Sobralia mucronata

Ames & C. Schweinfurth 1925

Native to Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and Costa Rica

Edited 25 April 2007
© Nina Rach

Sobralia mucronata photo needed!

Originally published by Oakes Ames & C. Schweinfurth in: Ames, Schedulae Orchidianae No. 8, 54 (1925).

The name "mucronata" means "having mucros" -- sharp, terminal points. This species is distinguished by having three small "teeth" on the tips of the leaves, the floral bracts, and on the column wing tips. The plants grow about 1 ft tall (30 cm) in cultivation, and up to 3 ft (1 m) tall in their natural habitat (both epiphytically and terrestrially). The leaves are hard and stiff, with stellar hairs covering the under (dorsal) side.

The flowers are white and somewhat cupped, with the backs of sepals being greenish. The lip is white with and orange area in the center and two pale-yellow keels; the column is white. See the article by Teuscher (1965) for a full detailed description of the floral parts. Flowers appeared in cultivation in Canada in July and August.

This species is evidently rare everywhere. Observed in three provinces of Costa Rica at 500 m, 550 m, and 1000 m elevation, blooming in November (Alajuela, Heredia, and Guanacaste). Specimen collected at Monteverde, voucher # 10152. William Haber noted that a specimen at 1000 m was an "epiphyte on tree trunk in pasture. Flower pale yellow, lip shaded with maroon;" Stephen Ingram noted that a plant from 550m was an "Epiphytic on fallen branch. Sepals white, spreading; petals white; throat white with yellow groove down center; lip with raised, wavy calluses marked with yellow, margins fimbriate." It is known in Costa Rica as the " One Day Flower"

Web References:

International Plant Names Index [IPNI],

Listed as "rara" (Categoría de protección), along with Sob. lindleyana in the Norma Oficial Mexicana list (NOM-ECOL-059-94)

Information about three separately collected plants of this taxon can be found in the BIMS Database for Costa Rica [Biodiveristy Information Management System].

Missouri Botanic Garden, Field records from the Manual de la Flora de Costa Rica

William A. Haber (2001) "Plants of Monteverde: Orchidaceae" in: Monteverde Natural History

R. L. Wilbur & Colaboradores, EDICION XV (OCTUBRE 1990) "LISTA PRELIMINAR DE LAS PLANTAS VASCULARES" for La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica:

Featured on a 1994 Christmas stamp from Belize, $0.75 value.

Belize Botanic Garden:

Printed References:

Oakes Ames and C. Schweinfurth (1925) Schedulae Orchidianae, no. 8: 54. Boston, Mass.

Oakes Ames and Donovan Stewart Correll (29 Aug 1952) Orchids of Guatemala. Fieldiana: Botany 26(1). Chicago Natural History Museum. 395p. [Sobralia decora , decora var. aerata - Panama; fragrans, macrantha, mucronata, xantholeuca, pp. 64-71]

Michael J. Balick, Michael H. Nee & Daniel E. Atha (2000) Checklist of the vascular plants of Belize, with common names and uses. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 85: 1–246. The New York Botanic Garden Press. [Sobralia decora, fragrans, macrantha, mucronata]

H. Teuscher (1965) "Sobralia mucronata and S. lindleyana," in: American Orchid Society Bulletin, 34(11):994-997. [includes black and white photos of flowers and plants of both species].

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