Sobralia is a genus of about 125 orchids (family Orchidaceae) and the only genus of the subtribe Sobraliinae. It is native to Central and South America. The plants are more commonly terrestrial, but are also found growing epiphytically, in wet forests from sea level to about 8,800 ft. The genus was named for Dr. Francisco Sobral, a Spanish botanist. The genus is abbreviated Sob in trade journals.

Their reed-like stems range in height from about 1 ft (such as in Sobralia galeottiana) to 25-30 ft. They have typically heavily veined, bilobed, plicate, apical leaves all along the stem. The inflorescenses on the apex of the stem carry one or two successive ephemeral flowers with large sepals and petals. The short duration of the flower is caused by a self-digesting enzyme. The lip is entire or lobed and clasps the column at its base. This columns carries eight soft pollinia. These flowers range in color from pure white to yellow, green, pink, purple, red, brown, and even a blue violet.


The genera Cyathoglottis Poepp. & Endl., Fregea Rchb.f. and Lindsayella Ames & C.Schweinf. are generally included here.


A few more commonly cited species:



Ortiz, V. P. 2004. - Las especies Colombianas de Sobralia Ruiz & Pav., seccion Sobralia. The Colombian species of Sobralia Ruiz & Pav., section Sobralia. Orquideologia 23(1): 49-65

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