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Species of the genus Coryanthes

Coryanthes albertinae Karsten 1848 (sect. Coryanthes)

It is described from Venezuela, ocurring only in the costal aerea and smells of green apple. The inflorescences are up to 1.20 m long and obtain up to 10 spotted flowers, the flowers often have a white hypochile like in the type collection.
Flower in lateral view

Coryanthes alborosea C. Schweinfurth 1943 (sect. Lamellunguis)

Until now the species was only collected in Peru in the vicinity of Iquitos. There exists a pure transparent white form as well as beautifull red spotted and nearly red forms. The inforescences are usually two-flowered, the fragrance is very weak.
Flower in lateral view
Flower

Coryanthes bergoldii Kennedy ex Dodson 1982 (sect. Coryanthes)

Only one collection of this species exists, originating probably from Ecuador. More information is urgently needed!
Flower

Coryanthes bicalcarata Schlechter 1921 (sect. Coryanthes)

There were only very few plants found near Moyobamba in Peru. We have no information on its fragrances. Probably there are no plants in cultivation today. Investigation of the fragrances is urgently needed.

Coryanthes boyi Mansfeld 1928 (sect. Lamellunguis)

The distribution of the species covers the amazonian region in Brazil and southern Venezuela. Different authors treat it as C. rutkisii Foldats, described from Venezuela. This is one of the species with little flowers and erect to horizontal inflorescences. The flower spikes normally bear 2 flowers, the weak fragrance resembles that of clove-oil.
Flower in lateral view
Flower in dorsal view

Coryanthes bruchmuelleri Reichenbach fil. 1877 (sect. Lamellunguis)

It is the largest of all Coryanthes species, with a weight of about 100 g per flower it has the heaviest flower in Orchidaceae. The distribution is along the Andes at the border of Colombia and Venezuela. With a horizontal cut the hypochile resembles a helmet of the fireman with its characteristical neck-protection.
flower in lateral view
flower in dorsal view
size of the flower buds

Coryanthes cataniapoensis G. Romero & Carnevali 1989 (sect. Lamellunguis)

This species is closely related to C. macrantha, but the long and rounded hypochile reaches here the epichile. The species comes from Edo. Amazonas in Venezuela, the aroma of the flower is very agreeable.
flower in lateral view
flower in dorsal view

Coryanthes cavalcantei Silva & Oliveira 1996 (sect. Coryanthes)

A species coming from east Brazil which is closely related to C. speciosa and its varieties. The elongated tip of the hypochile is the distinguishing mark of the species.

Coryanthes elegantium Linden & Reichenbach fil. 1868 (sect. Coryanthes)

The statement that the holotype comes from Rio Negro (Brazil) is errorneous, the species occurs only on the western side of the Andes. It was collected in Ecuador and Colombia. The more or less flat hypochile in combination with spotted flowers distinguishes the species. No special hornlike osmophors are present. (= C. wolfii Lehmann, = C. elegantissima Masters)
flower in lateral view

Coryanthes feildingii Lindley 1848 (sect. Lamellunguis)

A well grown plant can have inflorescences with up to 3 very large flowers. The plant shown here was grown from seed and is less than 3 years old. The fragrance is fruity, very intensive and agreeable. Until now the species has only been collected at the border of Venezuela and Brazil, there exists a doubtful statement that it was once collected at the border between Ecuador and Peru.
plant

Coryanthes flava G. Gerlach 1991 (sect. Coryanthes)

This species comes from the mangrove swamps of north west Colombia, it is very closely related to C. elegantium from which it is distinguished by the unicolored flowers. The inflorescences have up to three flowers and are erect or horizontally spreading.
flower in lateral view

Coryanthes gerlachiana Senghas & Seeger 1993 (sect. Lamellunguis)

The pure yellow flowers have a broad hypochile which reaches the first lamellae. Its smell is somewhat stuffy. It is only found in Bolivia.
flower

Coryanthes gernotii G. Gerlach & G. Romero 1991 (sect. Coryanthes)

