Sobralia crocea – 365 days of orchids – day 1290

Sobralia crocea is a wonderful example of an orchid evolved for humming bird pollination. Many sobralia species have very large flowers like our Sobralia macrantha (below) that are evolved for bee pollination.

In Sobralia crocea the sepals and petals form a narrow tube by opening just a little for the humming birds beak and long tongue, and of course it is a startling orange colour.

The species is found from Peru to Venezuela as a terrestrial (or rarely an epiphyte) from 1700-2700m in wet forest. We grow the species in Warm Americas in a basket but water it well all year.

The flowers only last a few days but like other sobralias they are produces successively on the top of stems over several weeks. The species is also our smallest sobralia with stems only 50cm tall. An unusual and rewarding species especially with the dark green leaves that contrast so well with the orange flowers.


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  1. Donavan-Ross Costaras says:

    Do you have any recommendations for literature on species? I know that’s an overly broad question but I found myself trying to work out what the pollinators of some species were. I was looking for info on Maxilaria praestans (which seems to resemble a wasp) and Bulbophyllum guttulatum (which seems to have what looks like a little fruit fly in it) specifically (I realise those appearances may have nothing to do with their actual pollination strategies but it got me thinking)?