Primitive Stanhopeas

Edited 18 December 2007
© Nina Rach

Stanhopea cirrhata, blooming Aug 2003

There is a group of unusual stanhopeas native to the warm/hot steamy lowlands of Central America and northern/western South America. These species have relatively small flowers which lack the elegant horns which are so prominent in most of the other stanhopea species. They include:
Stanhopea annulata Mansfield 1938
Stanhopea avicula Dressler 1989
Stanhopea cirrhata Lindley 1850
Stanhopea ecornuta Lemaire 1846
Stanhopea pulla Rchb.f. 1877

Flowers are usually borne in pairs, on very short inflorescences. The plants require less light than other stanhopea species. Slightly bright shade is usually sufficient. At left, Stanhopea cirrhata blooming in Houston, August 2003.

There is also a group of stanhopeas with short, very abbreviated horns, nearly hornless:
Stanhopea candida Barb. Rodr. 1877
Stanhopea grandiflora (Loddiges) Lindley 1832
Stanhopea x herrenhusana -natural hybrid
Stanhopea reichenbachiana Roezl ex Rchb.f.
Stanhopea tricornis Lindley 1849


Oakes Ames and Donovan Stewart Correll (September 25, 1953). Orchids of Guatemala, in: Fieldiana, Botany 26(2): 399-727. Chicago Natural History Museum. = Part II of the 1985 Dover Edition [pp. 528-538: Stanhopea ecornuta, x Lewisae]

Oakes Ames and Donovan S. Correll (1985 reprint) Orchids of Guatemala and Belize. New York: Dover Press, 779 pages.

Arcadio Arosemena G., Roberto Estrada G., Cecilia de Jurado, and Max Konanz M. (1988) Orquídeas de la costa del Ecuador, Guayaquil: Asociacion Ecuatoriana de Orquideologia, 129p [p.156 with photo].

Helmut Bechtel, Phillip Cribb, Edmund Launert 1992. The Manual of Cultivated Orchid Species (Third Edition). The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 585p. [Text & photo: Stanhopea ecornuta]

Kenneth J. Curry, W.L. Stern, & L.M. McDowell (1988)"Osmophore development in Stanhopea anfracta and S. pulla (Orchidaceae)," in: Lindleyana 3:212-220.

Calaway H. Dodson (1967) "El genero Stanhopea en Colombia," in: Orquideologia 2(4): 7-27. [Stanhopea annulata, candida, grandiflora, reichenbachiana, tricornis, tricornis ssp. stenochila]

Calaway H. Dodson (Marzo 1972) "," in: Orquideologia v.7(1): 13-18 + color photos p.34-35. [Stanhopea tricornis with Eulaema meiriania]

Calaway H. Dodson (1975) "Orchids of Ecuador: Stanhopea," in: Selbyana 1(2): 114--129.

Calaway H. Dodson (1988) "A list of the orchid species reported for Ecuador," in: Orquídeas de la costa del Ecuador, 115--129.

Robert L. Dressler (1989) 'Stanhopea avicula, a New Twin-flowered Species from Eastern Panama,' in: American Orchid Society Bulletin 58(9): 885 (-886), figs. 1989. [type publication for Stanhopea avicula]

Robert L. Dressler (1993) Field Guide to the Orchids of Costa Rica and Panama. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 304 pp, 240 illustrations. [Stanhopea cirrhata; S. avicula; S. ecornuta; S. pulla]

Rodrigo Escobar (Ed.) (1992) Native Colombian Orchids, Volume 4, Medellin: Compania Litografica Nacional S.A.; p.546 (photo of Stanhopea avicula on p.551).

Rodrigo Escobar (Ed.) (1998) Native Colombian Orchids, Volume 6, Medellin: Compania Litografica Nacional S.A.; p.1028 (Stanhopea candida), p.1029 (Stanhopea annulata, pulla, avicula), p.1030 (Stanhopea tricornis, with bees), p.1033 (Stanhopea reichenbachiana, tricornis, x herrenhusana)

Flora Mesoamericana List, Searchable Index from the Tropicos Database at [Stanhopea cirrhata, ecornuta]

Barney Greer (1998) The Astonishing Stanhopeas, Collaroy Beach, NSW Australia, p.12 (with photos of annulata, avicula, cirrhata).

Fritz Hamer (24 April 1990) "Orchids of Central America, An Illustrated Field Guide (M-Z)," in: Selbyana 11: Supp. 423-860. [Stanhopea cirrhata, S. ecornuta]

Clarence K.L. Horich (May-June 1974) 'The Costa Rican Stanhopea Species,' in: Orchid Digest 38(3): 108. [Stanhopea cirrhata, ecornuta, x fowlieana, pulla]

Rudolf Jenny (Jan-Feb-Mar 1993a) "The Genus Stanhopea in Colombia," in: Orchid Digest 57(1): 17. [Stanhopea annulata, candida, grandiflora, x herrenhusana, pulla, reichenbachiana, tricornis]

Rudolf Jenny (1994) "The Gongorinae: 7. Stanhopea: part 13," in: Caesiana no. 3, pp. -. [Stanhopea avicula, S. guttulata and S. stevensonii Mejia & Escobar ex Jenny, spec. nov.]

Linda Kraus (April 1984) "The Culture of Stanhopeas -- Confessions of a Requited Lover," in: AOS Bulletin 53(4): 358-366. [Stanhopea eburnea, ecornuta, grandiflora]

Charles Lemaire (1846) "Stanhopea ecornuta," in: Flore des Serres ii, t. ___

John Lindley (1850) Journal of the Horticultural Society of London: 5:37 [type publication for Stanhopea cirrhata]

Rudolf Mansfield (1938) '_____,' in: Orchis 16: 19; cf. Gray Herbarium Card Catalog. [type publication for Stanhopea annulata]

Ray McCullough "Culture of Various Thin-Leafed Orchids," a Synopsis of Ray McCullough's talk at the 3/10/96 Ann Arbor OS meeting. [Stanhopea grandiflora, eburneum, ecornuta]

R.L. Wilbur & Colaboradores (Oct 1990) "Lista Preliminar de las Plantas Vasculares," La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. URL: [Stanhopea ecornuta Lem. [MHG 11097, INB]]

Norris H. Williams (1982) "The biology of orchids and euglossine bees," in: J. Arditti, Orchid Biology, Reviews and Perspectives, II, pp. 119-171. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. [Stanhopea annulata, candida, cirrhata, ecornuta, grandiflora, reichenbachiana, tricornis]

Comments? Questions? Send e-mail:

Stanhopea Pages Banner Sobralia Pages Banner

Houston Orchid Society Houston Judging Center