Sobralia gloriosa

Rchb.f. 1873

Native to Colombia, Ecuador and Peru

Edited 17 April 2007
© Nina Rach

Sobralia gloriosa by Greg Allikas

Original publication: Xenia Orch. 2: 178, 1873.
Type specimen: Ecuador

Flowers white with maroon lip.

Both photos by Greg Allikas, taken in situ in Colombia. He notes that this sobralia was "growing in cloud forest roadsides at about 2500m. The plants were tall (2m+) and straggly...probably because of the low light from the overcast. Flowers were large as hybrid Catt, say 10-12cm, waxy, with heavy substance. Other species associated; Pths. nossax, Otoglossum coronarium, Epi. fimbriatum and a host of UFO Epi's + Pths."

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This species was collected at another location in Colombia by R. Escobar (#8179): Alto Galapagos, San Jose del Palmar, Choco.

Sobralia gloriosa by Greg Allikas

Garay (1978) provides an excellent description:
"Terrestrial plants over 2 m tall. Stems cane-like, erect, leafy throughout. Leaves large, plicate, rather thin in texture, ovate to ovate-elliptic, acuminate, more or less rounded at sessile base, up to 37 sm long and 12 cm wide. Inflorescence terminal, sessile; rachis replicately fractiflex, loosely many-flowered, up to 30 cm long. Bracts cymbiform, the lowermost ovate-lanceolate, acute, the upper ones obtuse, longer than the pedicellate ovary, up to 8 cm long, commonly much shorter. Flowers produced one at a time in succession, rather fleshy, creamy white with purple striation on lip. Dorsal sepal narrowly ovate-lanceolate, acute, dorsally mucronate, the margins involute, up to 6 cm long and 1.5 cm wide; lateral sepals connate for 5 mm basally, obliquely ovate-lanceolate, acute, mucronate dorsally, with involute margins, up to 5cm long and 1.8 cm wide. Petals thinner in texture, obovate, obtuse, with crenulate margins above, up to 6 cm long and 2 cm wide. Lip obscurely 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect, enfolding the column, rounded at apex; midlobe suborbicular in outline, bilobed in front with wavy, crispate margin; disc obliquely bicallose at base and with 5 to 7 parallel verrucose thickened veins from base to the apex; whole lip up to 5 cm long and 4.5 cm wide. Column clavate with a pair of abbreviated, falcate lobes on both sides of stigma; clinandrium flared, erose-denticulate, cucullate, up to 4 cm long. Pedicellate ovary cylindric, glabrous, up to 22 mm long."

Printed References:

Colombian Orchid Society (1994) Native Colombian Orchids, Volume 6: Supplement. Medellin: Compania Litografica Nacional S.A., p. 847-1069. [Sobralias on pp.1014-1019: S. crocea, S. violacea, S. uribei, S. macrophylla, S. rosea, S. atropubescens, S. cf. gloriosa]

Calaway H. Dodson (1988) "A list of the orchid species reported for Ecuador" in: Orquídeas de la costa del Ecuador, pp. 115-129. [55 Elleanthus sp., from E. amethystinoides to E. zamorensis; Palmorchis lobulata, P. pandurata, P. silvicola; Sobralia atropubescens, S. biflora, S. candida, S. ciliata, S. corazoi, S. crocea, S. d'orbignyana, S. dichotoma, S. fenzliana, S. fimbriata, S. fragrans, S. gloriosa, S. kermesiana, S. klotzscheana, S. lancea, S. liliastrum, S. macrophylla, S. madisonii, S. pardalina, S. persimilis, S. powellii, S. pucherrima, S. rigidissima, S. rosea, S. setigera, S. sobraliodes, S. suaveolens, S. valida; Xerorchis amazonica, X.trichorhiza]

Leslie A. Garay (Dec. 1978) Flora of Ecuador: Orchidaceae, in: Opera Botanica, Stockholm: NFR, 305p. [50 Elleanthus sp.: 57-110; 24 Sobralia sp. on pp. 110-134: Sob. atropubescens, biflora, candida, ciliata, corazoi, crocea, d'orbignyana, fenzliana, fimbriata, gloriosa, kermesina, klotzscheana, lancea, lepida, macrophylla, pardalina, persimilis, powellii, pulcherrina, rigidissima, rosea, setigera, sobralioides, valida] - with B&W line drawing of lip and petal, Fig. 37B, pg. 121.

Pedro Ortiz V. (1998) "Sobralia Ruiz & Pavon" in: Native Colombian Orchids, Volume 6: Supplement Leucohyle - Zootrophion, pp. 1014-1019. [includes color photos of Sobralia crocea; sp. -R. Escobar No.401; violacea; uribei; macrophylla; rosea; atropubescens; sp. -R. Escobar No.8197; cf. gloriosa; sp. -R. Escobar No.1124; excellent photo of two Sobralia gloriosa flowers is featured on the back cover of this volume]

Reichenbach (1873) in: Xenia Orch. 2: 178.

Web Links:

Webpage on White Sobralias:

Inventory of the vascular plants of Maquipucuna, Ecuador:

International Plant Names Index [IPNI],

From the Maquipucuna Monocot list, UC Davis Herbarium:
"182. Sobralia gloriosa Rchb. f.
Sec. for., 1200-1500 m; terr., stems 1 m, fls. white with maroon lip: V 12264*."

TROPICOS - W3CEC Web-Searchable Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Ecuador: [Elleanthus; Sobralia atropubescens, biflora, candida, ciliata, corazoi, crocea, dichotoma, dorbignyana, ecuadoriana, fenzliana, fimbriata, fragrans, gentryi, gloriosa, hagsateri, kermesiana, klotzscheana, lancea, lepida, luerorum, macrophylla, madisonii, neudeckeri, oroana, pardalina, persimilis, piedadae, powellii, pulcherrima, rigidissima, rosea, setigera, sobralioides, stevensonii, suaveolens, tamboana, valida, violacea, yauaperyensis]

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