Native to Costa Rica and Panama
Edited 25 April 2007
Dressler (1993) writes: "Flowers borne from loose leafy bracts about 8 cm long; base of lip wide, spreading; lip with nine prominent keels, some raised and some reaching to near apex." Flowers white, "lip striped with purple, may be suffused with purple." Plants grow to 1.5 m tall, sepals 4.5cm long.
There are apparently three different varieties/color forms of this species. The image at left illustrates the typical form from Panama, creamy white with purple-red markings on the lip. Maduro's description:
"Very rare in cultivation. Tall species with showy white flowers with purple painted lips, which last for up to 9 days! Grow intermediate, with modestly bright light, evenly moist."
See also: Sobralia maduroi and Sobralia sanfelicis.
The image at right depicts Sobralia undatocarinata var. chica from Panama. It is a dwarf-growing variety of the typical form, but otherwise similar.
The photo at left depicts Sobralia undatocarinata var. aurea from Panama. It is a tall-growing species, similar in habit to the typical form, but with showy yellow flowers.
All photos courtesy of Sr. Andres Maduro, Panama.
Plants are available from Maduro's Tropical Flowers of Panama, through Woodstream Orchids, Maryland.
Robert L. Dressler (October 2004) "The Sobralia undatocarinata complex: where have they been hiding?," in: Orchids 73(10): 774-778.
Robert L. Dressler (1993) Field Guide to the Orchids of Costa Rica and Panama. Ithaca: Comstock Publishing Associates, p.319.