Disambiguation: For the fictional character see Katorea.
Cattleya labiata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Epidendreae
Subtribe: Laeliinae
Alliance: Cattleya
Genus: Cattleya

See text.

Cattleya elongata

Cattleya /ˈkætlə/[1] is a genus of 113 species of orchids from Costa Rica to tropical South America. The genus was named in 1824 by John Lindley after Sir William Cattley[2] who received and successfully cultivated specimens of Cattleya labiata that were used as packing material in a shipment of other orchids made by William Swainson. The genus is abbreviated C in trade journals.

They are widely known for their large, showy flowers, and were used extensively in hybridization for the cut-flower trade until quite recently. This genus and the numerous hybrids come close, through their beauty, to the idealized picture we have of the orchids. The flowers of the hybrids can vary in size from 5 cm to 15 cm or more. They occur in all colors except true blue and black.

The typical flower has three rather narrow sepals and three usually broader petals: two petals are similar to each other, and the third is the quite different conspicuous lip, featuring various markings and specks and an often frilly margin. At the base, the margins are folded into a tube. Each flower stalk originates from a pseudobulb. The number of flowers varies; it can be just one or two, or sometimes up to ten.



Originally, the concept Cattleya included a requirement that the pollinarium contain only four pollinia. Starting some time after December, 2000, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) began re-organizing the generic boundaries with respect to hybrid registration. This has led to multiple senses of the term Cattleya, not only with respect to species, but also with respect to hybrids.


  • C. aclandiae: Lady Ackland's Cattleya (Brazil)
  • C. amethystoglossa: Amethyst-lipped Cattleya (Brazil)
  • C. araguaiensis: Cattleya from Araguaia river (Brazil) == Cattleyella araguaiensis (Pabst) van den Berg & M. W. Chase.
  • C. aurantiaca: Orange Cattleya (Mexico to C. America) == Guarianthe aurantiaca, see Guarianthe
  • C. aurea: Golden-yellow Cattleya (S. Panama to Colombia). Pseudobulb epiphyte
  • C. bicolor: Bicolored Cattleya (SE. Brazil)
    • Cattleya bicolor subsp. bicolor (Brazil). Pseudobulb epiphyte
    • Cattleya bicolor subsp. canastrensis (Brazil). Pseudobulb epiphyte
    • Cattleya bicolor subsp. minasgeraiensis (Brazil). Pseudobulb epiphyte
  • C. bowringiana: Bowring's Cattleya (Mexico to Honduras) == Guarianthe bowringiana, see Guarianthe
  • C. candida (Colombia).
  • C. dormaniana: Dorman's Cattleya (Brazil)
  • C. dowiana: Queen of the Cattleyas, Dow's Cattleya (Costa Rica).
  • C. elongata: Cattleya with the Elongated Stalk (Brazil). 2n = 80[3]
  • C. forbesii: Forbes' Cattleya (Brazil)
  • C. gaskelliana: Gaskell's Cattleya (Colombia to Trinidad).
  • C. granulosa: Granulose Cattleya (Brazil)
  • C. guttata: Spotted Cattleya (Brazil).
  • C. harrisoniana: Harrison's Cattleya (SE. Brazil).
  • C. intermedia: Intermediate Cattleya (SE. & S. Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay).
    • C. intermedia var. orlata
  • C. iricolor: Rainbow-colored Cattleya (Ecuador to Peru).
  • C. jenmanii: Jenman's Cattleya (Venezuela to Guyana).
  • C. kerrii: Kerr's Cattleya (Brazil).
  • C. labiata: Crimson Cattleya, Ruby-lipped Cattleya, named for the large labellum (Brazil)
  • C. lawrenceana: named for Sir Trevor Lawrence (Venezuela, Guyana, N. Brazil).
  • C. loddigesii: named for the Loddiges brothers (SE. Brazil to NE. Argentina).
    • Cattleya loddigesii subsp. loddigesii (SE. Brazil to NE. Argentina). Pseudobulb epiphyte
    • Cattleya loddigesii subsp. purpurea (Brazil). Pseudobulb epiphyte
  • C. lueddemanniana: Lueddemann's Cattleya (N. Venezuela).
  • C. luteola: named for the pale yellow flowers (N. Brazil, Ecuador to Bolivia).
  • C. maxima: Christmas Flower, named for the large flowers (Venezuela to Peru).
  • C. mendelii: named for Mendel (NE. Colombia).
  • C. mooreana: named for Moore (Peru).
  • C. mossiae: Easter Orchid, named for Mrs. Moss (N. Venezuela)
  • C. nobilior: More noble Cattleya (WC. Brazil to Bolivia).
  • C. patinii: named for Patin (Costa Rica to Venezuela, Trinidad) == Guarianthe patinii, see Guarianthe
  • C. percivaliana: Christmas orchid, named for Percival (Colombia to W. Venezuela).
  • C. porphyroglossa: Purple-lipped Cattleya (Brazil).
  • C. rex: King of the Cattleyas (Colombia to N. Peru).
  • C. schilleriana: named for Consul Schiller (Brazil).
  • C. schofieldiana: named for Schofield (Brazil)
  • C. schroederae: Easter Orchid, named for Baroness Schröder (NE. Colombia).
  • C. skinneri: Flower of San Sebastian, Skinner's Cattleya (SE. Mexico to C. America) == Guarianthe skinneri, see Guarianthe
  • C. tenuis: Slender-stemmed Cattleya (NE. Brazil).
  • C. tigrina (SE. & S. Brazil).
  • C. trianae: Dr. Triana's Cattleya (Colombia).
  • C. velutina: Velvety Cattleya (Brazil) 2n = 40[4]
  • C. violacea: Superba of the Orinoco, Brazil, Guyana, Violet Cattleya (S. Trop. America).
  • C. walkeriana: Walker's Cattleya (WC. & SE. Brazil).
  • C. wallisii: "Wallis' Cattleya" (N. Brazil).
  • C. warneri: Warner's Cattleya (E. Brazil).
  • C. warscewiczii: Warscewicz's Cattleya (Colombia).

