Encyclia ambigua [Lindley] Schlechter 1914

Photo by David Hunt


Common Name The Ambiguous Encyclia

Flower Size 2" [5 cm]

Found in Chiapas state of Mexico, and Guatemala as a medium sized, warmto cool growing epiphyte at elevations of 950 to 1875 meters and is similar in habit to Enc. alata. They have clustered, ovoid-conical pseudobulbs carrying 2 to 3 apical, linear-ligulate, acute, gradually narrowing below into the clasping base leaves. They bloom in the late spring and summer on a terminal, 3 1/2' [105 cm] long, many flowered, racemose or branched inflorescence arising on a mature pseudobulb with up to 30, lightly fragrant flowers, akin to beeswax and honey.

This species can be confused with E trachychila found in Chiapas Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras which has "brown sepals and petals, obovate-spathulate petals, a deep yellow lip with a midlobe carrying many prominent, purplish warts arising from raised lamellae and subquadrate column auricles, E ambigua has pale greenish cream flowers with narrowly oblanceolate-spathulate petals, a few broken lines of purple-pink dots on the lobes of the lip the midlobe of the lip with a few slightly raised veins showing very few to no warts and has a proportionally longer lip callus and obliquely triangular column auricles.

Synonyms Epidendrum alatum Lindl. 1847; *Epidendrum ambiguum Lindley 1853;

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Die Orchideen Schlechter 1915; The Genus Epidendrum Ames 1936 as Epidendrum ambiguum; Encyclopedia of Cultivated Orchids Hawkes 1965 as Epidendrum ambiguum; Las Orquedias De El Salvador Vol 1 Hamer 1974 as Epidendrum ambiguum drawing/photo fide; The Genus Encyclia in Mexico Dressler & Pollard 1974 photo fide; Las Orquedias de El Salvador Vol 3 Hamer 1981 as Epidendrum ambiguum drawing fide; Icones Planetarum Tropicarum Plate 681 Dodson 1982 drawing fide; Manual Of Orchids Stewart 1995; Orchid Digest Vol 61 #4 1997 as E virens photo fide; Orchid Digest Vol 61 #4 1997 as E virens photo not = E trachychila; Cattleyas and Their Relatives Vol V Withner 1998 photo fide; Guatemala Y Sus Orquideas Behar & Tinschert 1998 photo fide; Botanicas Orchids Laurel Glen 2002 photo fide;Icones Orchidacearum 5 & 6 Orchids Of Mexico Parts 2 & 3 Plate 517 Hagsater, Soto 2002 drawing fide; Orchids of Mexico Hagsater, Soto, Salazar, Jimenez, Lopez & Dressler 2005 photo fide; Guia de Orquideas de Chiapas Carlos Rommel Beutelspacher Baigts 2013 photo fide; Orchid Genera and Species in Guatemala Archila, Szlachchetko, Chiron, Lipinska, Mystkowska and Bertolini 2018