Native to "New Granada" - northern South America - Colombia?
Edited 26 April 2007
© Nina Rach
Originally published in 1890 by Robert Allen Rolfe (1855-1921) in Gardeners' Chronicle Series 3, Volume 8, page 378. London.
This is a compact-growing sobralia with purple flowers, similar in habit to
Sobralia atropubescens Ames & C. Schweinf. 1930 from Costa Rica, and
Sobralia melanothrix Løjtnant 1977 from Ecuador. [Additional info on small-growing sobralias].
This species is known to bear keikis. (see photo below)
Rolfe listed the locality as "New Granada," referring to the area of northern South America which was a Spanish colony for about 300 years (1536-1830). The area encompassed Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador, until Venezuela and Ecuador seceded; the remnant (Colombia and Panama) was renamed the "Republic of New Granada" in 1830. In 1886, the area became the Republic of Colombia.
There is one hybrid, registered in 1926 with the Royal Horticultural Society, by the Edinburgh Bot. Garden:
Sobralia Inverleith = lowii x
Photos provided by
Russell Hutton, L&R Orchids, NZ.
Note the silver ruler in both photos below. The shorter plant, on the left-hand side is from the Glasgow Botanic Gardens collection; it stands at approx. 25" high, and it bears darker flowers than the plant on the right-hand side, which is approx. 34" high and is from Bill Goldman (US). Both specimens are mature clumps.
Robert Allen Rolfe (1890) in: Gardeners' Chronicle Series 3, 8: 378. London.
International Plant Names Index [IPNI]
International Orchid Register hybrid search engine [UK]
Sobralia Hybrids, by Nina Rach [US]
The Genus Sobralia, by Delfina de Araujo [BRAZIL]