(pronounced: soh-BRAL-ee-ah)


Epidendreae subtribe Sobraliinae

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Medium to large caespitose terrestrials, lithophytes or rarely epiphytes. Stems erect, leafy, usually unbranched. Leaves one to many, elliptic to lanceolate, rarely linear, sessile, acute-acuminate, pleated, often clustered toward the stem apex. Inflorescences terminal racemes, occasionally axillary in the upper leaf axils, sessile or pedunculate, often successively one-flowered. Flowers membranous, usually ephemeral, often gregarious. Sepals and petals free, spreading, the petals ofen wider than the sepals. Lip unlobed to three-lobed, usually tubular at the base, often with undulate margins, the callus absent or present, variable, usually of a pair of short basal keels and low linear parallel longitudinal keels or ridges, the keels often toothed or fimbriate. Column club-shaped, winged with the wings embracing the column apex, without a foot; pollinia 8, soft, sessile on a large common viscidium.


Named to honor Francisco Sobral, an 18th century Spanish physician and botanist.


A genus of about 95 species ranging from Mexico to Bolivia. Species-level taxonomy of Sobralia is rather problematic and research is largely hampered by the usually ephemeral flowers which typically make poor herbarium specimens. A few species with non-tu

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Allen, P. H. 1958. Sobralia intermedia. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 27(8):531-535.

Bennett, D. E., Jr., and E. A. Christenson 1999. Sobralia altissima. Orchids 68(11):1112-1114.

Bennett, D. E., Jr., E. A. Christenson, A. Moises Cavero B. and M. Leon M. 1996. The Sobralias of Tingo Maria, Peru. Orchids 65(8):820-825.

Benzing, D. H., D. W. Ott and W. E. Friedman 1982. Roots of Sobralia macrantha (Orchidaceae): structure and function of the velamen-exodermis complex. Amer. J. Bot. 69:608-614.

Collantes, B. and M. León 1999. Inquil, Symbol of Carnival in Huachocolpa, Peru. Orchids 68(11):1102-1111.

Dunsterville, G. C. K. 1980. Orchids of Venezuela: Sobralia sessilis, an orchid hunt in an orchid herbarium. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 49:486-488.

Dunsterville, G. C. K. and E. Dunsterville 1975. Some Venezuelan sobralias. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 44(3):193-199.

Dunsterville, G. C. K. and E. Dunsterville 1981. Sobralia ruckeri, a jinx-afflicted beauty queen. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 50(2):176-180.

Green, T. 1999. Sobralias. Orchids 68(9):912-921.

Pabst, G. F. J. 1979. Additamenta ad Orchideologiam Brasiliensem, XXXI. Bradea 3(2):11-12.

Prutsch, J., A. Schardt and R. Schill 2000. Adaptations of an orchid seed to water uptake and -storage. Plant. Syst. Evol. 220:69-75.

Teuscher, H. 1965. Collectors Item: Sobralia mucronata and S. lindleyana. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 34(11):994-997.