This species has very long pendant inflorescences, the flowers have a markably short mesochile which is nearly covered by the hypochile. It is only found on the southern slopes of the Andes in Venezuela. It occurs sympactrically with C. bruchmuelleri.
inflorescence

Coryanthes horichiana Jenny 1986 (sect. Coryanthes)

This species is endemic to the Atlantic rain forest of Costa Rica. The flowers are cream to rose coloured and densly speckled with darker red.
flower lateral

Coryanthes hunteriana Schlechter 1922 (sect. Coryanthes)

This yellow coloured species occurs together with C. horichiana but its distribution reaches the canal zone of Panama in the south. It is much more common than C. horichiana.
flower lateral

Coryanthes leferenziorum G. Gerlach, Senghas & Seeger 1990 (sect. Lamellunguis)

The flowers of this species have a fruity odour. The inflorescence is short and pendent. It comes from Bolivia and is closely related to C. verrucolineata, but differs in having spotted flowers and a differently coloured hypochile.
flower lateral
flower dorsal

Coryanthes leucocorys Rolfe 1891 (sect. Lamellunguis)

The flowers of this species are very distinctive. They show a marvellous contrast of red and white. The lamellae of this species are completely hidden by the long extended hypochile. The flowers smell of pure wintergreen oil, like some chewing gums. The species is reported from Peru and Colombia, it probably occurs in Amazonian Ecuador and in southern Venezuela, too.
flower lateral

Coryanthes macrantha Hooker 1836 (sect. Lamellunguis)

It has the widest distribution of all the Coryanthes species. One can find it in all Amazonian regions (from Bolivia in the south to Venezuela in the north and Brazil in the east) including the Orinoko basin and Trinidad. While the flower morphology and colouration vary, the aroma of all clones investigated is remarkably the same. All the plants from French Guayana which were investigated show much more red than in the Amazonian ones.
Venezuela-type lateral
Venezuela-type dorsal
Trinidad-type dorsal
Peru-type 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Cayenne-type

Coryanthes macrocorys Rolfe 1892 (sect. Coryanthes)

This species has a very fine and long mesochile. When the bee tries to escape from the bucket it has to push the hypochile away from the column. So the thin mesochile serves as a hinge, a function which is carried out in the other species by the thin claw of the lip. The species is easily distinguished by its sessile hypochile (in all other species clawed). It comes, together with C. bicalcarata, C. leucocorys and C. seegeri, from the region around Moyobamba in Peru.
flower lateral
flower dorsal

Coryanthes maculata Hooker 1831 (sect. Coryanthes)

Very rich floriferous inflorescences are characteristic of this species. We have counted inflorescences with up to ten flowers. It comes from Venezuela and the Guayanas. (= C. parkeri)
inflorescence
flower lateral

Coryanthes mastersiana Lehmann 1891 (sect. Coryanthes)

In former times it was treated by many botanists as a synonym to C. speciosa. C. mastersiana occurs together with C. flava and C. elegantium in western Colombia and Ecuador wherever C. speciosa comes from Brazil. The fragrances of the two species are totally different but the morphology shows some similarities. This species is very variable in its coloration. Pure dirty yellow or chocolate brown forms exist as well as all mixtures and spotted ones.
flower lateral
flower dorsal
flower lateral

Coryanthes misasii G. Romero & G. Gerlach 1991 (sect. Coryanthes)

This species is not present in recent collections. It was reported from Panama and the Dept. Antioquia in Colombia. Material for investigation is urgently needed. The species is easily distinguished by the clawed hypochile.
flower lateral

Coryanthes panamensis G. Gerlach 1993 (sect. Coryanthes)

It has a pure yellow colouration. It was found in the Canal zone of Panama and during the expedition of Mutis in the last century in Colombia. The hypochile of the species shows a bi- or tridentate apex and a very massive mesochile.
flower dorsal

Coryanthes pegiae G. Romero 1986 (sect. Lamellunguis)

