Native to Venezuela, Guyana, Brazil (Roraima, Acre)
Edited 6 April 2009
Text © Nina Rach
Note the fine, white hairs covering the callus of this lovely, bright lavender flower. It is one of the distinguishing characteristics.
This terrestrial species has very narrow leaves on sturdy stems and forms substantial clumps, growing in full sun, near water. We found it growing on rocks in or adjacent to cool streams, with only a thin layer of organic detritus, in an upland plateau area of southern Venezuela. The plants are less than a meter in height when growing in sand pockets on the rock. On nearby overhangs, in rocky soil with shaded roots, the clumps formed thickets, with stems nearly two meters long. In the stream, this sobralia was growing along with Phragmipedium klotzcheanum, which was in bloom at the same time. A very beautiful combination and provided a rare opportunity for us to enjoy nature at its best.
The type specimen was collected by Robert (R.H.) and Richard (M.R.) Schomburgk in Guayana in the mid-1880s; sine numero (unnumbered collection).
The photos were taken in early October 2001 at about 1800m, on a wonderful trek through the Gran Sabana, part of the Canaima National Park in Venezuela.
Dr. Robert Dressler has confirmed the species ID.
Eric A. Christenson and J.K. Boggan (1996) "ORCHIDACEAE of the Guianas, in: Checklist of the Plants of the Guianas". Orchidaceae webpage:
URL [cited for Guyana and possibly Suriname and French Guiana]
G.C.K. Dunsterville and Leslie A. Garay (1965) Venezuelan Orchids Illustrated, Volume 3: 292. London: Andre Deutsch Limited. [Text and line drawings of Sob. fimbriata; Sob. infundibuligera; Sob. polyphylla; Sob. stenophylla]
G.C.K. Dunsterville and Leslie A. Garay (1979) Orchids of Venezuela: An Illustrated Field Guide. Massachusetts: Botanical Museum of Harvard University. 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]
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]
Gustavo A. Romero (1998) Venezuela, Orchid Paradise. 128p., 60 color photos, 62 B&W plates. [Sob. liliastrum, Sob. paradisica, Sob. stenophylla, Sob. violacea, (Sob. yauaperyensis)]
Gustavo A. Romero and German Carnevali (15 July 2000) Orchids of Venezuela: An Illustrated Field Guide, Second Edition. Caracas: Armitano Editores.
3 gray volumes in a purple slipcase. 70 extra drawings added to the 1050 previously published by Dunsterville and Garay in the original 1979 Field Guide, and taxonomic corrections.
Juul A.C. van Dam (2002) "The Guyanan Plant Collections of Robert and Richard Schomburgk," in Flora of the Guyanas, Supp. Series Fascicle 3, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK. Edited by M.J. Jansen-Jacobs; 211 pp., map. [Index 6, p. 199: Sobralia liliasrum (TYPE), sessilis, stenophylla (TYPE)].