Scaphosepalum swertiifolium (Rchb.f.) Rolfe 1890 SECTION Leiocaulium Luer 1988

Flower Closeup

Photo by Jay Pfahl.

Another Color Variant

Photo by Lourens Grobler

Another Color Variant

Red Color Form

Photo by Patricia Harding.


Common Name The Swertia perennis-Like Scaphoswepalum [Refers to the leaves looking like the species Swertia perennis]

Flower Size 2 3/4" [7 cm]

Found in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru in extremely wet montane cloud forests as a miniature sized, warm to cold growing epiphytic species found at an altitude of 600-2200 meters with erect, slender ramicauls enveloped by 2 to 3 tubular sheaths carrying a single, apical, erect, thinly coriaceous, long-petiolate, ellipical, acute, subplicate leaf that gradually narrows below to the slender, channeled petiole and blooms in the summer, fall, winter and spring on a ascending to horizontal, smooth, loose to congested, lateral, 2 to 6" [5 to 15 cm] long, racemose, few flowered inflorescence arising from low on the ramicaul with thin tubular floral bracts and the successively opening flowers are held below the leaves.

"The leaves, thin and more or less soft in consistency, vary greatly in size but they are alwys long petiolate. When the blades are large and broad, they are slightly plicate. The cushions of the lateral sepals are large, about half the size of the blades. The tails are striaght and slender and vary in leangth from .6" to 1.6" [1.5 to 4 cm]." LUer 1988

Synonyms *Masdevallia swertiifolia Rchb. f. 1880; Scaphosepalum platypetalum Schltr. 1920

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Die Orchideen Schlechter 1915; Atlas des Orchidees Cultivees Constantin 1920 drawing ok; Die Orchideen der Sudamerikanischen Kordillerenstaaten II Colombia Schlechter 1920 as S platypetalum; Icones Planetarum Tropicarum Plate 284 Dodson 1980 drawing ok; Icones Pleurothallidinarum Vol V Systematics of Dresslerella and Scaphosepalum Luer 1988 drawing fide; Orchids from The Coast Of Ecuador Arosemana, Jurado, Estrada and Konanz 1988 photo ok; Orchids Travel By Air A Pictoral Safari Mulder, Mulder-Roelfsema and Schuiteman 1990 photo fide; Native Colombian Orchids Vol 4 COS 1992 photo soso; AOS Bulletin Vol 64 No 3 1995; Native Colombian Orchids Vol 6 COS 1998 photo fide; Rudolf Schlechter Die Orchideen Band 1C lieferung 42 - 43 pg 2626 - 2762 Brieger 2001; Native Ecuadorian Orchids Vol 5 Dodson 2004 photo fide; Orchid Species Of Peru Zelenko & Bermudez 2009 photo fide; Orquideologia Vol 28 #2 2011 photo fide; AOS Bulletin Vol 81 #11 2012 photo fide; Orquideas de Farallones de Cali Galindo-Tarazona, Haelterman, Zuluaga Trochez and Sebastian Moreno 2020 photo fide

Scaphosepalum swertiifolium subsp. exiguum Luer & R. Escobar 1988

Photo courtesy of Patricia Harding.

Differs from the type by the flowers being considerably smaller. The sepaline cushions are essentially glabrous and he sepaline tails are shorter than the blades. The cushions of the typical species are shortly but densely pubescwsnt anmd the tail are longer, often much longer than the blades. Also the leaves are differnet with this variety having narrowly elliptical, not broad and long-petiolate as found in the typical form." Luer 1988 W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; AOS Bulletin Vol 81 #11 2012 photo fide;