lip is interely different however."


Pseudolaelia irwiniana

Bradea vol I(36) 366:367 e 370 - 1973

"Habitat: Minas Gerais, 18km. E. of Diamantina, cerrado interspead with oucrops, 900msm. Leg H. S. Irwin, Fonseca, Souza e Ramos Nr. 27706, 16 Mar. 1970, Holotypus - UNB, Isotypi NY, HB.
This new species is closest related to P.Corcovandenis Porto & Brade, differring in the shape of its petals and lip and inth much shorter and relatively thicker column".
Also found in Serra do Caraça ( Wladyslaw Zaslawski in Orchid News #28)

Pseudolaelia maquijiensis M. Frey

Richardiana Vol V (1) 39:45 - 2005
(see in Novelties in Pseudolaelia)

Pseudolaelia pavopolitana M. Frey

Richardiana Vol V (4) 202:209 - 2005
(see in Novelties in Pseudolaelia)

Pseudolaelia vellozicola (Hoehne) Pôrto & Brade
Arquivos do Instituto de Biologia Vegetal 2: 211. 1935.

Pseudolaelia vellozicola grows in the "restinga" (coastal vegetation), in the state of Espírito Santo, as epiphyte (Cláudio Nicoletti de Fraga e Ariane Luna Peixoto).
Hoehne, in page 98, in Iconografia de Orchidaceas do Brasil, mentioned "that in the rocks exposed to the sunbeam, in the high part of Tijuca, grows under Vellozia the interesting Schomburgkia vellozicola (Pseudolaelia) which also grows in Serra do Caraça, Minas Gerais". Probably he was talking about Pseudolaelia corcovadensis when he talked about Tijuca which has been found in June 1935, in Corcovado.

Pseudolaelia x perimii M. Frey

Richardiana Vol V (3) 158:164- 2005
(see in Novelties in Pseudolaelia)

When we consider to study orchid Brazilian species (and specially Pseudolaelia), we should consider to research at Herbarium Bradeanum (HB). Between the 880 types distributed by 53 families, we should emphasize that HB has one of the most important collection of Orchidaceae family (257) which corresponds to 10% of the total patrimony of this institution. However, the most interest preciosities of the HB is Pabst's card index which is formed by 38.961 registers with information about orchids species. Those cards were the basis of the book "Orchidaceae Brasilienses". All information concerning genera and species of the Orchidaceae family, he could gather, was carefully transcribed in those cards: photocopies and original works about genera, such as "princeps" works, re-descriptions, species, keys to identify, types, phototypes (photography of the types), species, flattened perianths, basionyms, synonyms, watercolors by Samuel Salgado and Margarete Mee, besides the register of the exsicatas which are filed in Herbarium Bradeanum. The holotypus of Pseudolaelia cipoensis Pabst and Pseudolaelia citrina Pabst and the isotypus of Pseudolaelia irwiniana Pabst are stored there. Some precious information about Pseudolaelia are found there. There are, at least, 30 cards concerning Pseudolaelia and between them, there is one which immediatly calls our attention: very small pressed flowers collected in Maria Madalena, by Brade.
However, the big surprises are in the collection of Pseudolaelia exsicatas. Between them, there is one that is not identified and there are two that, in spite of having a name (the first one given by Pabst and the second by Toscano de Brito), the plantas have not been described. We don't know if Pabst hadn't time to do this or if later, he considered as a not valid species.

The first one is the file 67152, an unidentified species, where is written: "from Espírito Santo, Castelo, Forno Grande, Lajão 1.200m alt. Epiphyte on Velloziacea. Fleur Purple. Collected by A. C. Brade in 19781 in 12.V. 1949".

