Stanhopea oculata

(Lodd.) Lindley 1832

Native from Mexico to Brazil

Edited 11 May 2007
© Nina Rach

Stanhopea oculata by C.W. Harrison, 1838

Stanhopea oculata (Lodd.) Lindley 1832

The flowers of this species have a strong, sweet vanilla scent, and are creamy-white with circular purple spots. They are approximately 4" across and emerge from the bottom of the basket. The plants have 2"-high pseudobulbs, each topped with 16" leaf. This species was featured in a beautiful color photo on the back of the April 2000 issue of Orchids magazine, accompanying an article by Charles Marden Fitch ("Fragrant Orchids", pp.322-333)

El Salvador sighting: Rene Mario Mendoza mentioned that he "saw it some years ago in the national park "Bosque de Montecristo", a forest reserve at the northern side of that small country, very rich in temperate/cold climate species."

The image at right depicts a hand-colored engraving that was published in 1838 in "The Floricultural Cabinet and Florist's Magazine," vol. 6, by Joseph Harrison. It was published by Whittaker & Co., London, featuring engraving by Alfred Adlard. The original print measures 5.25" by 8.5". An illustration labeled Stanhopea oculata is featured at the top, and the other two species depicted at bottom are Chorizema cordata and Mimulus harrisonia.

Synonyms: This species has also been known as Stanhopea bucephalus



Stanhopea Bellearensis (insignis x oculata) -- reg. 1896 by Martin

Stanhopea DiPozzi Capriccio (platyceras [madouxiana] x oculata) -- reg. in 2003 by Fl. Edmondo Pozzi

Stanhopea Eye Eye Eye (panamensis x oculata) -- reg. in 2002 by Doug Pulley (California)

Stanhopea Grad Nite (oculata x Assidensis) -- reg. 1995 by Doug Pulley (California)

Stanhopea x lewisae Ames & Correll -- Natural hybrid: ecornuta x oculata, published in: Botanical Museum Leaflets Harvard Univ. x. 86 (1942); named for collector Margaret Lewis in Guatemala.

Stanhopea Penelope (ecornuta x oculata) -- reg. 1968 by Hey

Stanhopea Peter Grinnell (oculata x graveolens) -- reg. 1997 by Carl Withner (P. Grinnell)

Stanhopea Ronsard (wardii x oculata) -- reg. 1989 by Marcel Lecoufle (France) [also a Nat. Hyb.]

Stanhopea Spindleriana (oculata x tigrina) -- reg. 1890 by Spindler

Stanhopea Uli Paterny (oculata x martiana) -- reg. 1994 by H.J. Jung

Coryhopea Freckle Face (Coryanthes elegantium x Stanhopea oculata) -- reg. 1989 by Tropica Garten Center (Germany)

Coryhopea Wistman's Wood (Coryanthes speciosa x Stanhopea oculata) -- reg. 1984 by Burnham Nurseries

AOS Awards:

Stanhopea oculata C.C.C./AOS (Cert. of Cultural Commendation) 10/1936, in Register of Awards, pg. 16.

Stanhopea oculata 'Los Pocitos' JC/AOS, 10/11/1974, Mexico, D.F. Exhibitor: Sterling Dickinson, San Miguel Allende, Mexico. In AQ 7/8P.

Stanhopea oculata 'Oaxaca' JC/AOS, 8/16/1980, Ann Arbor, Michigan Exhibitor: Raymond McCullough, Livonia, MI. In AQ 12/219P

Stanhopea oculata 'Eye Doc' A.M./AOS (80 pts), 9/20/1988, Oakland, CA. Click for photo of this clone
"Four flowers and 12 buds on four inflorescences; flower cream-color; sepals and petals heavily spotted maroon, center of some lighter in color; mesochile of lip light cream-color with two maroon stripes, hypochile golden yellow with two black eyes, epichile speckled with very small maroon spots; plant very well grown with larger than average flowers. Natural spread of flower 14.6 cm; dorsal sepal 4.2 cm wide,8.6 cm long; petals 1.9 cm wide, 7.6 cm long; lateral sepals 5.1 cm wide, 8.5 cm long; lip 3.6 cm wide, 8.0 cm long." Awarded at the Pacific Central Regional Monthly Judging. Exhibitor: Douglas B. Pulley, M.D., Los Gatos, California

Stanhopea oculata 'Betty-Ann' A.M./AOS (81 pts), 8/1997, in AQ 29/52C.

