Native to Venezuela
Edited 17 April 2007
© Nina Rach
This species was recently described by Gustavo A. Romero & G. Carnevali in: Harvard Pap. Bot. 5(1):184 (2000).
The following description pertains to the plants depicted in the photos at left by Gustavo A. Romero, from an inselberg in southern Venezuela.
"This sobralia, initially recognized as similar to
Sob. liliastrum was found growing as a tall terrestrial (to 3 m!) in sandy soil and among rocks. It's found in Venezuela at approx. 1500-1600 ft elevation in open conditions and light forest.
"Leaves grow to 4 cm wide x 22 cm long. Flowers are terminal, have fleshy white sepals that are pale yellow-green on back (outside), soft white petals, and a white lip with a light yellow tip and orange-yellow parallel veins down the center. Column and pollinia are white and anther cap is pale yellow."
In October 2001, we trekked to Venezuela's Gran Sabana in Bolivar State and observed thousands of blooming plants that we believe to be
Sobralia elizabethae. The flowers are nearly identical to Dunsterville's line-drawings of the species (labeled as S. liliastrum). Note the difference in flower form and foliage from Romero's photos. Plants grew to about 1.5-2.0 meters tall in open, savanna conditions and full sun at 3,000-4,500 ft elevation, on a substrate comprised almost entirely of clean quartz sand. Images at right by Nina Rach.
See the webpage on White Sobralias.
G.C.K. Dunsterville and Leslie A. Garay (1961). Venezuelan Orchids Illustrated, Volume 2, pp. 322-323.
G.C.K. Dunsterville and Leslie A. Garay (1979). Orchids of Venezuela: An Illustrated Field Guide, p.934 [excellent line drawing].
Gustavo A. Romero (1993). "Unique orchid habitats in southern Venezuela I. Inselbergs, lajas or granite outcrops," in: American Orchid Society Bulletin 62: 698-707.
Gustavo A. Romero Gonzalez (2003) "The Sobralia liliastrum (Orchidaceae: Sobraliinae) complex in the Venezuelan Guyana," in: Harv. Pap. Botany 8(1): 115-129.
Gustavo A. Romero & G. Carnevali (2000). "Sobralia granitica," in: Harvard Pap. Bot. 5(1): 184.
International Plant Names Index [IPNI],
Venezuela: Romero, G.A. "Inselbergs, granite outcrops or "lajas", a photo essay:
Brazil: Nina Rach, "Sobralia liliastrum,"