Stanhopea graveolens

Lindley 1840

Native to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras

Edited 10 May 2007

Stanhopea graveolens painting by Brun

Initially published by John Lindley in 1840, "based on a plant purchased from the London nurseryman James Charles Tate, who had "imported it from Peru." This must have been an error, since the showy, rather grotesque, species occurs from Mexico south through Guatemala to Honduras and Belize, growing in mountain forests up to 8,900 ft/ 2,700-m altitude." (Cribb 1992).

Synonyms: Stanhopea aurata (Lindl.) Planchon
Stanhopea venusta Lindley (nomen nudum)
Stanhopea wardii var. froebeliana Cogniaux
Stanhopea wardii var. venusta Lindley (non Rolfe)


Photo at left depicts a painting of this species by Alexandre Brun.



Historically, the naming of Stanhopea species has been problematic. For instance, here are two 19th century, hand-colored lithographs.

Stanhopea graveolens 1846 Stanhopea devoniensis by Van Houtte The image at left was published as Stanhopea graveolens in: "Annales de la Société royale d’Agriculture et de Botanique de Gand, Journal d’horticulture," by Charles Morren (ed.). Gand, etc., 1846.
It is clearly another species.


The image at right was published as Stanhopea devoniensis. From: Flore des serres et des jardins de l’Europe, by Gand, L. van Houtte, 1854-1855.
This is actually Stanhopea hernandezii.


AOS Awards to Stanhopea graveolens:

Stanhopea graveolens 'Jumping Jaguar' HCC/AOS (77 pts)
Awarded at the Baton Rouge Orchid Society Show, 7 July 1995.
Exhibited by Danna Stone Spayde, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Seven buttercup yellow flowers and one bud on one inforescence; sepals and petals with sparse chocolate [ibid.]; base of epichile and apple green column lightly stippled chocolate; column 1.5 cm wide by 5.5 cm long;sepals and lateral margins of column thin and translucent; margin of sepals slightly reflexed; petals tightly curled; substance stiff; texture waxy; fragrance mild.

Natural Spread 10.8 cm, 10.5 cm vertical; dorsal sepal 2.5 cm wide x 6.7 cm long; petals 1.5 cm wide x 4.9 cm long; lateral sepals 4.0 cm wide x 6.7 cm long; lip 2.5 cm wide x 8.0 cm long.
[B & W photo in AQ Vol.27, Number 1 - 1996; pg. 48]

Stanhopea graveolens 'Chris Knapp' CCM/AOS (91 pts)
Awarded at the Great Plains Regional Monthly Judging, 23 November 1996.
Exhibited by Max C. Thompson, Winfield, Kansas.

Seven flowers and 12 buds on 17 inflorescences; sepals and petals light greenish yellow; lip midlobe light greenish yellow with maroon spots, side lobes orange; plant exceptionally well grown, leaves in excellent condition.

Natural Spread 11.4 cm, 10.0 cm vertical; dorsal sepal 3.5 cm wide x 5.3 cm long; petals 1.8 cm wide x 4.2 cm long; lateral sepals 4.0 cm wide x 6.0 cm long; lip 3.0 cm wide x 5.2 cm long.
[Description, but no photo in AQ Vol. 28, Number 2 - June, 1997; pg. 155]

Stanhopea graveolens 'Mema' HCC/AOS (78 pts)
Awarded at the Asociacion Baja Veraracense de Orquidologia Show, Salama, Guatemala, on 16 September 1995.
Exhibited by Sergio Noe Cruz, Miami, Florida.

Six flowers on one inflorescence with second spike emerging; sepals and petals golden yellow with rust-red stippling on basal half of sepals and throughout petals; petals ruffled, partially recurved over dorsal sepal; hypochile and mesochile golden yellow with fine rust-red stippling, epichile bright orange with some rust-red stippling; column ivory with light green midrib; column 2.3 cm wide and 4.6 cm long.

Natural Spread 11.4 cm, 9.1 cm vertical; dorsal sepal 3.5 cm wide x 6.2 cm long; petals 2.2 cm wide x 5.9 cm long; lateral sepals 4.4 cm wide x 6.3 cm long; lip 3.1 cm wide x 5.8 cm long.
[B & W photo in AQ Vol. 28, Number 2 - June, 1997; pg. 110]

Printed References:

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 devoniensis, compared with the Mexican Stanhopea hernandezii, ecornuta, Lewisae, oculata (a.k.a. S. cymbiformis), compared with S. wardii, quadricornis, saccata (a.k.a. S. Marshii; S. radiosa); graveolens]

Oakes Ames & Donovan S. Correll (March 1985). Orchids of Guatemala and Belize. Dover reprint, 779p.

