Sobralia callosa

L.O. Williams 1946

Native to Panama

Edited 13 April 2007
© Nina Rach

Sobralia callosa photo by Greg Allikas

Sobralia callosa L.O. Williams

Original publication: Flora of Panama, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 33:31 (1946)

Synonym: Lindsayella amabilis Ames & C.Schweinf., Bot. Mus. Leafl. 5(2): 33. 1937. First plant collected in Cocle by Lindsay, and cultivated in the Canal Zone Experiment Gardens.

Endemic to Panama; found in the Atlantic (Caribbean) lowlands, usually below 1000 m.; also in mountainous areas of 800-2500m. Grows in intermediate to warm conditions. This is one of the dwarf sobralias, the plants only reach about 40cm high. The leaves are narrow, less than 15mm wide, dark green, and deeply ridged. The flowers are rose-pink, with light substance, and so they last only a day. The sepals about 2 to 2.5cm long. The lip is relatively large and ruffled, and is described by Dressler as having "ovate basal calli."


Sobralia callosa photo by Greg Allikas



The two images (top left and at right) were provided by Greg Allikas of a Panamanian plant; he says that the "plant is 22cm more or less. Flowers were quite large for the plant, I would say 4cm ns."

It was acquired from Woodstream Orchids; Bill Goldner describes the species as "Rare in cultivation. Miniature red-lavender species. Showy flowers produced successively last more than a week!! Grow intermediate, with moderately bright-bright light, evenly moist."

Sob. callosa by Ted Green


L.O. Williams describes this species as such:
"Slender, caespitose (?), epiphytic or terrestrial herbs up to about 4 dm. tall. Leaves 4.5-10.5 cm. long and 3-8 mm. broad, narrowly elliptic to linear-lanceolate, acute or obtuse, apex 2-3-dentate, prominently plicate; leaf-sheaths concealing the stems, striate, glabrous. Inflorescense usually 1-flowered, from the axis of the uppermost leaf. Sepals 20-25 mm. long and 7-8 mm. broad, elliptic, acute, the laterals slightly arcuate, slightly connate at the base. Petals 2, 20-23 mm. long and 10-12 mm. broad, lanceolate to lanceolate-ovate, acute. Lip about 30 mm. long and about 20 mm. broad toward the apex, triangular-ovate in outline, emarginate, somewhat crenate, the lamina with 1 prominent, crispate lamella and with a prominent oblong-obovoid callus at the base. Column about 10-12 mm. long."

Photo at left provided by Ted Green, Hawaii.

AOS award

Sobralia callosa 'Donna Wise' CHM/86 pts
Pacific South Center Monthly Judging, 14 April 2003 [AQ 34, p. 284 with color photo].
"One flat, bright magenta flower and one bud on two inflorescences; sepals bright magenta with pale central stripes; petals bright magenta; lip iridescent magenta with thin yellow keel running to basal yellow blotch; substance thin; texture iridescent; recognized for horticultural merit as a dwarf gracile plant with brilliant magenta flowers in a genus known for large plants; identified by John Beckner, Orchid Identification Center. Nat.spr. 4.5cm, 5.5cm vert; ds 0.9cm w, 2.8cm l; pet 1.4cm w, 2.5cm l; ls 0.8cm w, 2.7cm l; lip 2.7cm w, 3.3cm l." Exhibited by Ed and Donna Wise, Yorba Linda, Calif.

Printed References:

Robert L. Dressler (1980) "Checklist of the Orchids of Panama," in Orchids of Panama, Missouri Botanical Garden.

Robert L. Dressler (1993) Field Guide to the Orchids of Costa Rica and Panama, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 374pp. [Sobralia callosa on p. 319 with a photo on Pl. 35 (2)]

Louis Otho Williams and Paul H. Allen (8 March 1946) Flora of Panama, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 33: 31. [no illus.]

Louis Otho Williams and Paul H. Allen (Nov 1980) Orchids of Panama, Monographs in Systematic Botany 4, Missouri Botanical Garden, facsimile reprint of the 1946 publication, 590 p. [Sobralia callosa on p. 137, no illus.]

Web References:

International Plant Names Index [IPNI],

ING: Index Nominum Genericorum, URL: from the U.S. National Herbarium, Dept. of Systematic Biology - Botany, Smithsonian Institution.

Missouri Botanical Garden, Flora of Panama Checklist [TROPICOS]

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