Cattleya aurea

Even Orchids Can Suffer From an Identity Crisis

When the Belgian orchid grower announced to the world in 1881 that his collectors in Colombia had discovered a new yellow-flowered Cattleya species, he set off a debate that has continued to this day.

Cattleya purpurata (Laelia)

A Cattleya by Any Other Name

The large-flowered Cattleya species have suffered from a bad case of botanical heartburn for more than 150 years — and some of the mistakes of the past never seem to be corrected. For Laelia purpurata, which is really a Cattleya, things even seem to be going from bad to worse, as I see recent efforts to reclassify this wonderful large and showy species as a member of the genus Sophronitis, which is composed of miniatures (Lindleyana, 15[2]:118).


Cattleya Triumphans

Surrogate Lady

For over 24 years after its discovery in 1866, Cattleya dowiana reigned supreme in the genus as the only yellow-petal species. It was considered the most beautiful cattleya of its day by far, and it soon became the species most widely used in breeding the large flowered hybrids.

Cattleya crispa (Laelia)

The Sleeping Giant


Text and Images by A. A. Chadwick


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