Stanhopea Thunder Bird

(insignis x nigroviolacea)

Edited 15 May 2007
© Nina Rach


This beautiful hybrid was made by Doug Pulley, Los Gatos, California, and registered with the Royal Horticultural Society in fourth-quarter 2003. It began blooming from its 4-inch pot on 13 Aug 2005. The single flower has a complex fragrance, including chocolate mint notes. The lateral sepals are exceptionally broad, and the lip is very heavy and glossy. The sepals and petals are pale yellow with burgundy spots. Most of the rich, dark color is in the lip; the interior of the hypochile is almost solid deep, dark burgundy. The lip is predominantly creamy white at base, with liberal spotting and speckling throughout. There's a clear distinction between the yellowness of the sepals and petals and the off-white background color of the lip.

Measurements: Natural spread 12 cm (horiz. and vertical); dorsal sepal 3.5 cm wide, 8.2 cm long; petal 1.9 cm wide, 8.5 cm long; lateral sepal 6.1 cm wide (yes, really), 8.0 cm long; lip 5.0 cm wide, 6.5 cm long; column 3.1 cm wide, 6.0 cm long.

The Stanhopea insignis parent...

The Stanhopea nigroviolacea 'Black Tiger' parent received an AM/AOS and was published in the Awards Quarterly 34(1): 70, with photo.


A similar hybrid is Stanhopea Wolteriana ( tigrina x insignis), published by Schlechter in Orchis 8:108 (1914). However, the name Stanhopea Wolteriana was also used for the cross of (martiana x tigrina) done by P. Wolter, mentioned in Sanders List of Orchid Hybrids, 1905.

Stanhopea Hidden Agenda; photo by Doug Pulley In August 2005, Doug Pulley said that he was attempting to breed a very dark flower when he made this cross. He wanted to combine the "very dark column of the insignis with the solid dark maroon sepals of 'Black Tiger'." He said that he feels that his newer cross, Stanhopea Hidden Agenda (insignis x posadae) is more successful in this respect and he's more excited about its potential now that it has started blooming out. Photo at right.

See the webpage on Stanhopea Hybrids.

AOS awards:

Printed References:

Web Reference:

International Plant Names Index [IPNI],

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