Sensu MMX

In 2009, the genus Sophronitis was merged into Cattleya,[5] adding the following species (some of which belong to the genus Sophronitis sensu MCMXCIX, and many of which belong to the genus Laelia sensu MCMXCIX:

Cattleya (Sophronitis) coccinea
  • C. acuensis (Fowlie) Van den Berg, 2008: Açu Sophronitis (Brazil - Rio de Janeiro).
  • C. alaorii (Brieger & Bicalho 1976) Van den Berg 2008: Alaor's Laelia (Brazil - Bahia).
  • C. alagoensis (V. P. Castro & Chiron) Van den Berg 2008: (Brazil - Alagoas)
  • C. alvaroana (F. E. L. Miranda 1999) Van den Berg 2008: (Brazil - Rio de Janeiro).
  • C. angereri (Pabst 1975) Van den Berg 2008: Angerer's Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. bicalhoi (Rchb.f. 1876) Van den Berg 2008: Day's Laelia (Brazil - S. Minas Gerais to Rio de Janeiro).
  • C. blumenscheinii (Pabst 1975) Van den Berg 2008: Blumenschein's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. bradei (Pabst 1973) Van den Berg 2008: Brade's Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. brevicaulis (H. G. Jones 1972) Van den Berg 2008: Short stemmed Hoffmannseggella (Brazil).
  • C. brevipedunculata ((Cogn. 1902) Fowlie 1972)Van den Berg 2008 : Short-stalked Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. briegeri (Blumensch. ex Pabst 1973) Van den Berg 2008: Laelia Briegeri (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. britoi (K. G. Lacerda & V. P. Castro) Campacci: Brito's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais) == S. crispata x S. neomirandae
  • C. caulescens (Lindl.1841) Van den Berg 2008: Laelia crispilabia (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. cernua (Lindl. 1828) Beer 1854: Sophronitis cernua' (Brazil to NE. Argentina). This was the type species for the now defunct genus Sophronitis[6]
    • Sophronitis cernua var. alagoensis (Gomes Ferreira 1998) (Brazil - Alagoas).
    • Sophronitis cernua Lindl. var. cernua (Brazil to NE. Argentina) Lindley published this in 1828 as Sophronitis modesta.
  • C. cinnabarina (Bateman ex Lindl. 1839) Van den Berg 2008: Cinnabar Sophronitis (Brazil - S. Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro).
  • C. coccinea (Lindl. 1836!) Rchb.f. 1861): Scarlet Cattleya (Brazil to Argentina - Misiones).
  • C. colnagoi (Chiron & V. P. Castro 2005) Van den Berg 2008: Colnago's Hoffmannseggella (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. conceicionensis (V. P. Castro & Campacci 2002) Van den Berg 2008: Hoffmannseggella of Conceição do Mato Dentro (Brazil - Minas Gerais)
  • C. crispa (Lindl.! 1828) Rchb.f. 1853: Crisped Laelia (SE. Brazil)
  • C. crispata (Thunb. 1818) Van den Berg 2008: Crisped Cymbidium (Brazil - Minas Gerais), Accepted for many decades by the RHS as Laelia flava Lindl.1839.
Cattleya (Laelia) purpurata
  • C. dichroma (F. E. L. Miranda 1991) Van den Berg 2008: Two-colored Sophronitis (Brazil - Rio de Janeiro).
  • C. duveenii nom. illeg. (Fowlie 1988) Van den Berg & M. W. Chase: Duveen's Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais: Serra do Cipó). This is not to be confused with C. x duveenii Pabst & A .Ferreira (1977) == C. guttata x C. harrisoniana
  • C. endsfeldzii (Pabst) Van den Berg 2008: Endsfeldz's Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. esalqueana (Blumensch. ex Pabst 1973) Van den Berg 2008: ESALQ's Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. fidelensis (Pabst 1967) Van den Berg 2008: São Fidélis Laelia (Brazil - Rio de Janeiro).
  • C. flavasulina (F. E. L. Miranda & K. G. Lacerda 2003) Van den Berg 2008: Southern Yellow Hoffmannseggella (Brazil - Minas Gerais)
  • C. fournieri (Cogn. 1897) Van den Berg 2008: Fournier's Laelia longipes (Brazil - Minas Gerais)
  • C. ghillanyi (Pabst 1973) Van den Berg 2008: Ghilany's Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. gloedeniana (Hoehne 1934) Van den Berg 2008: Gloeden's Laelia (Brazil - São Paulo).
  • C. gracilis (Pabst 1979) Van den Berg 2008: Delicate Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais: Serra do Cipó).