Stanhopea oculata 'Jane' C.C.M./AOS (89 pts), 8/1999, in AQ 31/79C.

Stanhopea oculata 'Rick Heeseler' A.M./AOS (85 pts), 9/1999, in AQ 31/79

Stanhopea oculata -- This is an unawarded clone grown in Key West, Florida; photo by Jay Pfahl from Jay's Orchid Species Photo Page


Oakes Ames and Donovan S. Correll (1952-1953) "Orchids of Guatemala," in: Fieldiana, Botany 26: 1-727.

Oakes Ames & Donovan S. Correll (1985 reprint). Orchids of Guatemala and Belize. Dover reprint, 779p. Stanhopeas on pages 528-536, 755.

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.

James Bateman (1837-1841) The Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala. [Stan tigrina; pl. 15: Stan. saccata]

James Bateman (1974 reprint) The Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala. New York: Johnson Reprint Corp.; Amsterdam: Theatrvm Orbis Terrarvm Ltd. [Stanhopea oculata, tigrina, wardii]

Helmut Bechtel, Phillip Cribb & Edmund Launert (1992, Third Edition) Manual of Cultivated Orchid Species. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 585p. [text and photo of Stan. oculata]

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:

Calaway H. Dodson (1963) "The Mexican Stanhopeas" in: American Orchid Society Bulletin v.32(2), p. 115-129. [Stan. devoniensis, fregeana, intermedia, martiana, oculata, saccata, tigrina, wardii]

Calaway H. Dodson (1967) "El genero Stanhopea en Colombia," in: Orquideologia 2(4): 7-27.

Robert L. Dressler (1993) Field Guide to the Orchids of Costa Rica and Panama. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 304 pp, 240 illustrations.

G.C.K. Dunsterville and Leslie A. Garay (19--) Orchids of Venezeula, Volume 3. London: Andre Deutsch Limited. [p.296].

G.C.K. Dunsterville and Leslie A. Garay (1979) Orchids of Venezeula: An Illustrated Field Guide. Three volumes, soft cover [pp. 948-952: Stan. candida, grandiflora, Jenischiana, oculata, Wardii].

Rodrigo R. Escobar [ed.] (1992) Native Colombian Orchids, Volume 4: Porroglossum-Zygosepalum. Medellin: Compania Litografica Nacional S.A., pp. 456-616. [pp. 546-553: Stanhopea platyceras, reichenbachiana, impressa, oculata, connata, candida, avicula, shuttleworthii, wardii, panamensis, pulla]

Charles Marden Fitch (2000) "Fragrant Orchids," in Orchids 69(4): 322-333. [p.332 + back cover photo]

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 (1975-1981) The Orchids of El Salvador. Sarasota: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens; three volumes.

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]

Alex D. Hawkes (1965) Encyclopedia of Cultivated Orchids. Faber & Faber.

F.C. Hoehne (1949) Iconografia de Orchidaceas do Brasil. Sao Paulo: Secretaria de Agricultura, 301 illustrated pages, followed by 300 full-page plates.

Rudolf Jenny (Jan-Feb-Mar 1993) "The Genus Stanhopea in Colombia," in: Orchid Digest v.57, no.1, p.17. [S. annulata, candida, connata, florida, grandiflora, x herrenhusana, impressa, jenischiana, oculata, ospinae, platyceras, pulla, reichenbachiana, rodigasiana, shuttleworthii, tricornis, wardii]

Rudolf Jenny (June 2004) "The Genus Stanhopea. Part 2: S. nigripes to S. xytriophora," in: Caesiana 22, Supplement, pp. 146-291. Color & B&W photos, line-drawings, Italian/English, covers __ species, bibliography, checklist.

