Stanhopea wardii

Loddiges ex Lindley 1838

Native from Nicaragua south to Venezuela

Edited 3 January 2010
© Nina Rach

Stanhopea wardii by Troy Meyers

Stanhopea wardii Loddiges ex Lindley

This widespread species has a spicy scent and dramatically colored flowers. The sepals and petals are yellow to yellow-orange, occasionally greenish-yellow. The hypochile is yellow to yellow orange, while the mesochile and epichile are cream to yellow. There are fine spots on the sepals, petals, epichile and column; only rarely is the hypochile stippled. There are no "eyes" on the petals or sepals, only on the hypochile. The column is usually greenish white. It is pollinated by the Eulaema polychroma bee.

The photo at left was taken by Troy Meyers, from his personal collection in the Pacific Northwest. Visit the Meyers Conservatory

Original publication in 1838 by John Lindley in Sertum Orchidaceum, a wreath of the most beautiful orchidaceous flowers., p. 20, part of a ten-part series issued from 1837-1841. The type species was from Mexico. The name was later revised by Conrad Loddiges.

Stanhopea wardii by Greg Allikas

This species blooms predominantly in the late summer and fall. Note the greenish white column with wide wings; the wide, white, heart-shaped epichile; the orange-yellow hypochile (often with eye spots); the yellow sepals and petals, usually spotted or stippled; and the wide, rounded leaves.

The photo at right was taken by Greg Allikas. Visit his Orchid Photo Page.

Pierre Couret (1982) describes the Venezuelan habitat as the "humid jungles of medium altitude of the northern mountain range, like Rancho Grande, Tiara, Guatopo [now a national park], etc. ... The most common species, the Stanhopea wardii has from 8 to 10 yellow flowers. The labellum has the shape of an insect. The hollow hypochil has two big dark brown eyes. Inside are located the glands producing an intoxicating liquid. The mesochilus has two horns simulating the insect's legs and the epichil looks like the body of the insect."

In The Orchids of Guatemala and Belize, Ames and Correll (1985, but text untouched from 1953) write that Stanhopea wardii is "Epiphytic on trees and on rocks in humid forests, up to 2,700 meters alt. Widespread but not common in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama." This is updated in a note regarding the cover illustration: "Stanhopea wardii ... is now considered to be found only from Nicaragua south. A closely related species with which this plant is often confused is Stanhopea graveolens, a species which does occur in Guatemala."

Stanhopea wardii as published in Lindenia


The image at left is a scan of a hand-colored lithograph that was published as "Stanhopea wardii" in John Linden's Lindenia, 1886.

An excerpt from the text:






AOS Awards:

Stanhopea wardii 'Carlos de Tikal' CCM/AOS 81 pts
Awarded on 7/27/77, in Washington, D.C.
Exhibitor: Lt. Col. Rafford C. Anderson, Vienna, VA

Stanhopea wardii 'Gold Nugget' AM/AOS 85 pts Awarded Sept. 9, 2006 at Atlanta Center Monthly Judging.
Exhibitor: Fred Missbach, Atlanta, Georgia (20061085). Published in AQ 38(1):66 (no photo).
Eight flowers and seven buds on two inflorescences; flowers clear, vivid yellow; sepals and petals moderately spotted dark red; lip eye spots almost black, very distinctly outlined; column white lightly spotted dark red; substance firm; texture waxy; flowers very fragrant. Nat. spr. 9.0 cm, 11.0 cm vert; ds 3.0 cm w, 5.4 cm l; pet 1.7 cm w, 4.6 cm l; ls 3.9 cm w, 5.5 cm l; lip 3.2 cm w, 5.0 cm l. Photography by Danny Lentz.

Stanhopea wardii 'Laurel Mist' CCM/AOS 85 pts
Awarded on 9/5/84, in Philadelphia, PA.
Exhibitor: Georgianna M. Pfluger, Mount Laurel, NJ

Stanhopea wardii 'Serene' AM/AOS 80 pts AND CCM/92 pts
Awarded on 8/27/84, in Long Beach, CA.
Exhibitor: M/M Martin Nedderman, Huntington Beach, CA

Stanhopea wardii 'Stony Point' CCM/AOS 82 pts
Awarded on 9/23/70, in Tampa, Florida.
Exhibitor: Miss Phyllis E. Dye, Tampa, FL

Stanhopea wardii 'Taylor El Toro' CCM/AOS 85 pts
Awarded on 6/17/72, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Exhibitor: Ronald Ciesinski, Taylor, MI

Stanhopea wardii 'Woodbridge' JC/AOS
Awarded on November 1, 1997 in St. Louis, Missouri.
The plant was owned by Joel & Desda Clark.