It has only once been found in the region around Pto. Ayacucho in southern Venezuela. Uniquely, the species shows a deeply split hypochile with hair bristles at the edges. More living material is urgently needed.
flower dorsal

Coryanthes picturata Reichenbach fil. 1864 (sect. Coryanthes)

This species has a wide distribution, it is found in all Central America countries (Mexico to Panama). The flowers are spotted and the hypochile is broad and emarginated.
flower dorsal
inflorescence

Coryanthes seegeri G. Gerlach 1987 (sect. Coryanthes)

An hairy epichile which is broader than it is deep distinguishes Coryanthes seegeri easily from all other species. This species is very rare in collections, it comes from the vicinity of Moyobamba in Peru.
inflorescence
flower dorsal
habitus

Coryanthes senghasiana G. Gerlach 1988 (sect. Coryanthes)

The very distinct texture of the mesochile which resembles densely lying scales distinguishes the species. Reports of it come from Iquitos / Peru and eastern Colombia. Venezuela, a probable origin, is not excluded.
inflorescence
flower dorsal

Coryanthes speciosa Hooker 1831 (sect. Coryanthes)

This species has its origin in Brazil. Formerly the epithet was used for Coryanthes species occuring in Colombia, Venezuela and Central America. The fragrance analyses showed very distinctive patterns compared with those originating outside of Central Brazil. Coryanthes punctata has the same distribution and the same fragrance composition, so this epithet is considered to be synonymous with Coryanthes speciosa. There exist three varieties: C. speciosa var. esperitosantense Ruschi 1975, C. speciosa var. punctata G. Gerlach 1993, C. speciosa var. sumneriana G. Gerlach 1993, they all differ from the unicolored yellow type variety with more or less spotted flowers.
C. speciosa, flower in lateral view
C. speciosa var. punctata inflorescence
C. speciosa var. espiritosantense flower in lateral view

Coryanthes toulemondiana G. Gerlach & T. Franke 1994 (sect. Lamellunguis)

This species comes from Amazonian Colombia. The flowers are yellow coloured, the first ring of lamellae of the mesochile is down-turned, the hypochile is very hairy.
flower lateral
inflorescence

Coryanthes tricuspidata G. Gerlach 1993 (sect. Coryanthes)

The plant was described from garden material probably originating from eastern Ecuador, the exact origin is unkown. After the description no more plants of this species were reported. So it would be very interesting to obtain material with a known origin. The species is easily distinguished by its tricuspidate hypochile.
flower dorsal

Coryanthes trifoliata C. Schweinfurth 1944 (sect. Lamellunguis)

A deep red hairy spot on the hypochile distinguishes it from the other species. The epithet trifoliata" refers to the three foliate bulbs of the type collection. This character is not species-typical but occurs sometimes in all the different Coryanthes species. The species is only reported from Peru.
flower lateral
flower dorsal

Coryanthes vasquezii Dodson 1982 (sect. Coryanthes)

It has pure white flowers, on a short pendent inflorescence, its smell is somewhat stuffy like in C. trifoliata. It comes from Bolivia and has the most southern distribution of the genus.
inflorescence

Coryanthes verrucolineata G. Gerlach 1989 (sect. Lamellunguis)

It is found in Amazonian-Peru, it was often mislabelled as C. rodriguesii or C. boyi. There exist clones with a white or purplish hypochile, but in both the hair plaits are purplish.
flower in lateral view
inflorescence

Coryanthes vieirae G. Gerlach 1991 (sect. Lamellunguis)

The first collection came from Amazonian Colombia but in more recent times it has been reported from northern Peru, too. The upper ring of lamellae resemble an up-turned collar, the flowers are pure white.
flower in lateral view
flower in dorsal view


I would like to express my thanks to all those who have helped me in my work with this fascinating genus Coryanthes, especially the gardeners of Heidelberg and Munich Botanical Gardens whose support in growing such difficult plants was essential for this investigation.