This must be one of our most flamboyant cattleyas.
As I explained earlier this month, Cattleya intermedia is a remarkably variable Brazilian species along its long coastal forest range. Cattleya intermedia var. orlata is one extreme of this variation with large flowers and a particularly large lip. This variety has been used extensively in breeding, and you can see why. A lovely plant. I have included the other varieties we grow below for comparison. A good reason to grow more than one Cattleya intermedia.
Cattleya intermedia is bi-foliate (two leaves on each pseudobulb) and comes from the Mata Atlantica (coastal Eastern Brazil) where it grows in forest up to about 1000m and so is warm to intermediate growing and seems to love our Warm Americas Section (Minimum 15C). We grow plants in baskets hung high in the greenhouse for good light and drainage reflecting the conditions experienced by a small population of plants we found in open forest on our first expedition to Brazil in 2000, where the natural climate is one with a wet summer and a much dryer winter.
Here is a link to a fascinating new study into the reintroduction of Cattleya intermedia to a forests remnant area of the Mata Atlantica. It is a great read – really interesting work.
One very significant finding is the importance of the orchid to insect biodiversity. With these great photos of insect damage to the reintroduced seedlings. It all goes to show that if you have some damage on your plants then you are growing them the authentic way 🙂