Other Awards:
Stanhopea wardii 'Jill' HCC/AOC (Australian Orchid Council, award no. 476].
Awarded on 26 March 1984, in NSW, and "Judged by Appreciation" (no point score).
The plant was exhibited by W. & J. Upton.
Description from the AOC Awards Register Vol. I:
"5 flowers across lower sepals 100mm; P & S [petals & sepals] yellow 13B with greyed purple 187Cspots; labellum front lobe yellow 13B with greyed purple spots; basal end yellow orange 23 with greyed purple 187C blotches on sides." [references are to R.H.S. Colour Charts]
Measurements: 67mm across petals; 76mm depth flower; 25mm dorsal sepal; 37mm lower sepal; 17mm petals; 30mm labellum. [Photo published in Orchids Australia, December 2000]

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 Dover Edition. Stanhopeas found on pp. 528-538]

Stanhopea wardii cover illustration Oakes Ames and Donovan S. Correll (1985 reprint) Orchids of Guatemala and Belize. New York: Dover Press, 779 pages [pp. 528-538, 755: Stanhopea cymbiformis, devoniensis, Hernandezii, tigrina, ecornuta, x Lewisae, oculata, quadricornis, saccata, radiosa, Marshii, wardii; cover photo of Stanhopea wardii; full-page line drawing of plant and inflorescense by Blanche Ames on p. 537; three views of the wardii lip drawn by G.W. Dillon on p. 538].

Frank J. Anderson (1979) An Illustrated Treasury of Orchids. [Stanhopea wardii, 112-113; Stanhopea tigrina 118-199]

Australian Orchid Council Publications Committee (1987) Awards Register Vol. I, 1964-1986, Nos. 1-600.
The Australian Orchid Council Inc. [Stanhopea anfracta 'Jill' HCC/AOC no. 475; Stanhopea wardii 'Jill' HCC/AOC no. 476]

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

Pierre Couret (1977 - first Spanish edition) Joyas de las Orquideas Venezolanas. Caracas: Libreria Alemana Oscar Todtmann S.R.L., hardcover, 104pp. [Stanhopea grandiflora, wardii]

Pierre Couret (1982 - first English edition) Jewels of the Venezuelan Orchids. Caracas: Libreria Alemana Oscar Todtmann S.R.L., hardcover, 104pp. [pp. 28-31: Stanhopea grandiflora, 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:

Margaret A. Dix and Michael W. Dix (2000) Orchids of Guatemala: A Revised Annotated Checklist. St. Louis: Missouri Botanical Garden Press, 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]

__________ (1967) "El genero Stanhopea en Colombia," in: Orquideologia 2(4): 7-27. [Stan. annulata, candida, florida, grandiflora, impressa, jenishiana, oculata, ospinae, platyceras, reichenbachiana, rodigasiana, shuttleworthii, tricornis, tricornis ssp. stenochila, 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; panamensis; warscewicziana; wardii; costaricensis; gibbosa; cirrhata; avicula; ecornuta; pulla]

Galfrid C.K. Dunsterville (1964) Introduction to the World of Orchids. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., hardcover, 104p. [Stanhopea wardii, pp. 96-97; text + two color plates (37a, 37b) and a line-drawing of the column and lip]

G.C.K. Dunsterville (28 August 1987) Venezuelan Orchids. Caracas: Editores Armitano, C.A., 128 p. [Stanhopea grandiflora, wardii]

G.C.K. Dunsterville and Leslie A. Garay (1959) Orchids of Venezuela, Volume 1. London: Andre Deutsch. [Stanhopea wardii on pp. 410-411]

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

_______________ (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]

Amme Gardiner (Dec 2000) "My Strange and stunning Stanhopeas," in: Orchids Australia 12(6). [Photo of Stanhopea wardii ‘Jill’ HCC/AOC accompanies the story]

Guenther Gerlach (1999) "80. Subtribus: Stanhopeinae und 81. Subtribus: Coeliopsidinae (Teil 1)," in: Schlechter, Die Orchideen, Band I, Teil C, Lieferung 37/38, 128 p. with 142 B&W illustrations, in German [849. Soterosanthus; 850. Brasilocycnis; 851. Polycycnis; 852. Kegeliella; 853. coryanthes; 854. Stanhopea; 855. Sievekingia; 856. Embreea; 857. Gongora; 858. Cirrhaea; 859. Paphinia; 860. Horichia; 861. Houlletia; 862. Schlimmia; 863. Trevoria; 864. Acineta; 865. Lueddemannia; 866. Lacaena; 867. Vasqueziella; 868. Braemia]

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

Maria Isabel González & Dora E. Mora de Retana. 1996. "El color de las flores en la taxonomía de cuatro especies de Stanhopea (Orchidaceae)" ["The color of the flowers in the taxonomy of four species of Stanhopea (Orchidaceae)"], in: Revista Biol. Trop. 44: 525-539.
-- A statistical analysis of floral colorsss in four spp. 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., Stanhopea gibbosa Rchb. f., Stanhopea wardii Lodd. ex Lindl., and Stanhopea warscewicziana Klotzsch).

