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Laelia anceps
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Epidendreae
Subtribe: Laeliinae
Genus: Laelia
Lindl., 1831
Type species
Laelia speciosa
(Kunth) Schltr. 1914

See text

Laelia is a small genus of 25 species[1] in the orchid family (Orchidaceae). Laelia species are found in areas of subtropical or temperate climate in Central and South America, but mostly in Mexico.[2] Laelia is abbreviated L. in the horticultural trade.[3]


Mostly epiphyte herbs (with a few lithophytes) with laterally compressed pseudobulbs.[4][2] One to four leathery or fleshy leaves are born near the top of each pseudobulb, and can be broadly ovate to oblong.[4] The inflorescence is a terminal raceme (rarely a panicle).[4][2] The flowers have 8 pollinia; petals are of a thinner texture than the sepals; sepals and petals are of similar shape, but the sepals being narrower; the lip or labellum is free from the arched flower column.[4][2]


Species of Laelia can be found from western Mexico south to Bolivia, from sea level to mountain forests.[2][5]


The genus Laelia was described as part of subfamily Epidendroideae by John Lindley.[6] Brazilian Laelias, after being classified for several years under Sophronitis,[7] have now been placed in the genus Cattleya.[8] Moreover, species formerly placed in the genus Schomburgkia have been moved either to the genus Laelia or Myrmecophila.[9]

Laelia gouldiana


Laelia comprises the following species:[1]

Image Name Distribution Elevation (m)
Laelia albida Orchi 005.jpg Laelia albida Bateman ex Lindl. 1839 Mexico 1000 - 2000 meters
Laelia anceps var. veitchiana at the Pacific Orchid Exposition 2010.jpg Laelia anceps Lindl. 1835 Mexico and Honduras 500 -1500 meters
Laelia aurea A.Navarro 1990 Mexico ( Durango, Sinaloa and Nayarit ) 200 meters
L. autumnalis.JPG Laelia autumnalis (Lex.) Lindl. 1831 Mexico 1500 - 2600 meters
Laelia colombiana - Flickr. 003.jpg Laelia colombiana J.M.H.Shaw 2008 Colombia and Venezuela
Laelia elata - Flickr - Alejandro Bayer (3) - cropped.jpg Laelia elata (Schltr.) J.M.H.Shaw 2009 Colombia
Laelia eyermaniana Rchb.f. 1888 Mexico (Nayarit, Michoacán, and Jalisco, Sonora, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, and Querétaro. Halbinger) 1600 - 2600 meters
Laelia furfuracea Orchi 002.jpg Laelia furfuracea Lindl. 1839 Mexico (Oxaca) 2100 - 3000 meters
Laelia gloriosa (Rchb.f.) L.O.Williams 1860 Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and northern Brazil 200 - 850 meters
Laelia gouldiana-003.jpg Laelia gouldiana Rchb.f. 1888 Mexico Hidalgo 1550 meters
Laelia × halbingeriana Salazar & Soto Arenas Oaxaca, Mexico 1160 meters
Laelia heidii (Carnevali) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase 2004 Colombia and Venezuela
Schomburgkia - Laelia lueddemannii (35614934044) - cropped.jpg Laelia lueddemannii (Prill.) L.O.Williams 1940 Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela 0 - 600 meters
Laelia lyonsii (Lindl.) L.O.Williams 1941 Cuba and Jamaica 0 - 800 meters
Schomburgkia crispa-01.jpg Laelia marginata (Lindl.) L.O.Williams 1941 Colombia, Venezuela, French Guyana, Guyana, Suriname and Northern Brazil
Laelia mottae Archila, Chiron, Szlach. & Pérez-García 2014 Guatemala 400 meters
Laelia moyobambae (Schltr.) C.Schweinf. 1944 Bolivia and Peru
Laelia rubescens Orchi 038.jpg Laelia rubescens Lindl. 1840 Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua 0 - 1700 meters
Laelia schultzei (Schltr.) J.M.H.Shaw 2008 Colombia
Laelia speciosa.jpg Laelia speciosa (Kunth) Schltr. 1914 Mexico 1400 - 2400 meters
Laelia splendida (Schltr.) L.O.Williams 1941 Colombia and Ecuador 600 - 1500 meters
Laelia superbiens Orchi 001.jpg Laelia superbiens Lindl. 1840 Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua 800 - 2000 meters
Schomburgkia undulata 0zz.jpg Laelia undulata (Lindl.) L.O.Williams 1941 Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Trinidad, Venezuela 600 - 1200 meters
Laelia weberbaueriana (Kraenzl.) C.Schweinf. 1944 Peru and Bolivia 200 - 1300 meters


