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ORCHID SPECIES CULTURE Charles and Margaret Baker Laelia pumila (Hooker) Rchb. f. AKA: Bletia pumila Rchb. f., Cattleya marginata Paxton, Cattleya pinellii Lindley, Cattleya pinellii var. marginata Beer, Cattleya pumila Hooker, Laelia praestans var. nobilis Lindley. ORIGIN/HABITAT: Brazil. Plants originate in the states of Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais. Distribution ranges westward from central Espírito Santo to far into the interior in Minas Gerais and from the vicinity of Belo Horizonte in the south to near Pedra Azul in the north. Plants usually grow on trees in relatively open, humid forests along rivers and in swampy areas at 1950-4250 ft. (600-1300 m). They most often grow in rather protected positions low on tree trunks. CLIMATE: Station #83592, Caratinga, Brazil, Lat. 19.6S, Long. 42.2W, at 1857 ft. (566 m). Temperatures are calculated for an elevation of 3000 ft. (910 m). Record extreme temperatures are not available for this location. N/HEMISPHERE JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC F AVG MAX 72 74 74 78 79 78 79 81 79 77 75 72 F AVG MIN 51 53 56 60 62 63 63 63 62 60 56 52 DIURNAL RANGE 21 21 18 18 17 15 16 18 17 17 19 20 RAIN/INCHES 0.2 1.1 1.4 2.9 6.8 9.3 8.4 3.1 5.3 2.6 1.0 0.6 HUMIDITY/% N/A BLOOM SEASON * * * * * * ** *** *** * DAYS CLR N/A RAIN/MM 5 28 36 74 173 236 213 79 135 66 25 15 C AVG MAX 22.2 23.3 23.3 25.6 26.1 25.5 26.1 27.2 26.1 25.0 23.9 22.2 C AVG MIN 10.6 11.8 13.5 15.7 16.8 17.3 17.3 17.3 16.8 15.7 13.5 11.2 DIURNAL RANGE 11.6 11.5 9.8 9.9 9.3 8.2 8.8 9.9 9.3 9.3 10.4 11.0 S/HEMISPHERE JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN Cultural Recommendations: LIGHT: 2500-3500 fc. Moderate to bright light should be somewhat filtered or diffused. Direct midday sun may cause sunburn. The McQueens (1993) report that their plants bloom best when light is as high as possible. Strong air movement should be provided at all times. TEMPERATURES: Summer days average 78-81F (26-27C), and nights average 63F (17C), with a diurnal range of 15-18F (8-10C). HUMIDITY: Reports are not available for this location. Records from nearby stations indicate that humidity probably averages 80-85% year-round. Humidity may be even higher in the stream-side and swampy habitats. WATER: Rainfall is moderate to heavy from late spring into autumn with somewhat drier conditions for 3-5 months in winter. Cultivated plants should be watered heavily while actively growing, but the roots must always dry rapidly after watering. Water should be gradually reduced after new growths mature in autumn. FERTILIZER: 1/4-1/2 recommended strength, applied weekly while plants are actively growing. A high-nitrogen fertilizer is beneficial from spring to midsummer, but a fertilizer high in phosphates is suggested in late summer and autumn. REST PERIOD: Winter days average 72-74F (22-23C), and nights average 51-53F (11-12C), with a diurnal range of 20-21F (11-12C). Despite the relatively cool nights at the weather station, growers report that intermediate conditions are ideal for these plants. Rainfall in the habitat is low in winter, but generally, some additional moisture is available from heavy morning dew. Cultivated plants need less water in winter. They should dry out between waterings but should not remain completely dry for long periods. Occasional mistings between infrequent waterings usually provide adequate moisture in most growing areas. Fertilizer should be reduced or eliminated until heavier watering is resumed in spring. GROWING MEDIA: Small pots or baskets with room for only 1-2 years' growth may be filled with a very coarse, open, fast-draining medium. The medium must allow enough air circulation so that roots dry rapidly after watering. The medium in larger containers stays wet for too long after watering. If the roots do not dry quickly, they eventually become infected with root rot. Some growers report that plants grow best when mounted on large tree-fern slabs, but mounted plants need high humidity and may need several waterings a day during extremely hot, dry weather. Repotting or dividing should be done only when new root growth is just starting. MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The bloom season shown in the climate table is based on cultivation records. In nature, plants normally bloom in summer, but they occasionally bloom at other times. Plant and Flower Information: PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: An 8 in. (20 cm) sympodial epiphyte. PSEUDOBULB: 1.2-3.1 in. (3-8 cm) long. Pseudobulbs are erect, elongated-elliptical, and spaced about 0.4 in. (1 cm) apart on a stout rhizome. The smooth, plump new growths are covered