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 Sophronitis subsp. var.  
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Orchidaceae > Sophronitis var. ,

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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.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Sophronitis (Greek, modest). Orchidaceae. Dwarf epiphytic orchids, cultivated on account of their neat habit and brilliantly colored flowers.

Pseudobulbs small, with 1 or rarely 2 small flat lvs.: fls. from the top of the pseudobulbs, brightly colored; sepals and petals nearly equal, spreading; labellum with a broad middle lobe and small erect side lobes, the base leading into a cavity in the wall of the ovary; column short, the stigmatic surface covering 2 wing-like projections at its summit; pollinia 8.—About 6 species, closely related to Laelia, Cattleya, and the like; Brazil.

These plants, and also sophrocattleyas and sophrolaelias, thrive in the temperature of the cattleya house. In growing season, give a moderate supply of water and plenty of fresh air. Rest them at 50° to 55°, and water sufficiently to keep them from shriveling. Grow them in shallow pots with plenty of drainage, and a thin layer of fine turfy fern-root, using no sphagnum. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



Pests and diseases


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

  • 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[2]
    • 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).
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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).
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Sophronitis sincorana

Natural hybrids

  • 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

  • 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. RHS Advisory Panel on Orchid Hybrid Registration (APOHR) Meeting
  2. Carl Leslie Withner, The Cattleyas and Their Relatives: Schomburgkia, Sophronitis, and Other South American Genera, Timber Press, 1990. p.67

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