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"Sophronia" redirects here. For the character from the epic poem Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso, see Sophronia (Jerusalem Delivered). For the genus of moth, see Sophronia (moth).
Sophronitis cernua1.jpg
Sophronitis cernua
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Epidendreae
Subtribe: Laeliinae
Alliance: Cattleya
Genus: Sophronitis
Lindl., 1828

See text.

Sophronitis, abbreviated Soph in horticultural trade, is a genus of small, epiphytic or lithophytic orchids, growing in the damp montane forest of eastern Brazil, Paraguay and NE Argentina. Currently, 65 species are recognized.

Sophronitis species are widely known for their red flowers, particularly Sophronitis coccinea. Between the time that the Brazilian Laelias were moved to Sophronitis and the reduction of Sophronitis to synonymy under Cattleya, the genus was also known for large flowered species such as Sophronitis purpurata.

In January 2008, the International Orchid Committee voted to reduce Sophronitis to synonymy under Cattleya.[1] The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has already moved a hybrid of the rupicolous Laelia that had been renamed Sophronitis esalqueana into the genus Cattleya.


They have short, ovoid, often densely clustered pseudobulbs along the rhizome, in which grows a single, or rarely two, apical, erect, fleshy, gray-green leaves.

The leaf gives rise to a terminal inflorescence with one to eight flowers. Sometimes this inflorescence is subtended by a spathaceous bract, sometimes erroneously called spathe (spathe is a typical form in some other families such as Araceae and Arecaceae). The flowers have similarly shaped sepals and petals, and can be yellow, pink, lavender, magenta, orange and red.

The trilobed lip has lateral lobes that partially encircle the column. The smaller midlobe has a yellow disc and the spur is adnate to the ovary. The lip often presents some lamellate calli.

Some species are yellow, and almost all species have some shades of orange due to natural variation within the species.

They are used extensively in hybridization to influence the small size and the dark red color of the progeny, such as in the hybrid x Sophrolaeliocattleya (xSlc.) Sophronitis species are quite small, a characteristic that may be conferred to progeny such that they are more compact.

This new classification was created by Van den Berg and M.W. Chase in 2000. In addition to the traditional small, red species, it included all Laelia species from Brazil, based on DNA evidence. The Mexican species still are Laelia.


Brasilaelia Campacci, Chironiella Braem, Dungsia Chiron & V.P.Castro, Hadrolaelia Chiron & V.P.Castro, Hoffmannseggella H.G.Jones, Lophoglottis Raf., Microlaelia Chiron & V.P.Castro, Sophronia Lindl. are synonyms of Sophronitis.

To "reduce confusion" Sophronitis has been reduced to Synonymy under Cattleya[2]


Many of these species used to belong to the genus Laelia.

