Stanhopea ecornuta

Lemaire 1846

Native to Costa Rica, western Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Belize

Edited 20 July 2007
© Nina Rach

Stanhopea ecornuta, Van Houtte litho, Series I

Stanhopea ecornuta Lemaire 1846

This species was originally described in 1846 by Charles Lemaire, in the first series of Flore des Serres et des Jardins de l'Europe ii, t. 181., published in Gand, Belgium by Louis Van Houtte (lithograph at left). The original plate was about 16 x 24 cm (9.5 x 6.3 in.)


This is a lovely and interesting warm-growing species, one of the "primitive" (hornless) stanhopeas. Flowers are usually borne in twins on short inflorescences, facing each other. The infloresences crawl across the top of the compost and the flowers open near the base of the plant.

Other "primitive" stanhopeas include: annulata, avicula, cirrhata, and pulla.



In Costa Rica, Stanhopea ecornuta has been collected in the province of Heredia (Central Volcanic Mountain range) on the Caribbean slope at 50m altitude by Michael Grayum (flowering July 1996).
[see: The National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio) website] It was also collected from the province of San Jose (Central Pacific) on the Pacific slope at 500m by J.F. Morales, and he noted that it had cream-colored sepals, an orange lip, and a "pleasant and penetrating scent" (flowering 10 September 1992).
[see: Flora of Costa Rica]

Asociación Costarricense de Orquideología (A.C.O.) has the following note about this species: "Stanhopea ecornuta (Produces two flowers in the base of the pseudobulb, white color, speckled of brown near the base of labelo; this it seems an end of a slipper without division in the center. It does not have pieces. In the center of labelo it has a yellow color with a solid concentration of spots brown to each side)." [translated from the original Spanish] Other "primitive stanhopeas found in Costa Rica include S. cirrhata and S. pulla.


Natural hybrids include:
x fowlieana = ecornuta x costaricensis
x horichiana = ecornuta x wardii

Artificial hybrids include:
Stanhopea Mem. Paul Allen (tigrina x ecornuta), registered in 1968 by W.W.Goodale Moir.
Stanhopea Penelope (oculata x ecornuta), registered in 1968 by Hey.

Intergeneric hybrids include:
Stanhocycnis ____ (Stan. ecornuta x Polycycnis barbata), hybridized in Australia by Robert Deane.
Stanhocycnis Inspiration (Stan. ecornuta x Polycycnis barbata), registered in 1982 by Rudolf Jenny (hybridized by C.K. Horich).
Stangora Elcimey (Stan. ecornuta x Gongora horichiana), registered in 1984 by Armacost & Royston (hybridized by C.K. Horich).

Stanhopea ecornuta on stamps:

1962/03/30 Nicaragua, Stanhopea ecornuta, 5-cent [RA68]. One of a set of ten orchid stamps (stanhopea is in the upper left corner of set).

1965/??/?? Nicaragua, Stanhopea ecornuta, 5-cent [unlisted]. Reissue of RA68 with overprint: "Pensiones de Retiro y Montepio G.N.".

1965/12/03 Nicaragua, Stanhopea ecornuta, 5-cent [845]. Reissue of RA68 with overprint:"Camporee Scout 1965".

1985/12/03 Costa Rica, Stanhopea ecornuta, 13-cent [337] One of a set of six orchid stamps.


Oakes Ames and Donovan S. Correll (1985 reprint) Orchids of Guatemala and Belize. New York: Dover Press, 779 pages [Stanhopeas, pp. 528-536, 755: Stanhopea devoniensis, S. Hernandezii, S. tigrina, S. ecornuta, S. Lewisae, S. oculata, S. quadricornis, S. saccata, S. radiosa, S. Marshii; pp. 536-540: Gongora].

Helmut Bechtel, Phillip Cribb, Edmund Launert (1992) The Manual of Cultivated Orchid Species (Third Edition). The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 585p. [Text & photos: Stanhopea ecornuta, S. graveolens, S. hernandezii, S. oculata, S. platyceras, S. tigrina. Text only: Stanhopea wardii]

Kenneth J. Curry, Lorraine M. McDowell, Walter S. Judd, & William Louis Stern (May 1991) "Osmophores, Floral Features, and Systematics of Stanhopea (Orchidaceae)," in: American Journal of Botany 78(5): 610-623. "The floral fragrance glands (osmophores) of 18 species of Stanhopea and Sievekingia were examined through a series of developmental studies at light and electron microscope levels including late bud stages through postanthesis." [Sievekingia; Stanhopea anfracta, annulata, candida, ecornuta, gibbosa, martiana, oculata, pulla, radiosa, ruckeri, saccata, shuttleworthii, tigrina, vasquezii, and wardii] Link to abstract:

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]

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

Barney Greer (Sept. 1998) The Astonishing Stanhopeas (the upside-down orchids). Sydney: Australian Orchid Foundation. 92 color pages, including 55 known species and five natural hybrids.

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]
Cover of Die Orchidee 1986
Clarence Kl. Horich (May-June 1974) "The Costa Rican Stanhopea Species," in: Orchid Digest 38(3): 108. [Stanhopea cirrhata, costaricensis, ecornuta, x fowlieana, gibbosa, pulla, wardii, warscewiczii]

Clarence Kl. Horich, (1986) "Stanhopea ecornuta, die Mutter zweier neuer Gattungshybriden: Stanhocycnis Inspiration und Stangora Elcimey," in Die Orchidee 37(4): __. [cover photo at right]

Linda Kraus (April 1984) "The Culture of Stanhopeas -- Confessions of a Requited Lover," in: American Orchid Soc. Bull. 53(4): 358-366. [Stanhopea connata, costaricensis, eburnea, ecornuta, frymirei, grandiflora, graveolens, hernandezii, oculata, rodigasiana, saccata, wardii, S. Assidensis, S. Memoria Paul Allen]

Charles Lemaire (1846) "Stanhopea ecornuta," in: Flore des Serres et des Jardins de l'Europe, Gand, Belgium.

Ray McCullough (10 March 1996) "Culture of Various Thin-Leafed Orchids," a Synopsis of Ray McCullough's talk at an Ann Arbor Orchid Society meeting. [Stanhopea intermedia, S. graveolens, S. costaricensis, S. martiana, S. grandiflora, S. eburneum, S. oculata, S. wardii, S. ecornuta, S. connata, S. saccata, S. radiosa, S. tigrina]

________ (1976) Orquidea Mex.: 5:12 [intergeneric hybrids, incl. Stan. ecornuta x Polycycnis barbata made in Australia by Robert Deane].

Jules Émile Planchon (1846) "Stan. ecornuta [type publication]," by Charles Lemaire, in: Flore des Serres ii, t. 181. [Guatemala]

Charlotte Skov (Spring 2004) "Research: Fragrance collecting orchid bees in La Selva," in: Liana newsletter, p. 8. Durham, NC: The Organization for Tropical Studies,

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. [Acineta; Cirrhaea; Gongora; Houlletia; Lacaena; Peristeria; Polycycnis; Schlimia; Sievekingia; Stanhopea annulata, candida, cirrhata, connata, costaricensis, ecornuta, embreei, florida, frymirei, gibbosa, grandiflora, impressa, jenishiana, oculata, reichenbachiana, saccata, tigrina, tricornis, wardii, warscewicziana]


Webpage about the Primitive Stanhopeas, by Nina Rach.

Nice photo of Stanhopea ecornuta from Costa Rica:

International Plant Names Index [IPNI],

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