by thin sheaths when young, but as they age, the sheaths become dry and papery and fall away, and the pseudobulbs become somewhat wrinkled. LEAVES: 4-5 in. (10.0-12.5 cm) long by about 1.2 in. (3 cm) wide. Each growth produces a single rather fleshy, oblong-elliptic leaf. INFLORESCENCE: Short. A flower spike emerges from the top of the immature new growths. The folded young leaves serve as sheaths for the developing flower buds. FLOWERS: 1-2. The showy, fragrant blossoms are usually 3-4 in. (8-10 cm) across, but some have measured 5 in. (13 cm). The pointed sepals and somewhat broader petals are usually 1.6-2.0 in. (4-5 cm) long. The dorsal sepal tends to bend backward, and petals often hang down or droop and curl back near the tip. Plants with flat-opening flowers without the drooping, reflexed characteristics have been found, however, and are highly prized by growers. Sepals and petals are usually a shade of rosy purple to lavender, but flower color varies in intensity. Many color forms have been described and vary from white to nearly blue to rosy pink. The lip may be white or yellow in the tube, but the undulating, reflexed apical portions of the lobes are dark purple. The 3-lobed lip is almost 2 in. (5 cm) long. The sidelobes roll up to form a large tube around the column. On the inside of the tube, the lip has 3-5 thickened, longitudinal, toothlike veins that are raised but not strongly keeled. The central vein terminates in an easily seen little tuft that protrudes from the throat. HYBRIDIZING NOTES: Chromosome count is 2n = 40. REFERENCES: Associação orquidofila de São Paulo. 1977. Native orchids of Brasil. Associação orquidofila de São Paulo. Bechtel, H., P. Cribb, and E. Launert. 1980. Manual of cultivated orchid species. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. Fowlie, J. A. 1980. In Brazil: Part XVII Laelia praestans refound in eastern Espirito Santo by Roberto Kautsky. Orchid Digest, 44(3): 113-117. Fowlie, J. A. 1982. In Brazil: Part XX Laelia dayana at last rediscovered in the Serra do Rio Preto among gruta containing ridges in eastern Rio State. Orchid Digest, 46(2): 71-76. Hamilton, R. 1988. When does it flower? 2nd ed. Robert M. Hamilton, 9211 Beckwith Road, Richmond, B.C., Canada V6X 1V7. Hawkes, A.  1987. Encyclopaedia of cultivated orchids. Faber and Faber, London. McQueen, J., and B. McQueen. 1993. Orchids of Brazil. Timber Press, Portland, OR. Miranda, F. E. 1990. Brazilian laelias - Part II: Section Hadrolaelia. American Orchid Society Bulletin. 59(4): 339-343. Withner, C. 1990. The cattleyas and their relatives, vol. II:the laelias. Timber Press, Portland, OR. PHOTOS/DRAWINGS: Associação orquidofila de São Paulo. 1977. Native orchids of Brasil. Associação orquidofila de São Paulo. Bechtel, H., P. Cribb, and E. Launert. 1980. Manual of cultivated orchid species. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. Fowlie, J. A. 1980. In Brazil: Part XVII Laelia praestans refound in eastern Espirito Santo by Roberto Kautsky. Orchid Digest, 44(3): 113-117. Fowlie, J. A. 1982. In Brazil: Part XX Laelia dayana at last rediscovered in the Serra do Rio Preto among gruta containing ridges in eastern Rio State. Orchid Digest, 46(2): 71-76. McQueen, J., and B. McQueen. 1993. Orchids of Brazil. Timber Press, Portland, OR. Miranda, F. E. 1990. Brazilian laelias - Part II: Section Hadrolaelia. American Orchid Society Bulletin. 59(4): 339-343. Withner, C. 1990. The cattleyas and their relatives, vol. II:the laelias. Timber Press, Portland, OR. Copyright 1997, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. Baker Sheet version 25624586 ......................................................................... Please remember that this sheet is for your use only, and though it was provided free of charge, it may not be reproduced or retransmitted in any way without permission. ......................................................................... __________________________________________________________________________ "Orchid Species Culture" Charles & Margaret Baker, Portland, Oregon USA Orchid Culture & Pollination site http://www.orchidculture.com email <firstname.lastname@example.org> __________________________________________________________________________ "Orchid Species Culture Vol. 1 - Pescatorea, Phaius, Phalaenopsis, Pholidota, Phragmipedium, Pleione" 250 pages of culture information. "Orchid Species Culture Vol. 2 - Dendrobium" 850 pages of culture information for more than 1230 Dendrobium species. "The genus Paphiopedilum--Natural History and Cultivation" - Part 1 Dr. Guido Braem, Charles and Margaret Baker ISBN 0-9665337-0-4 Full page color photograph of each species. 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