Sophronitis pfisteri
  • 1.Sophronitis acuensis Fowlie: Açu Sophronitis (Brazil - Rio de Janeiro).
  • 2.Sophronitis alaorii (Brieger & Bicalho) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Alaor's Sophronitis (Brazil - Bahia).
  • 3.Sophronitis alagoensis V.P.Castro & Chiron: (Brazil - Alagoas)
  • 4.Sophronitis alvaroana (F.E.L.Miranda) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: (Brazil - Rio de Janeiro).
  • 5.Sophronitis angereri (Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Angerer's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 6.Sophronitis bahiensis (Schltr.) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Bahian Sophronitis (Brazil - Bahia).
  • 7.Sophronitis bicolor F.E.L.Miranda: Bicolored Sophronitis (Brazil - Rio de Janeiro).
  • 8.Sophronitis blumenscheinii (Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Blumenschein's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 9.Sophronitis bradei (Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Brade's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 10.Sophronitis brevicaulis (H.G.Jones) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Short stemmed Sophronitis (Brazil).
  • 11.Sophronitis brevipedunculata (Cogn.) Fowlie: Short-stalked Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 12.Sophronitis briegeri (Blumensch. ex Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Brieger's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 13.Sophronitis britoi (K.G.Lacerda & V.P.Castro) Campacci: Brito's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais)
  • 14.Sophronitis caulescens (Lindl.) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Caulescent Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 15.Sophronitis cernua (Lindl.) Hook.: Nodding Sophronitis (Brazil to NE. Argentina). This is the type species[3]
    • 15.1.Sophronitis cernua var. alagoensis (Brazil - Alagoas). Pseudobulb epiphyte
    • 15.2.Sophronitis cernua var. cernua (Brazil to NE. Argentina). Pseudobulb epiphyte
  • 16.Sophronitis cinnabarina (Bateman ex Lindl.) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Cinnabar Sophronitis (Brazil - S. Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro).
  • 17.Sophronitis coccinea (Lindl.)Rchb.f.: Scarlet Sophronitis (Brazil to Argentina - Misiones).
  • 18.Sophronitis colnagoi (Chiron & V.P.Castro) Campacci: Colnago's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 19.Sophronitis conceicionensis (V.P.Castro & Campacci) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Sophronitis of Conceição do Mato Dentro (Brazil - Minas Gerais)
  • 20.Sophronitis crispa (Lindl.) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Crisped Sophronitis (SE. Brazil)
  • 21.Sophronitis crispata (Thunb.) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Cliff-dwelling Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 22.Sophronitis dayana (Rchb.f.) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Day's Sophronitis (Brazil - S. Minas Gerais to Rio de Janeiro).
Sophronitis purpurata
  • 23.Sophronitis duveenii (Fowlie) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Duveen's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais: Serra do Cipó).
  • 24.Sophronitis endsfeldzii (Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Endsfeldz's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 25.Sophronitis esalqueana (Blumensch. ex Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: ESALQ's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 26.Sophronitis fidelensis (Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: São Fidélis Sophronitis (Brazil - Rio de Janeiro).
  • 27.Sophronitis flavasulina (F.E.L.Miranda & K.G.Lacerda) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Southern Yellow Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais)
  • 28.Sophronitis fournieri (Cogn.) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Fournier's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais)
  • 29.Sophronitis ghillanyi (Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Ghilany's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 30.Sophronitis gloedeniana (Hoehne) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Gloeden's Sophronitis (Brazil - São Paulo).
  • 31.Sophronitis gracilis (Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Graceful Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais: Serra do Cipó).
  • 32.Sophronitis grandis (Lindl.) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Grand Sophronitis (Brazil - SE. Bahia to N. Espírito Santo).
  • 33.Sophronitis harpophylla (Rchb.f.) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Sickle-leaf Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais to Espírito Santo).
  • 34.Sophronitis hispidula (Pabst & A.F.Mello) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Finely Bristled Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 35.Sophronitis itambana (Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Itambé Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 36.Sophronitis jongheana (Rchb.f.) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Jonghe's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • 37.Sophronitis kautskyana (V.P.Castro & Chiron) Baptista: Kaustsky's Sophronitis (Brazil - Espírito Santo).
  • 38.Sophronitis kautskyi (Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Kautsky's Sophronitis (SE. Brazil)
  • 39.Sophronitis kettieana (Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Kettie's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais)
  • 40.Sophronitis liliputana (Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Dwarf Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais: Serra do Ouro Branco).
  • 41.Sophronitis lobata (Lindl) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Lobed Sophronitis (SE. Brazil.
  • 42.Sophronitis longipes (Rchb.f.) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase : Long-column Sophronitis (SE. Brazil - Serra do Cipó).
  • 43.Sophronitis lundii (Rchb.f. & Warm.) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase : Lund's Sophronitis (Bolivia to Argentina - Misiones, Salta).
    • 43.1.Sophronitis lundii f. alba (L.C.Menezes) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase
  • 44.Sophronitis mantiqueirae Fowlie: Mantiqueira Sophronitis (SE. Brazil).
  • 45.Sophronitis marcaliana (Campacci & Chiron) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Marçal's Sophronitis (Brazil - Bahia).
  • 46.Sophronitis milleri (Blumensch. ex Pabst) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Miller's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
Sophronitis sincorana

Natural hybrids[edit]

  • Sophronitis × carassana (S. lucasiana × S. mantiqueira) (Brazil)
  • Sophronitis × cipoensis (S. crispata × S. ghillanyi) (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • Sophronitis × espirito-santensis (S. pumila × S. xanthina) (SE. Brazil)
  • Sophronitis x feldmanniana (F.E.L.Miranda & K.G.Lacerda) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase 2005
  • Sophronitis × gerhard-santosii (S. harpophylla × S. kautskyana) (SE. Brazil).
  • Sophronitis × lilacina (S. crispa × S. perrinii) (SE. Brazil).
  • Sophronitis × mucugense (S. bahiensis × S. pfisteri) (Brazil - Bahia).
  • Sophronitis x raganii (F.E.L.Miranda & K.G.Lacerda) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase 2005
  • Sophronitis × wyattiana (S. crispa × S. lobata) (SE. Brazil)
  • Sophronitis × zaslawskii (S. harpophylla × S. praestans) (SE. Brazil)

Doubtful Species[edit]

  • Sophronitis pterocarpa Lindl. Wing Fruited Sophronitis (Brazil to Paraguay).
    • The type of S.pterocarpa is from the city of Rio de Janeiro, where only S. cernua occurs. The belief that this species corresponds to the western portion of the range into Paraguay does not match herbarium information.
  • Sophronitis tereticaulis (Hoehne) Van den Berg & M.W.Chase: Twisted-stem Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
    • This taxon is a variation of S. mirandae which occurs only within some populations, with no biological grounds for species recognition.



  1. ^ Ron McHatten (2008). "RHS Advisory Panel on Orchid Hybrid Registration (APOHR) Meeting". American orchid Society. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  2. ^ C. van den Berg "New Combinations in the Genus Cattleya Lindl. (Orchidaceae)" Neodiversity 3 (2008) 3-12.
  3. ^ Carl Leslie Withner, The Cattleyas and Their Relatives: Schomburgkia, Sophronitis, and Other South American Genera, Timber Press, 1990. p.67
  • van den Berg, C. and M.W. Chase. 2000. Nomenclatural notes on Laeliinae - I. Lindleyana 15(2): 115-119.

External links[edit]