  • C. grandis (Lindl. 1859) A. A. Chadwick 2006: Large Laelia (Brazil - SE. Bahia to N. Espírito Santo).
  • C. harpophylla (Rchb.f. 1873) Van den Berg 2008: Sickle-leaf Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais to Espírito Santo).
  • C. hispidula (Pabst & A. F. Mello 1978) Van den Berg 2008: Finely Bristled Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. hoehnei Van den Berg 2008: Hoehn's Cattleya (Brazil - Espírito Santo). Hoehn originally described this (in 1938) as Laelia mixta
  • C. itambana (Pabst 1973) Van den Berg 2008: Itambé Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. jongheana (Rchb.f. 1872) Van den Berg 2008: Jonghe's Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. kautskyana (V. P. Castro & Chiron 2003) Van den Berg 2008: Kaustsky's Hoffmannseggella (Brazil - Espírito Santo).
  • C. kettieana (Pabst 1976) Van den Berg & M. W. Chase: Kettie's Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais)
  • C. lietzelburgii (Schltr. 1921) Van den Berg 2008: Bahian Sophronitis (Bahia Laelia).
  • C. liliputana (Pabst 1973) Van den Berg 2008: Dwarf Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais: Serra do Ouro Branco).
  • C. lobata Lindl. 1848: Lobed Cattleya (SE. Brazil.) Known for decades as Laelia lobata
  • C. longipes (Rchb.f. 1863) Van den Berg 2008: Long-foot Laelia (SE. Brazil - Serra do Cipó).
  • C. lundii (Rchb.f. & Warm. 1881) Van den Berg 2008: Lund's Laelia (Bolivia to Argentina - Misiones, Salta).
    • Sophronitis lundii f. alba (L. C. Menezes) Van den Berg & M. W. Chase
  • C. mantiqueirae (Fowlie 1972) Van den Berg 2008: Mantiqueira Sophronitis (SE. Brazil).
  • C. marcaliana (Campacci & Chiron 2002) Van den Berg 2008: Marçal's Dungsia (Brazil - Bahia).
  • C. milleri (Blumensch. ex Pabst 1973) Van den Berg 2008: Miller's Sophronitis (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
Cattleya (Laelia) sincorana
  • C. munchowiana (F. E. L. Miranda 1999) Van den Berg 2008: Munchow's Laelia (Brazil - Espírito Santo).
  • C. mirandae (K. G. Lacerda & V. P. Castro 2005) Vam dem Berg 2008: Miranda's Hoffmannseggella (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. neokautskyi (Pabst 1970) Van den Berg 2008: Kautsky's Laelia (SE. Brazil)
  • C. pabstii (F. E. L. Miranda & K. G. Lacerda 2003) Van den Berg 2008: Pabst's Hoffmannseggella (Brazil - Minas Gerais)
  • C. pendula (R. C. Mota, P. L. Viana & K. G. Lacerda 2003) Van den Berg 2008: Hanging Hoffmannseggella (Brazil - Minas Gerais)
  • C. perrinii Lindl. 1838: Perrin's Cattleya (SE. Brazil)
  • C. pfisteri (Pabst & Senghas 1975) Van den Berg 2008: Pfister's Laelia (Brazil - Bahia).
  • C. praestans (Rchb.f. 1857) Van den Berg 2008: Spectacular Laelia (SE. Brazil)
  • C. presidentensis (Campacci 2005) Van den Berg 2008: President's Hoffmannseggella (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. pumila Hook. 1838: Dwarf Cattleya (SE. & S. Brazil)
  • C. purpurata (Lindl. & Paxton 1852) Van den Berg 2008: Purple Laelia (SE. & S. Brazil)
  • C. pygmaea (Pabst 1976) Van den Berg 2008: Small Orange Sophronitis (Brazil - Espírito Santo).
  • C. reginae (Pabst 1975) Van den Berg 2008: The Queen's Laelia (Brazil - Minas Gerais).
  • C. sanguiloba (Withner 1990) Van den Berg 2008: Red-lobed Laelia (Brazil – Bahia)
  • C. sincorana (Schltr 1917) Van den Berg 2008: Sincorá Laelia (Brazil - Bahia).
  • C. tenebrosa (Rolfe 1893) A. A. Chadwick 2006: Dark Laelia (Brazil - SE. Bahia to Espírito Santo).
  • C. verboonenii (F. E. L. Miranda 1993) Van den Berg 2008: Verboonen's Laelia (Brazil - Rio de Janeiro).
  • C. virens (Lindl. 1844) Van den Berg 2008: Green Laelia (SE. Brazil)
  • C. wittigiana (Barb. Rodr. 1878) Van den Berg 2008: Wittig's Sophronitis (Brazil - Espírito Santo).
    • C. wittigiana f. candida (Roeth & O. Gruss 2005) Van den Berg 2008
  • C. xanthina (Lindl. 1859) Van den Berg 2008: Yellow Laelia (Brazil - Bahia to Espírito Santo).

