Stanhopea costaricensis

Rchb.f. 1860

Native to El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama

Edited 9 May 2007

Stanhopea costaricensis by Daniel Jiminez

Stanhopea costaricensis Rchb.f. 1860

Originally published in Hamb. Gartenz. xvi. (1860) 424.
Plant described from Costa Rica.

This species has large, fragrant flowers and grows in intermediate conditions. González & Retana (1996) describe the scent of Stanhopea costaricensis as "very sweet, strong, confectionery body powder, cloves, floral, slightly spicy, bergamot."
Flower color can range from nearly off-white or pale yellow to deeper yellow, with red speckles on sepals, petals, and epichile. Sometimes with dark eyespots on hypochile. Column has wide wings. Horns are fat and shorter than the column. Similar-looking species occur in Colombia, labeled Stanhopea aff. costaricensis.


Photos at left and below are by Daniel Jimenez. The plant was grown by him in Cartago, Costa Rica, and flowered in July 2005.

Stanhopea costaricensis by Daniel Jiminez

Two AOS Awards:

Stanhopea costaricensis 'Plax' AM/AOS Stanhopea costaricensis 'Plax' HCC/AOS (79 pts)

Three flowers on one inflorescence; flowers buttercup yellow, becoming lighter toward base, spotted wine throughout; sepals broad; petals recurved, with undulate margins; lip clear ivory-color with two wine red ocular marks on opposite sides of hypochile; fragrance a pleasing light nutmeg scent. Natural spread of flower 13.9 cm; dorsal sepal 3.3 cm wide; 7.1 cm long; petals 2.0 cm wide, 5.8 cm long; lateral sepals 4.6 cm wide, 7.4 cm long; lip 3.0 cm wide, 5.9 cm long.

Awarded at the Southern Regional Monthly Judging, Atlanta, Georgia, 13 August 1988. Exhibited by Mr. & Mrs. Barney H. Garrison, Morrow, Georgia.

The photo at upper right depicts the second award to this clone,
Stanhopea costaricensis 'Plax' AM/AOS (82 pts).


La Asociación Salvadoreña de Orquideología, (downloaded Nov. 2005) "Especies de El Salvador,"
8 page list of all the species, followed by 11 pages on certain individual species. List contains: Stanhopea costaricensis, Stan. graveolens, Stan. oculata, Stan. saccata.

Margaret A. Dix and Michael W. Dix (2000) Orchids of Guatemala: A Revised Annotated Checklist. 61p.
"This study represents a compilation of all currently recognized species of orchids known from Guatemala. Species are listed in alphabetical order, together with synonyms or species names used in older treatments, and their geographic, elevational, and habitat distribution in the country are described. Where identification of species new to Guatemala may be difficult, distinguishing characters are briefly described. The list, based on extensive field collections and herbarium material, includes 734 taxa, of which 207 new records or recently described species were not reported in earlier studies." [Stanhopea aff. costaricensis, ecornuta, graveolens, inodora, x lewisae, oculata, saccata, wardii].

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

Rodrigo R. Escobar [Ed.] (1998) Native Colombian Orchids, Volume 6: Supplement Leucohyle-Zootrophion. Medellin: Compania Litografica Nacional S.A., pp. 847-1069. [pp. 1022-1033: Stanhopea cf. costaricensis, ospinae, stevensonii, wardii, jenischiana, posadae, shuttleworthii, candida, annulata, pulla, avicula, tricornis, impressa, xherrenhusana, reichenbachiana].

Flora Mesoamericana List, Searchable Index from the Tropicos Database at [Stanhopea cirrhata, costaricensis, ecornuta, gibbosa, wardii, warscewicziana].

William R. Goldner, David H. McMahon, and Jochen Heydel (March 1997) "Orchid Aromas: Analysis to Essence," in: Orchids 66(3): 265-271. [Stanhopea costaricensis, pulla, wardii].

M.I. González & Dora Emilia Mora de Retana (1996) "El color de las flores en la taxonomía de cuatro especies de Stanhopea (Orchidaceae)," in: Revista Biol. Trop. 44: 525-539.
A statistical analysis of floral colors in four species of Stanhopea occurring in Costa Rica results in refined characterizations. A key (based mainly on flower colors) is provided to distinguish the spp. studied (Stanhopea costaricensis Rchb. f., S. gibbosa Rchb. f., S. wardii Lodd. ex Lindl., and S. warscewicziana Klotzsch).

