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 Stanhopea subsp. var.  Upside-down orchid
Stanhopea insignis
Habit: orchid
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Lifespan: perennial
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Orchidaceae > Stanhopea var. ,

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Stanhopea (J. Frost ex Hook. 1829) is a genus of the orchid family (Orchidaceae) from Central and South America. The abbreviation used in horticultural trade is Stan. The genus is named for the 4th Earl of Stanhope (Philip Henry Stanhope) (1781-1855), president of the Medico-Botanical Society of London (1829-1837). These epiphytic, but occasionally terrestrial orchids can be found in damp forests from Mexico to NW Argentina. Their ovate pseudobulbs carry from the top one long, plicate, elliptic leaf.

It is noted for its complex and usually fragrant flowers that are generally spectacular and short-lived. Their pendant inflorescences are noted for flowering out of the bottom of the containers in which they grow, lending themselves to culture in baskets that have enough open space for the infloresence push through. They are sometimes called upside-down orchids.

Primitive Stanhopeas[1] Most Stanhopea flowers flash prominent, elegant horns on the epichile. The exception are the species; S. annulata, S. avicula, S. cirrhata, S. ecornuta and S. pulla. A second group have short or truncated horns, they include the species; S. candida, S. grandiflora, S. reichenbachiana, S. tricornis and the natural hybrid S. x herrenhusana. The structure of the labellum of this group is in general, not as complex as other members of the genus.

With most Stanhopea flowers lasting three days or less, the blooms must attract pollinators very quickly. These chemical attractants are generated in the hypochile, attracting the male euglossine bees to the flower. When the bee touches down on the flower, a great effort is made to collect chemical scent - he eventually slides on the waxy surface of the hypochile, gliding down on the slippery lip to exit the flower. The long column is touched in the process, resulting in the bee taking up pollinia at the very tip of the column. When the bee slides down another flower, the pollinia are deposited on the sticky surface of the stigma.

The majority of species are robust plants that grow readily in cultivation. For relatives of Stanhopea see Stanhopeinae and the closely related sister subtribe Coeliopsidinae..

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Stanhopea (named for the Earl of Stanhope, president of the Medico-Botanical Society, London). Orchidaceae. Epiphytic orchids easily grown and very interesting, but the fugacious character of their flowers has been unfavorable to their extensive cultivation.

Pseudobulbs clustered on the short rhizome, sheathed with scales and each bearing a single large plaited lf. contracted to a petiole at the base: fls. produced on thick scapes, which bore their way through the material in which they are planted and emerge from the bottom of the basket, large, fragrant, and curiously formed; sepals and petals usually reflexed, subequal or the petals narrower; labellum remarkably transformed, basal part or hypochil boat-shaped or saccate, often with two horns on the upper margin, passing gradually into the mesochil, which consists of a fleshy central part and two lateral horns; the terminal lobe or epichil firmly or movably joined to the mesochil, usually fleshy and keeled but not saccate, base of the labellum continuous with the long-winged column. — About 50 species inhabiting Trop. Amer. from Mex. to Brazil. The fls. expand with a perceptible sound early in the morning.

Stanhopeas enjoy a shady, moist location. A temperature of 60 to 65° F. at night and 70 to 75° during the day should be maintained in winter, with a gradual advance of 10° toward midsummer. They should be grown suspended from the roof in orchid cabins or terra cotta baskets with large openings at the bottom, and if drainage is used it should be placed in such a manner that it will not interfere with the exit of the pendulous flower-scapes. Equal parts chopped sphagnum and peat fiber forms a good compost. By severing the rhizome here and there between the old pseudobulbs, new growths will be sent up and thus the stock may be increased. 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.


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Pests and diseases

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Stanhopea tigrina
Stanhopea oculata
Stanhopea graveolens

The representative species is Stanhopea insignis.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