Natural Hybrids

  • Cattleya × brasiliensi (= C. bicolor × C. harrisoniana) (Brazil) .
  • Cattleya × brymeriana (= C. violacea × C. wallisii) (N. Brazil).
  • Cattleya x calimaniorum Chiron & V.P.Castro (NE Brazil)
  • Cattleya × colnagiana (Brazil).
  • Cattleya × dayana (= C. forbesii × C. guttata) (Brazil).
  • Cattleya × dolosa (= C. loddigesii × C. walkeriana): Dolose Cattleya, Crafty Cattleya, Deceitful Cattleya (Brazil).
  • Cattleya × dukeana (C. bicolor × C. guttata) (SE. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × duveenii ( = C. guttata × C. harrisoniana) (SE. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × gransabanensis (= C. jenmanii × C. lawrenceana) (Venezuela).
  • Cattleya × gravesiana (= C. lueddemanniana × C. mossiae) (Venezuela).
  • Cattleya × guatemalensis (= C. aurantiaca × C. skinneri) : Guatemalan Cattleya (SE. Mexico to C. America); see Guarianthe
  • Cattleya × hardyana ( = C. dowiana var.aurea × C. warscewiczii): Hardy's Cattleya (Colombia).
  • Cattleya × hybrida (= C. guttata × C. loddigesii) (SE. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × imperator ( = C. granulata × C. labiata) (NE. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × intricata (=. C. intermedia × C. leopoldii) (S. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × isabella (.= C. forbesii × C. intermedia) (SE. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × itatiayae (SE. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × joaquiniana ( = C. bicolor × C. walkeriana) (Brazil) .
  • Cattleya × kautskyi (= C. harrisoniana × C. warneri) (SE. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × lucieniana ( = C. forbesii × C. granulosa) (SE. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × measuresii ( = C. aclandiae × C. walkeriana) (E. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × mesquitae ( = C. nobilior × C. walkeriana) (Brazil).
  • Cattleya × mixta ( = C. guttata × C. schofieldiana) (Brazil).
  • Cattleya × moduloi (C. schofieldiana × C. warneri) (Brazil).
  • Cattleya × patrocinii (= C. guttata × C. warneriana): Patrocinio's Cattleya (SE. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × picturata ( = C. guttata × C. intermedia) (SE. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × resplendens ( = C. granulosa × C. schilleriana) (NE. Brazil)
  • Cattleya × scita (= C. intermedia × C. tigrina) (S. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × tenuata (= C. elongata × C. tenuis) (Brazil) .
  • Cattleya × undulata ( = C. elongata × C. schilleriana) (Brazil).
  • Cattleya × venosa (= C. forbesii × C. harrisoniana) (Brazil).
  • Cattleya × victoria-regina ( C. guttata × C. labiata) (NE. Brazil).
  • Cattleya × wilsoniana ( = C. bicolor × C. intermedia). (Brazil).
  • Cattleya × zayrae V.P.Castro & Cath (Bahia, Brazil)