George Kennedy (Sept-Oct 1975) "The Stanhopeas of Mexico," in: Orchid Digest v.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. v.47(9), pp.784-794. [S. bucephalus, costaricensis, connata, eburnea, frymirei, gibbosa, graveolens, infracta, inodora, insignis, oculata, rodigasiana, tigrina, wardii]

Jack Kramer (1989) The World Wildlife Fund Book of Orchids. New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 276p. [Stan. tigrina, oculata color photos p. 228].

Linda Kraus (April) 1984. 'The Culture of Stanhopeas -- Confessions of a Requited Lover,' in AOS Bull. v.53(4), pp.358-366. [Stan. connata, costaricensis, eburnea, ecornuta, frymirei, grandiflora, graveolens, hernandezii, oculata, rodigasiana, saccata, wardii,S. Assidensis, S. Memoria Paul Allen]

Ian MacLeish, N.R. Pearce and B.R. Adams (1995) Native Orchids of Belize. A.A. Balkema Publishers, 28 cm, 340 pp., ISBN: 90 5410 609 3. [out of print]

Ray McCullough "Culture of Various Thin-Leafed Orchids," a Synopsis of Ray McCullough's talk at the 3/10/96 Ann Arbor Orchid Society meeting. [Houlettia tigrina; 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]

Rogers McVaugh (28 June 1985) Flora Novo-Galiciana, A Descriptive Account of the Vascular Plants of Western Mexico, Vol. 16: Orchidaceae. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, pp. 343-344. [Stanhopea intermedia, maculosa, martiana, radiosa, plus discussion of doubtful species such as: oculata, saccata]

Guido F.J. Pabst and F. Dungs (1977) Orchidaceae Brasiliensis. Book [Band] II. Hildesheim: Brucke-Verlag Kurt Schmersow. [113. Stanhopea oculata (no. 1682) in text, p.178; line-drawing, p.278; no color illustration]

Jeffrey Parker (Oct-Nov-Dec 1995) "The Orchid Species Scene in Hawaii," in: Orchid Digest v.59, no.4, p.199 [S. oculata, S. tigrina]

Eduard August von Regel (1857) "Stanhopea oculata var. crocea," in: Gartenflora 6: 97.

Gustavo A. Romero (1998) Venezuela, Orchid Paradise. Caracas: Armitano Editores, C.A., 128p., 60 color photos, 62 B&W plates. [Stanhopea candida, grandiflora, oculata, wardii]

Gustavo A. Romero & German Carnevali (15 July 2000) Orchids of Venezuela, An Illustrated Field Guide, Second Edition. Caracas: Armitano Editores C.A. [Stan. candida, grandiflora, jenischiana, oculata, wardii]

William L. Stern, Kenneth J. Curry, and Alec M. Pridgeon (Sept. 1987) "Osmophores of Stanhopea (Orchidaceae)," in: American Journal of Botany 74(9): 1323-1331. Link to abstract: [Stanhopea oculata, 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. [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]

Additional images of Stanhopea oculata on the web:

Orchid of the Day: Stanhopea oculata, 22 Aug 2002 [Santa Barbara Orchid Estate]

Photo by Marty Epstein, member of the New Hampshire Orchid Society.

Stanhopea oculata flower opening sequence, also by Marty Epstein, July 13 2000. Great!

Photo by Troy Meyers, Meyers Conservatory

Photo from the Orchid Connection, San Diego, California
From SunSITE Japan: 505k image

Storczyki from Poland: Stanhopea oculata #1 (side view); Stanhopea oculata #2 (front view), photo by M. Wielicki

From Darmstadt, Germany: Stanhopea oculata (text in German)

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