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Laelia anceps
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
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 in the orchid family (Orchidaceae).[1] 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.[2][4] 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).[2][4] 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.[2][4]


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 Bateman ex Lindl. 1839 Mexico 1,000–2,000 metres (3,300–6,600 ft)
Laelia anceps Lindl. 1835 Mexico and Honduras 500–1,500 metres (1,600–4,900 ft)
Laelia aurea A.Navarro 1990 Mexico ( Durango, Sinaloa and Nayarit ) 200 metres (660 ft)
Laelia autumnalis (Lex.) Lindl. 1831 Mexico 1,500–2,600 metres (4,900–8,500 ft)
Laelia colombiana J.M.H.Shaw 2008 Colombia and Venezuela
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) 1,600–2,600 metres (5,200–8,500 ft)
Laelia furfuracea Lindl. 1839 Mexico (Oxaca) 2,100–3,000 metres (6,900–9,800 ft)
Laelia gloriosa (Rchb.f.) L.O.Williams 1860 Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and northern Brazil 200–850 metres (660–2,790 ft)
Laelia gouldiana Rchb.f. 1888 Mexico Hidalgo 1,550 metres (5,090 ft)
Laelia × halbingeriana Salazar & Soto Arenas Oaxaca, Mexico 1,160 metres (3,810 ft)
Laelia heidii (Carnevali) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase 2004 Colombia and Venezuela
Laelia lueddemannii (Prill.) L.O.Williams 1940 Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela 0–600 metres (0–1,969 ft)
Laelia lyonsii (Lindl.) L.O.Williams 1941 Cuba and Jamaica 0–800 metres (0–2,625 ft)
Laelia marginata (Lindl.) L.O.Williams 1941 Colombia, Venezuela, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Northern Brazil
Laelia mottae Archila, Chiron, Szlach. & Pérez-García 2014 Guatemala 400 metres (1,300 ft)
Laelia moyobambae (Schltr.) C.Schweinf. 1944 Bolivia and Peru
Laelia rosea (Linden ex Lindl.) C.Schweinf. 1967 Colombia, Venezuela and Guyana
Laelia rubescens Lindl. 1840 Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua 0–1,700 metres (0–5,577 ft)
Laelia schultzei (Schltr.) J.M.H.Shaw 2008 Colombia
Laelia speciosa (Kunth) Schltr. 1914 Mexico 1,400–2,400 metres (4,600–7,900 ft)
Laelia splendida (Schltr.) L.O.Williams 1941 Colombia and Ecuador 600–1,500 metres (2,000–4,900 ft)
Laelia superbiens Lindl. 1840 Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua 800–2,000 metres (2,600–6,600 ft)
Laelia undulata (Lindl.) L.O.Williams 1941 Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Trinidad, Venezuela 600–1,200 metres (2,000–3,900 ft)
Laelia weberbaueriana (Kraenzl.) C.Schweinf. 1944 Peru and Bolivia 200–1,300 metres (660–4,270 ft)


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,[citation needed] 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.[10] 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]


Hybrids of Laelia with other orchid genera are placed in the following nothogenera (this list is incomplete):

Rhyncholaelia is a distinct genus rather than a nothogenus.


  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. ^ Thompson, Cable. "orchid care tips". Retrieved 4 February 2018.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Laelia at Wikimedia Commons