Cattleyas have been hybridized both within the genus and with related genera for more than a century, but the last several decades have seen a remarkable increase in both the quantity and quality of the hybrids within the Cattleya alliance. Among the most popular are the Brassolaeliocattleya (Blc.) and Sophrolaeliocattleya (Slc.) hybrids. The vast majority of the Blc. hybrids have recently been moved into the new nothogenus Rhyncholaeliocattleya (Rlc.); the Slc. mostly into Cattleya, with a few in Laleliocattleya (Lc.)

Laelia (L.): Breeding with this genus refines the lip of the orchid, producing a more elongated closed "cone" that gracefully opens into the full lip of the blossom. Some species of Laelia also contribute an intense violet shade. Laelia + Cattleya = Laeliocattleya, the basis for many more complex and highly popular hybrids. Most species of Laelia (the "Brasilian Laelias") were merged into Cattleya[5] in the first decade of the third millennium, after a brief sojourn in Sophronitis.

Brassavola (B.): Most crosses with Brassavola are actually done with the Ryncholaelia digbyana, which was moved out of the Brassavola genus but was still considered such in naming the hybrid for many years. This cross is made in order to effect the fabulous "fringed", "feathered" or "ruffled" lip of the bloom; it also expands the lip of the blossom and the most imposing cattleya hybrids almost always have this species in their ancestry. These are usually the largest of the major cattleya hybrids. Brassavola + Cattleya = Brassocattleya, Brassavola + Laelia + Cattleya = Brassolaeliocattleya. Most, but not all, of these hybrids are now placed in Rhyncholaeliocattleya.

Sophronitis (Soph.): A tiny, flame-colored orchid that introduces the most intense red color to its descendants. Many crimson and scarlet cattleya hybrids betray sophronitis in their ancestry. Sophronitis is also used to miniaturize cattleya hybrids. Sophronitis + Laelia + Cattleya = Sophrolaeliocattleya. Sophronitis was recently merged into Cattleya, after being expanded to include most of the Laelia species.[5]

Potinara (Pot.): The combination of all three of the above with a Cattleya. Potinaras are not as popular as Blc's or Slc's, but there are some incredible examples coming in all ranges of colors from light green to magenta. Although it is not a rule, they are generally smaller than Blc's but larger than Slc's. The recent merging of Sophronitis into Cattleya[5] extinguished the nothogenus Potinara; most former Potinaras are now in the nothogenus Rhyncholaeliocattleya (Rlc.)

Yamadara (Yam.): The cross of the Blc combination with an [Epidendrum]. The addition of Epidendrum appears to increase flower yield, and some Yamadaras are intensely colored. With the recent discovery that the first Yamadara was registered as Adamara, the nothogeneric epithet Yamadara has been extinguished and replaced with Adamara.

Hawkinsara (Hknsa.): The Slc combination crossed with Broughtonia. Smaller, often magenta/reddish flowers. Many of these are now classified in the nothogenus Cattleytonia (Ctna.)

Cattleyas can be crossed with a large number of other allied genera, including Cattleyopsis, Caularthron, Schomburgkia, Tetramicra, etc. Hybridization can go all the way up to eight parent genera, such as Brassavola x Broughtonia x Cattleya x Cattleyopsis x Caularthron x Epidendrum x Laelia x Sophronitis in Gladysyeeara.

Marcel Proust

The phrase "to do a cattleya" is used as a cryptic metaphor for lovemaking by the characters Odette and Swann in Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.[7]


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ Schmidt-Ostrander, Ingrid. "William Cattley (1788-1835)". The Canadian Orchid Congress. Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  3. ^ page 250 of L. P. Felix and M. Guerra: "Variation in chromosome number and the basic number of subfamily Epidendroideae (Orchidaceae)" Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 163(2010)234—278. The Linnean Society of London. Downloaded October 2010 from
  4. ^ page 251 of L. P. Felix and M. Guerra: "Variation in chromosome number and the basic number of subfamily Epidendroideae (Orchidaceae)" Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 163(2010)234—278. The Linnean Society of London. Downloaded October 2010 from
  5. ^ a b c d Ron McHatten (2009). "Forthcoming Name Changes". American orchid Society. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  6. ^ Carl Leslie Withner, The Cattleyas and Their Relatives: Schomburgkia, Sophronitis, and Other South American Genera, Timber Press, 1990. p.67
  7. ^ Beautiful Plants – Proust’s Cattleya Orchid

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