Laelia superbiens – 365 days of orchids – day 782

Today’s orchid is a real monster of a plant, as demonstrated by our students, and it is impossible to move either of our large plants our of the greenhouse to go to a show.

The species is found in Mexico and central America as an epiphyte in open Oak forests or a terrestrial on cliffs. It grows at around 1200-1500m altitude and so is cool growing and two gigantic plants fill the far end of our Cool Americas section. Each plant is 2m across and this year we have a total of nine 2m flower stems each topped with a group of 10 to 15 large and beautiful flowers.

The pseudobulbs are also enormous with thick leathery leaves.

The species is closely related to the much smaller Laelia anceps (see day 359) and in the wild there are natural hybrids between the two species. We remade this natural hybrid and it took twelve years for the first plant to flower from seed. (below)

The hybrid is very much intermediate between the parents with a long flower spike and large flowers with very anceps patals but a very superbiens lip.  It has a single leaf like anceps and size wise is very much half way between the two parents – so still very big!

I don’t know what you think, and perhaps we are biased but we still prefer the two parent species.

Pod parent – Laelia anceps:

Pollen parent – Laelia superbiens 


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