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, costaricensis, ecornuta, gibbosa, graveolens, inodora, oculata, ruckeri, saccata, wardii]

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]

Rudolf Jenny (Jan-Feb-Mar 1993) "The Genus Stanhopea in Colombia," in: Orchid Digest 57(1): 17. [S. annulata, candida, connata, florida, grandiflora, x herrenhusana, impressa, jenischiana, oculata, ospinae, platyceras, pulla, reichenbachiana, rodigasiana, shuttleworthii, tricornis, wardii]

Rudolf Jenny (1998) "Stanhopea wardii Lodd. ex Lindl. 1838," in: Orchidee 49(3): center page pullout.

Rudolf Jenny (2004) "," in: Caesiana.

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

John Lindley (1838) [type publication, later revised by Conrad Loddiges] in: Sertum Orchidaceum, a wreath of the most beautiful orchidaceous flowers. t. 20. London, published in 10 parts. [type specimen described from Mexico]

Conrad Loddiges (1838) "Stanhopea wardii Loddiges ex Lindley," in: Sertum Orch. t. 20. [type publication]

Rafael Lucas Rodríguez Caballero, Dora Emilia Mora, Maria Eugenia Barahona, and Norris H. Williams (1986) Géneros de orquídeas de Costa Rica, San José: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, 336 pp., ISBN 9977-67-044-7. Full-page watercolor of Stan. wardii Lodd ex Lindl featured on pp. 242-243. Dr. Rafael Lucas Rodríguez Caballero is a professor of biology at the University of Costa Rica and created the beautiful watercolor paintings in this book. Published in both hard and softcover. Recommended.

Ray McCullough (March 1996) "Culture of Various Thin-Leafed Orchids," a Synopsis of Ray McCullough's talk at the 3/10/96 Ann Arbor OS meeting. [Stanhopea intermedia, graveolens, costaricensis, martiana, grandiflora, eburneum, oculata, wardii, ecornuta, connata, saccata, radiosa, tigrina]

Pedro Ortiz V., Alfonso Martinez M., and Guillermo Misas U. (1982) Orquidea Ornamentales de Colombia (Ornamental Orchids of Colombia). Bogota: Carlos Valencia Editores. [Stanhopea connata, platyceras, reichenbachiana, rodigasiana, shuttleworthii, wardii]

Gustavo A. Romero (1998) Venezuela, Orchid Paradise. Caracas: Armitano Editores C.A., 128p., 60 color photos, 62 B&W plates. [pp. 179-183: Stanhopea candida, grandiflora, oculata, wardii]

Gustavo A. Romero & German Carnevali (15 July 2000) Orchids of Venezuela, An Illustrated Field Guide, Second Edition [originally published by Dunsterville and Garay, 1979]. Caracas: Armitano Editores C.A. [Stanhopea candida, grandiflora, jenischiana, oculata, wardii]

Charles Schweinfurth (1958-1961) Orchids of Peru. Fieldiana: Botany 30: 1-531. Published in a supplement of four volumes, two of which contain references to the Stanhopeinae:

_________ (1958) "Orchidaceae, Orchids of Peru," in: Fieldiana, Botany 30(1): 1-260 [Stanhopeinae on pp. 12-13]

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

Hilda Simon (1975) The Private Lives of Orchids. J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 160pp. [Stanhopea wardii drawing pg. 50]

William Louis Stern (July-Aug 2001) "Savoury Stanhopeas," in: The Orchid Review 109(1240): 235-237. [Explains the source of stanhopea perfume; color photos of Stanhopea tricornis with euglossine bee; Stanhopea panamensis hypochile; and Stanhopea 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, Orchid Biology, Reviews and Perspectives, II. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, pp. 119-171. [Stanhopea annulata, candida, cirrhata, connata, costaricensis, ecornuta, embreei, florida, frymirei, gibbosa, grandiflora, impressa, jenishiana, oculata, reichenbachiana, saccata, tigrina, tricornis, wardii, warscewicziana]

Web References:

International Plant Names Index (IPNI)

Ursula's Culture in NJ, including a nice photo sequence of bud-elevation and opening.

Orquideas Colombianas y sus Polinizadores (Colombian Orchids and their Pollinators) [Stanhopea wardii = Eulaema polychroma bee]

NOVA: "Orchid Hunter," Orchid Gallery: Stanhopea wardii photo

Blanche Ames' illustration of Stanhopea wardii, in: "Orchids: Cause for Obsession," by Rob Nicholson [found on page 7 of the Fall 2001 issue of the Botanic Garden News of Smith College.

Orchid of the Day: Stanhopea wardii, 29 Aug 2002 and repeated 28 July 2003 [Santa Barbara Orchid Estate]

Stanhopea wardii by James H. Thomas

Photo of Stanhopea wardii by Roger Bellone, on the Richardiana website [clear yellow, with distinct eye spots].

See the webpage on Stanhopea wardii by CLAN Tropicals

Scanned image of Stanhopea wardii

Notes on Stanhopea wardii from the TimeLife Plant Encyclopedia
[29 Aug 2000: this last link is now broken; apparently all of the TimeLife pages have been removed from the net, replaced with the search engine of the Virtual Garden. All mention of Stanhopeas has been wiped from the database.- Nina]

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