Miguel Angel Soto Arenas (Dec. 1988). "Updated List of the Orchids of Mexico," in: Orquidea (Mex) v. 11, p. 273.

Helmut Bechtel, Phillip Cribb, Edmund Launert (Jan 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]

R. Bellone 1998. "Les Stanhopea du Mexique," in: Orchidees Cult. Protect. no.34: 14-18.

Phillip Cribb (1992) The Forgotten Orchids of Alexandre Brun. New York: Grove Press, 159p. [p. 98-99]

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]

Calaway H. Dodson (1963). "The Mexican Stanhopeas" in: AOS Bull. 32(2):115-129. [devoniensis (graveolens), fregeana, intermedia, martiana, oculata, saccata, tigrina, wardii]

Barney Greer (Sept. 1998). The Astonishing Stanhopeas (the upside-down orchids). Sydney: Australian Orchid Foundation. 92 full-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]

F.C. Hoehne (1949) Iconografia de Orchidaceas do Brasil. Sao Paulo: Secretaria de Agricultura, 301 illustrated pages, followed by 300 full-page plates. [Stanhopea candida (Pl. _), eburnea (Pl. 179), graveolens (Pl. 177 color), guttulata (Pl. 180), insignis (Pl. 176), oculata (Pl. _), Randii (Pl. _)]

Rudolf Jenny (1993). "Preliminary checklist of the Genus Stanhopea," in: Schlecteriana 4(3).

Rudolf Jenny (Dec. 1993). "The Genus Stanhopea," in: AOS Bull. 62(12): 1271-1277; includes the very useful "Preliminary List of Stanhopea Species."

Rudolf Jenny (Dec. 2003) "The Genus Stanhopea. Part 1: S. anfracta to S. napoensis," in: Caesiana 21, Supplement. 200 color photos, 160 p., Italian/English, covers 32 species.

George Kennedy (Sept-Oct 1975). "The Stanhopeas of Mexico," in: Orchid Digest 39(5), p.178. [includes graveolens, hernandezii, maculosa, martiana, oculata, radiosa, saccata, tigrina]

Myron Kimnach (Sept. 1978). "The Cultivation of Stanhopea and Its Allies," in: AOS Bull. 47(9):784-794. [S. 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 Bull. 53(4):358-366. [Stan. connata, costaricensis, eburnea, ecornuta, frymirei, grandiflora, graveolens, hernandezii, oculata, rodigasiana, saccata, wardii, S. Assidensis, S. Memoria Paul Allen]

E. Lückel (1982) in: Die Orchidee 33: __. [Stan. connata, graveolens]

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

I. McLeish, N. R. Pearce & B.R. Adams 1995. Native Orchids of Belize. A. A. Balkema Publishers, pg. 116.

Eduard August von Regel (1856) "Stanhopea graveolens var. inodora," in: Index Seminum Horti Petropolitani 21.

Eduard August von Regel (1891) "Stanhopea graveolens var. lietzei," in: Gartenflora 40: 201, pl. 1345. [now Stanhopea lietzei]

Charles Schweinfurth (1960) "Orchidaceae, Orchids of Peru," in: Fieldiana, Botany 30(3): 533--786 [pp 606-612: Stanhopea anfracta (as wardii), connata, graveolens, Haseloviana, Moliana, peruviana (as wardii), Randii, tricornis, Wardii]

Miguel Angel Soto Arenas (2003) "Diversidad de orquideas en la region El Momon-Margaritas-Montebello [Chiapas]," Final report of CONABIO Project R225, from Nov. 30, 1998 to Sept. 30, 2001. [Acineta barkeri; Gongora galeata, leucochila, truncata; Stanhopea bucephalus, graveolens, inodora, saccata, whittenii]

Louis O. Williams & Paul H. Allen (1980). Orchids of Panama. Missouri Botanical Garden; 616 pp. (590 pages for original, 1946-1949). [Stanhopea graveolens on pg. 391].

Web References:

International Plant Names Index [IPNI],

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.

Photo by Dale Borders, courtesy of Meyers Conservatory

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