Cattleya labiata

Cattleya labiata

Cattleya labiata Lindl., also known as the Crimson Cattleya or Ruby-lipped Cattleya, is a species of Cattleya. It was discovered in 1818 in Brazil, and was the first species of cattleya discovered.

This plant grows in the northeastern area of Brazil, in the states of Pernambuco and Alagoas. They grow to different sizes depending on the area from which they originate. Those that are growing in Pernambuco are smaller, with small but colored flowers, with most of them being lilac. The interior part of the flower is a dark lilac color. Plants from Alagoas are bigger and have larger flowers. Some varieties, such as Cattleya labiata var.semialba, have large white flowers with a touch of yellow. There is another variety of semialba, with lilac in the inferior part of the flower. This plant is an epiphite, growing up in trees, where light is plentiful. However, there are also many other places where this plant could grow, such as directly on rock with very little soil.

The plant itself is a medium sized orchid, with a medium sized rhizome. The rhizome has long leaves, with a tough consistency because of the aridity in the canopy of trees, due to a short dry season. For water requirements, the plant has a pseudobulb on every leaf with water and nutritive substances, which is used in the latent season of the plant. In the wet season new leaves grow twice as fast, with a little inflorescence and with large flowers. Flowers are white colored with a spot lilac in middle of the flower, where the polinia and ovarum are located. Pollination is performed by insects, more specifically, a type of green bee. The result is a capsule with a very large number of seeds (10,000-20,000). For indoor cultivation, this plant is inappropriate due to the fact that it does not produce flowers under artificial light.

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