S. Amesiana, Hort.-S. Lowii. —S. bellaerensis –S. insignis x S. oculata. R.H. 1896:232. — S. convoluta, Rolfe. Sepals and petals ivory-white, the latter with buff tips, the sepals elliptic-oblong, spreading, 2 1/2 - 3 in. long, 1 1/4 – 1 3/4 in. wide, the petals connivent, inclosing column, about 2 in. long, 1 1/4 in. wide; lip buff-yellow, with the interior of hypochil orange, over 1 1/2 in. long, 3-lobed; hypochil subglobose; epichil oblong, truncate. Colombia. B.M. 8507. — S. costaricensis, Reichb. f. Fls. 4 1/2 - 5 in. across, pale yellow, densely purple-dotted; lip with 2 prominent keels on each side; column with small triangular wing at apex. Costa Rica.— S. elegantula, Rolfe. Fls. primose-yellow, with base of petals and hypochil of lip orange, sparsely dotted with brown. Hab. (?). — S. florida, Reichb. f. Infl. dense, about 7-fld.: fls. white, the inside of sepals and petals spotted with purple; lip with numerous small purple dots, the hypochil with a large blotch on each side. S. Amer. G.C. II. 16:561, 565; III. 19:265.—S. graveolens, Lindl. Fls. ample; sepals greenish white flushed yellowish; petals pale yellow, oblong-ligulate, undulate, shortly acuminate; lip with the hypochil apricot; mesochil white; epichil entire, oval, pointed, white, purple-dotted. Guatemala. G.W. 3, p. 472. C.O. 4. — S. Haseloviana, Reichb. f. Fls. 6 in. across; sepals and petals dull gray on back, dull yellowish on surface, covered with annular pale rose spots; lip spotted with dark purple; hypochil quadrate; epichil 3-parted. Peru. B.M. 7452. — S. inodora, Lodd. Lateral sepals ovate-oblong; hypochil subcompressed, short, saccate; epichil orbicular-ovate, entire; fls. pale flushed with yellow. Mex. B.R. 31:65. G.M. 57:54. G.W. 7, p. 27. — S. Langlasseana, Cogn. Lip erect, rigid, closely pressed against the erect column; petals ascending, pressed against the column: sepals extended horizontally . Trop. Amer. — S. Lowii, Rolfe. Sepals and petals creamy buff, the latter brown-dotted; lip ivory-white, the hypochil branded with dull maroon. Colombia. G.M. 36:352. G.C III. 14:689. J.H. III. 45:193.— S. Madouxiana, Cogn. Fls. fragrant, 5-7 in. across; sepals and petals cream-white, with large spots of carmine-rose, the sepals triangular-oval, obtuse, the petals broadly oblong, obtuse, undulate: lip fleshy, in color like sepals and petals, the inside of hypochil tinged with violet-black; epichil oval, pointed. Colombia. G.C. III. 24: 135. C.O. 1. — S. nigripes, Rolfe. Sepals and petals yellow, with numerous small purple blotches, the sepals elliptic-oblong, acute, the petals linear-oblong, acute, undulate; lip yellowish white, purple-spotted at base and on epichil, the hypochil with a dark black-purple eye-like spot on each side, the inside the same color, the epichil ovate-orbicular. Origin unknown. — S. peruviana, Rolfe. Fls. golden yellow; sepals obtuse, the dorsal oblong, the lateral obliquely and broadly ovate; petals linear-oblong, revolute; lip with the hypochil suffused dark purple on sides; epichil orbicular-ovate, purple-spotted. Peru. B.M. 8417. —S. Randii, Rolfe. Fls. ivory-white, faintly shaded yellow on lip; sepals elliptic-oblong, acute; petals lanceolate-oblong, acute, lip with the hypochil papillate inside, the epichil triangular, acute. Brazil. — S. Rodigasiana, Claes. Fls. about 6 in. across; sepals spreading, oblong-ovate, purple-marbled below, maroon-blotched above; petals triangular-lanceolate, attenuate above, pale green; lip very fleshy, the hypochil suffused with maroon-purple below, the remainder blotched; epichil reticulated, triangular, obtuse, spotted with dull purple. Colombia. B.M. 7702. G.M. 41:492. G.C. III. 24:31.—S. Ruckeri, Lindl. Resembles S. Wardii in color, but paler; hypochil obovate; epichil stained pink. Mex. A.F. 6:631. — S. stenochila, F. C. Lehm. A Kranzl, Sepals pure white; petals apricot-colored, with purplish blotches; lip ivory-white at base, middle and interior parts yellow. Colombia. — S. Wolteriana, Kranzl. -S. Martiana x S. tigrina. Fls. dull straw-color or pale orange; sepals obscurely marked with wine-red, the spots on the petals larger. 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.

Natural hybrids

  • Stanhopea × fowlieana (Stanhopea costaricensis × Stanhopea ecornuta) (Costa Rica)
  • Stanhopea × herrenhusana (Stanhopea reichenbachiana × Stanhopea tricornis) (Colombia)
  • Stanhopea × horichiana (Stanhopea ecornuta × Stanhopea wardii) (Costa Rica)
  • Stanhopea × lewisae (Stanhopea ecornuta × Stanhopea inodora) (Guatemala)
  • Stanhopea × thienii (Stanhopea annulata × Stanhopea impressa) (Ecuador)

Intergeneric hybrids

  • Aciopea (Acineta × Stanhopea). Aciopea Guillermo Gaviria (Acineta erythroxantha x Stanhopea wardii) was registered Nov-Dec 2004 by Guillermo Gaviria-Correa (Colombia). Aciopea is abbreviated Aip..
  • Cirrhopea (Cirrhaea × Stanhopea)
  • Coryhopea (Coryanthes × Stanhopea)
  • Stangora (Gongora × Stanhopea)
  • Stanhocycnis (Polycycnis × Stanhopea)





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