Stanhopea saccata

Bateman 1839

Native to Mexico, W. Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica

Edited 16 May 2007
© Nina Rach

Stanhopea saccata by Countryside
Original publication by James Bateman: Orchids of Mexico & Guatemala t. 15. 1839.

Stanhopea saccata is found on the Pacific slopes of Mexico, from 500 to 1,500 m elevation. Pollinated by a small male Euglossine bee of the species Euglossa viridissima.

In El Salvador, this species is found in intermediate and warm areas from 700-1,200 m elevation, flowering from May-August. It is reported from the lower elevations of Montecristo (to 1,000 m), from the summit (Cumbre) del Bálsamo, the back of Jayaque, and from Cerro Grande de Apaneca, up to 900 m.

Photo at right is from Bill Schneider, Countryside Orchids, Corrales, New Mexico: "This species bears 2 or 3 large blossoms per inflorescence. The fragrant flowers are 4 in. across and are whitish green or creamy white with red spots with golden yellow at the base of the petals and a bright white and orange lip."

The Index Kewensis contains the notation that this species is the same as the Mexican species Stanhopea radiosa. Williams and Whitten (1999) wrote "As would be expected from morphology and fragrance data, S. radiosa Lemaire is a member of a clade with S. saccata Bateman."

McVaugh (1985) says that while Stanhopea radiosa may be the "Stanhopea saccata" of some authors, it is "probably not of Bateman, 1838."

Dodson (1975) wrote that the range of Stan. radiosa is from Sonora to Oaxaca, whereas Stan. saccata is found only in Chiapas and Central America.

However, Kennedy (1975) wrote that there were probably intermediates (natural hybrids) between Stan. radiosa and Stan. saccata, and that these two species were probably not really separated by the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Another synonym is Stanhopea elegantula.

Stanhopea saccata has a deeply furrowed epichile, as compared with the flattter epichile of Stanhopea radiosa. See Pedro Glucksmann's photo at left, below. Stanhopea saccata also seems to have a more highly colored hypochile and more speckling on the sepals and petals than does Stanhopea radiosa.

Stanhopea saccata, photo #1 by P. Glucksmann, VZ Stanhopea saccata, photo #2 by P. Glucksmann, VZ Stanhopea saccata, photo #3 by P. Glucksmann, VZ

Stanhopea saccata, photo #4 by P. Glucksmann, VZ






Grouping of four photos above by Pedro Glucksmann, Caracas, Venezuela; photographed on 10 Oct 2000.

Stanhopea saccata by Eric Hunt






Photo at right by Eric Hunt, of a plant in the collection of the Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco, California.








Stanhopea saccata by Lois Greer

Stanhopea saccata Bateman


Owned & photographed by Lois Greer in Louisiana

This plant may have originated with Herman Pigors of Oak Hill Gardens. It blooms in Oct/Nov and had an impressive number of inflorescences this year (9!).

AOS award:

Stanhopea saccata 'Libra' CBM/AOS 81 pts, 10/15/74, Oakland, CA Exhibitor: Ronald M. Hawley, Mill Valley, CA

Stanhopea saccata hybrids:

Stanhopea Boileau (saccata x devoniensis, syn. hernandezii) -- reg. 1989 by Marcel Lecoufle (France)
Stanhopea Goldschmidtiana (saccata x tigrina) -- reg. 1914 by Faulhaber (according to R. Schlechter in Orchis 8:108, 1914)
Stanhopea La Fontaine (saccata x madouxiana) -- reg. 1989 by Marcel Lecoufle (France).
Stanhopea Racine (costaricensis x saccata) -- reg. 1989 by Marcel Lecoufle (France).
Stanhopea Sarudon (saccata x ruckeri) -- reg. Q1 2000 by M. & M.F. Bourdon.
Stanhopea Shinjik (saccata x tigrina) -- reg. 1923 by Tokyo Botanic Garden.

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. Stan. cymbiformis), compared with Stan. wardii, quadricornis, saccata (a.k.a. Stan. Marshii; S. radiosa); graveolens]

Oakes Ames and Donovan S. Correll (March 1985) Orchids of Guatemala and Belize. New York: Dover Publications Inc., 779 (800)pp. [pp. 522-524: Lacaena bicolor; pp. 524-526: Houlletia Landsbergi; pp. 526-528: Paphinia cristata; 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].

James Bateman (1837-1841) The Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala, plate 15. [Type publication of 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]
[Jas. (James) Bateman, 1811-1897. The Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala, originally published from 1837-1841, was one of the most elaborate productions depicting exotic flora. Only a hundred and twenty-five copies were printed. The illustrations were taken from watercolor paintings done by Miss Drake and Mrs. Withers.]

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:

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: Bull, Amer. Orchid Society 32(2): 115-129. [Stanhopea devoniensis, fregeana, intermedia, martiana, oculata, saccata, tigrina, wardii]

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. [p.34, with color photo]

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

Rudolf Jenny (2004) in: Caesiana.

Rudolf Jenny and Gonzalez Tamayo, R. (1997) "The Gongorinae: 7. Stanhopea: part 16," in: Caesiana no. 9, pp. 21-40. [Stanhopea maculosa from Mexico, S. saccata Bateman, S. radiosa Lemaire, and a new species, S. pseudoradiosa Jenny et Gonzalez Tamayo]

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

Linda Kraus (April 1984) "The Culture of Stanhopeas -- Confessions of a Requited Lover," in: AOS Bull. 53(4): 358-366. [Stanhopea connata, costaricensis, eburnea, ecornuta, frymirei, grandiflora, graveolens, hernandezii, oculata, rodigasiana, saccata, wardii, S. Assidensis, S. 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, 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 possibly doubtful species such as: oculata, saccata]

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]

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]

Henry Teuscher (June 1973) "Collector's Item: Stanhopea eburnea and Stanhopea saccata," in: AOS Bull. 42(6): 510-515.

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]

Norris H. Williams and W. Mark Whitten (Aug. 1999) "Molecular phylogeny and floral fragrances of male euglossine bee-pollinated orchids: A study of Stanhopea (Orchidaceae)," in: Plant Species Biology 14(2):129-136. ["As would be expected from morphology and fragrance data, S. radiosa Lemaire is a member of a clade with S. saccata Bateman."]

Web References:

International Plant Names Index (IPNI),

Akerne Orchids' Orchid Guide - Stanhopea saccata from Mexico

Also from the Akerne Orchids Orchid Guide, Stanhopea (saccata x tigrina)

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, including a section on Stanhopea saccata, in Spanish. Among the Stanhopeinae, the list contains: Acineta chrysantha, Gongora cassidea, Lacaena bicolor, Laecana spectabilis, Stanhopea costaricensis, Stan. graveolens, Stan. oculata, Stan. saccata.

Stanhopea saccata and others from the collection of the Botanical Gardens and Arboretum of Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry Brno, Czech Republic.

Jay Pfahl's Stanhopea saccata

Comments or questions? Send e-mail:

Stanhopea Pages Banner Sobralia Pages Banner

Houston Orchid Society Banner Houston Judging Center Banner