Species in this genus are found in forests from sea level to mountain habitats above 2000 m.[2] Species from above 2000 m of elevation like L. albida, and L. autumnalis are adapted to temperate climates and can be grown outdoors in places like the Mexican Plateau, California and other subtropical areas with cool summers.[2]

Laelia is one of the orchid genera known to use crassulacean acid metabolism photosynthesis,[10] which reduces evapotranspiration during daylight because carbon dioxide is collected at night.


Laelias can be grown fastened to tree trunks, as long as the tree won't cast a deep shadow; they can also be fastened to a piece of branch or a slab of cork so they can be hung in a place facing south.[2] The growing medium must have good drainage, rapidly drying after watering; pieces of pine bark, charcoal or pebbles are good choices.[2] If grown mounted they definitely need approximately 50-70% humidity, while cooler temperatures increase the blooming process.[11] Watering can be done 2-3 times a week, but with lower frequency in winter.[2] Fertilization can be done with a very dilute solution, twice a month especially during growing season (May to November in Northern Hemisphere).[2]


  1. ^ a b "Laelia (Orchidaceae) - The Plant List". Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Halbinger, F.; Soto, M. (1997). "Laelias of Mexico". Orquídea. 15: 1–160.
  3. ^ "Alphabetical list of standard abbreviations of all generic names occurring in current use in orchid hybrid registration as at 31st December 2007" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society.
  4. ^ a b c d Schweinfurth, C. (1960). "Orchids of Peru". Fieldiana. Chicago Natural History Museum. 30 (3): 536.
  5. ^ Schweinfurth, C. (1970). "First supplement to the Orchids of Peru". Fieldiana. Field Museum of Natural History. 33: 46.
  6. ^ John Lindley (1830–1840). The genera and species of orchidaceous plants. Ridgways; available from Biodiversity Heritage Library. p. 115.
  7. ^ C. van den Berg; M. W. Chase (2000). "Nomenclatural notes on Laeliinae – I.". Lindleyana. 15 (2): 115–119.
  8. ^ Berg, Cássio van den (2014). "Reaching a compromise between conflicting nuclear and plastid phylogenetic trees: a new classification for the genus Cattleya (Epidendreae; Epidendroideae; Orchidaceae)". Phytotaxa. 186 (2): 75–86. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.186.2.2. ISSN 1179-3163.
  9. ^ Allikas, Greg (September 2009). "Farewell Schomburgkia". American Orchid Society. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  10. ^ Gilberto Barbante Kerbauy; Cassia Ayumi Takahashi; Alejandra Matiz Lopez; Aline Tiemi Matsumura; Leonardo Hamachi; Lucas Macedo Félix; Paula Natália Pereira; Luciano Freschi; Helenice Mercier (2012). "Crassulacean Acid Metabolism in Epiphytic Orchids: Current Knowledge, Future Perspectives". Applied Photosynthesis, Dr Mohammad Najafpour (Ed.). ISBN 978-953-510-061-4.
  11. ^ Thompson, Cable. "orchid care tips". Retrieved 4 February 2018.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Laelia at Wikimedia Commons