The seconde one is the 63 562 file where is written: Pseudolaelia ghillany Pabst. Loc. Bahia - Maracás. Epiphyte on Vellozia with white flowers. Collected by A. Ghillany & R. Windish. 10.7.76.
(not described)

The third one is the 70230 file where is written: Pseudolaelia burle-marxii Toscano n sp. inedit. Loc. Brazil - Espírito Santo, collected by Roberto Burle Marxi, blooming in culture in 19.1079 and identified by Toscano in 04.08.82.
(not described)

This genus is not spread found in particular collection. In general, they should be cultivated under intermediate conditions, almost exposed to the sun. Although Rio de Janeiro has a hot climate, Pseudolaelia corcovadensis and Pseudolaelia vellozicola   are cultivated in Rio de Janeiro, at the Botanical Garden, however it is surrounding by the forest which makes the temperature drops every day at night, all year along.

Pseudolaelia corcovadensis is cultivated in the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro outside in full sun on a compact Vellozia which grows in sandy soil (at sea level).

Pseudolaelia vellozicola is cultivated in the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro under strong luminosity inside the greenhouse.

Pseudolaelia auriculata Brieger = Pseudolaelia vellozicola (Hoehne) Porto & Brade
Pseudolaelia luteola Brieger (Invalid name) = Pseudolaelia citrina Pabst
Pseudolaelia lymansmithii R.J.V. Alves = Epidendrum campestre Lindl
Renata canaanensis Ruschi = Pseudolaelia canaanensis (Ruschi) F. Barros
Schomburgkia vellozicola
Hoehne = Pseudolaelia vellozicola (Hoehne) Pôrto & Brade

We would like to Dr. Guy Chiron, the director of Richardiana, Michel Frey and Vitorino P. Castro Neto for authorizing the reproduction of the species recently and Elsie Guimar, Director of Herbarium Bradeanum and Paulo Ormindo for their kind assistance and authorization for reproduction the documents belong to Herbarium Bradeanum (which are signalized with a (*).


1) Barros, Fábio de - Notas taxonômicas para espécies brasileiras dos gêneros Epidendrum e Heterotaxis (Orchidaceae) - Hoehnea - volume 29
2) Chiron, Guy R. & Vitorino P. Castro Neto - Richardiana Vol IV(4) - 155.162-2005 - Contribution à la connaissance des orchidées du Brésil, - une nouvelle espéce de Pseudolaelia (Orchidaceae: Laeliinae) d'Espírito Santo.
3) Frey, Michel- Richardiana Vol V(3) - 158.164-2005 - Pseudolaelia x perimii M. Frey (Orchidaceae), un hybride naturel nouveau de l'Espírito Santo (Brésil)
4) Frey, Michel - Richardiana Vol V(4) - 202.209-2005 - Pseudolaelia pavopolitana M. Frey (Orchidaceae), une nouvelle espèce de l'Espírito Santo, Brésil
5) Frey, Michel - Richardiana Vol V(1) - 39.45-2005 - Pseudolaelia maquijiensis M. Frey, une nouvelle espéce d'Orchidaceae de l'Espírito Santo, Brésil;
6) Hoehne, F.C. - Iconografia de Orchidaceas do Brasil - Secretaria de Agricultura do Estado de São Paulo, pages 98,114, 210, Table 138
7) Pabst G. F.J. & F. Dungs, 1975 - Orchidaceae Brasilienses - Vol 1- K. Schmersow, Hildesheim
8) Pabst, G. F. J. - Bradea Vol I (36)- 365.367 & 369-1973 - Additamenta ad Orchideologiam Brasiliensem - XV
9) Pabst, G. F. J. - Bradea Vol I (12)- 69.70- 1976 - Additamenta ad Orchideologiam Brasiliensem - XXI
10) Withner, Carl L.- 1993. The Cattleyas and Their Relatives, Volume III, 105-109, Timber Press, Portland USA
11) Florística e ecologia das Orchidaceae do Estado do Espírito Santo, Cláudio Nicoletti de Fraga e Ariane Luna Peixoto
12) Missouri Botanical Garden. http://mobot.mobot.org/W3T/Search/vast.html
13) Bradea vol I (36)- 1973; Bradea vol II(12)- 1976; Bradea 9(8):33-36- 2003;
14) Orquídea 29: 63. 1967.
15) Orquideas 275:277 - setembro-outubro 1966.
16) Guido Pabst cards - Hebarium Bradeanum.

Photos and digital manipulations: Sergio Araujo


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