Native to Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru
Edited 12 February 2008
© Nina Rach
This species was finally published by the younger Reichenbach under the genus Sobralia in Fl. des Serres 8: 247 (1853). Poeppig and Endlicher had initially published it as Cyathoglottis candida in Nov. Gen. & Sp. I: 56 (1836).
Sobralia candida grows as both an epiphyte and terrestrial. The plants are small, approx. 50 cm. high, with leaves up to 2cm wide x 17cm long. Flowers have pale greenish-cream sepals, cream-colored petals, and a white lip with a greenish tip and five ridges on the callus. There are also dark red patches on the underside of the apex of the lip. Column, anther, and pollinia are white.
The photo at left depicts a stamp on a miniature sheet that was issued by Ghana on June 2, 1998. Although this is labeled as "Sobralia candida" it appears to depict a species of Vanilla.
Bussmann (2001) said that Sobralia candida is found colonizing clearings of lower montane forests, 1800-2150m, at the northern end of Podocarpus National Park, southern Ecuador.
In Peru, this species grows terrestrially in wet montane forest at an altitude of around 4200 feet.
In Venezuela, this species was collected by Dunsterville in damp forest at approximately 2,000-ft elevation, 120 km south of El Dorado, in Bolivar State (Gran Sabana).
The photo at right shows a plant growing epiphytically along the roadside of "La Escalera" at the north end of Venezuela's Gran Sabana (Oct. 2001; by Nina Rach).
See also, the webpage on
Plants available from
Club Peruano de Orquideas (The Peruvian Orchid Club), in Lima.
David E. Bennett and Eric A. Christenson (1998) Icones Orchidacearum Peruviarum. Plates 401-600. Unbound, 400pp. Sobralias on Plates 571 (candida), 572(crocea); Elleanthus on Plates 438 (caveroi), 439 (furfuraceous), 440 (lancifolius).
Rainer W. Bussmann (Sept 2001) "A Phytosociological Study of the montane vegetation of Reserva Biologica San Francisco, Zamora-Chinchipe, Southern Ecuador," 44pp, presented at an intl. conference: "Conservation of Biodiversity in the Andes and the Amazon Basin - linking Science, NGOs, and Local Communities." On the "Nature and Culture International" website; URL:
[Sobralia fimbriata, crocea, candida found colonizing clearings of lower montane forests, 1800-2150m, northern end of Podocarpus National Park, southern Ecuador]
Robert L. Dressler and Diego Bogarin C. (September 2007) "Two attractive new species of Sobralia from Panama," in: Orchids magazine of the Amer. Orch. Soc. 76 (9): 696-701. [New: Sob. fuzukiae, mireyae. Mentioned with regard to Sob. fuzukiae: Sob. candida, lancea, pardalina, quinata, leucoxantha, nutans. Mentioned with regard to Sob. mireyae: Sob. macrophylla, leucoxantha, citrea, kerryae, kruskayae, theobromina, bouchei, wilsoniana]
G.C.K. Dunsterville and Leslie A. Garay (1961) Venezuelan Orchids Illustrated Volume 2. London: Andre Deutsch Limited, pp.320-321. [Text and line drawings of Sob. candida (P.& E.) Rchb. f.; Sob. liliastrum Lindley; Sob. yauaperyensis Barb. Rodr.]
G.C.K. Dunsterville and Leslie A. Garay (1979) Orchids of Venezuela: An Illustrated Field Guide. Boston: Botanical Museum of Harvard University, p. 928. Three white volumes, soft cover in a black slip case. [line drawings of: Sob. candida; cattleya; ciliata; fimbriata; fragrans; infundibuligera; liliastrum; macrophylla; paradisiaca; ruckeri; sessilis; speciosa; stenophylla; suaveolens; valida; violacea; yauaperyensis]
Rodrigo Escobar R. (1992) Native Colombian Orchids, Volume 4: Porroglossum - Zygosepalum. Medellin:
Ernesto Foldats (1969) "Orchidaceae," in: T. Lasser, Flora de Venezuela 15(1): 169-201. Caracas: Edicion Especial del Instituto Botanico. [Sob. candida, ciliata, dichotoma, fimbriata, fragrans, infundibuligera, liliastrum, macrophylla, paradisiaca, rosea, sessilis, speciosa, stenophylla, suaveolens, violacea, yauaperyensis]
Leslie A. Garay (Dec. 1978) Flora of Ecuador: Orchidaceae, in: Opera Botanica, Stockholm: NFR, 305p. [50 Elleanthus sp.: 57-110; 24 Sobralia sp. on pp. 110-134: Sob. atropubescens, biflora, candida, ciliata, corazoi, crocea, d'orbignyana, fenzliana, fimbriata, gloriosa, kermesina, klotzscheana, lancea, lepida, macrophylla, pardalina, persimilis, powellii, pulcherrina, rigidissima, rosea, setigera, sobralioides, valida]
Bernt Løjtnant (1977) "Neottioideae from Ecuador," in: Bot. Notiser 130 [Sob. candida, melanothrix, rigidissima]
ING: Index Nominum Genericorum, URL: http://rathbun.si.edu/botany/ing/ from the U.S. National Herbarium, Dept. of Systematic Biology - Botany, Smithsonian Institution
International Plant Names Index [IPNI}, www.ipni.org
A Checklist of the Fortuna Watershed, Chiriqui, Panama
Sobralia candida photo page by Carlos Hajek