Fritz Hamer (24 April 1990) Orchids of Central America, An Illustrated Field Guide (M-Z), in: Selbyana 11: Supp. 423-860. [Stanhopea cirrhata, S. costaricensis, S. ecornuta, S. gibbosa, S. graveolens, S. inodora, S. oculata, S. ruckeri, S. saccata, S. wardii].

Harvard University Herbarium (as of 13 April 2003), Index of Botanical Specimens. URL: [12 specimens listed, representing 5 stanhopea species: Stanhopea costaricensis, gibbosa, haselowiana, maculosa, marshii].

Clarence Kl. Horich (May-June 1974) "The Costa Rican Stanhopea Species," in: Orchid Digest 38(3): 108. [includes: Stanhopea cirrhata, costaricensis, ecornuta, x fowlieana, gibbosa, pulla, wardii, warscewiczii].

Stanhopea costaricensis, photo below by Troy Meyers

Stanhopea costaricensis by Troy Meyers

Rudolf Jenny (1998a) "The Gongorinae: 7. Stanhopea: part 18," in: Caesiana no. 10, pp. 7-22. [Stanhopea x fowlieana, a natural hybrid; Stan. gibbosa Rchb.f.; and Stan. costaricensis Rchb.f.].

Rudolf Jenny (Dec. 2003) "The Genus Stanhopea. Part 1: S. anfracta to S. napoensis," in: Caesiana no. 21, Supplement. 200 color photos, 160 p., Italian/English, covers 32 species.

Myron Kimnach (Sept. 1978) "The Cultivation of Stanhopea and Its Allies," in: AOS Bulletin 47(9): 784-794. [Stanhopea bucephalus, costaricensis, connata, eburnea, frymirei, gibbosa, graveolens, infracta, inodora, insignis, oculata, rodigasiana, tigrina, wardii].

Linda Kraus (April 1984) "The Culture of Stanhopeas -- Confessions of a Requited Lover," in: AOS Bulletin 53(4): 358-366. [Stanhopea connata, costaricensis, eburnea, ecornuta, frymirei, grandiflora, graveolens, hernandezii, oculata, rodigasiana, saccata, wardii; and hybrids Stan. Assidensis, and Stan. Memoria Paul Allen].

Ray McCullough "Culture of Various Thin-Leafed Orchids," a Synopsis of Ray McCullough's talk at the 3/10/96 Ann Arbor OS meeting. [Houlettia tigrina; Stanhopea intermedia, graveolens, costaricensis, martiana, grandiflora, eburneum, oculata, wardii, ecornuta, connata, saccata, radiosa, tigrina].

Mariano Ospina H. and Robert L. Dressler (1974) Orquideas de las Americas. Bogota: Litografia Arco, 496p. [Stanhopea cirrhata (Fig. 163), connata, costarricensis (costaricensis), ecornuta, grandiflora, insignis, oculata, platyceras (Fig. 164), reichenbachiana, saccata, schuttleworthii (shuttleworthii), tigrina, wardii].

Louis O. Williams and Paul H. Allen (1980) Orchids of Panama. Missouri Botanical Garden, 616 pp. (590 pages for original, 1946-1949). "A facsimile of the Orchidaceae, Flora of Panama, which originally appeared in four separate issues of the Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden from 1946 to 1949. Contains an updated checklist, about 800 species, by R. L. Dressler." [Stanhopea cirrhata, costaricensis, ecornuta, graveolens, oculata, pulla, wardii].

Norris H. Williams (1982) "The biology of orchids and euglossine bees," in: J. Arditti (Ed.), Orchid Biology, Reviews and Perspectives, II, pp. 119-171. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. [Stanhopea annulata, candida, cirrhata, connata, costaricensis, ecornuta, embreei, florida, frymirei, gibbosa, grandiflora, impressa, jenishiana, oculata, reichenbachiana, saccata, tigrina, tricornis, wardii, warscewicziana]

International Plant Names Index [IPNI],

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