Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stanhopea costaricensis

Stanhopea costaricensis inflorescence

Stanhopea costaricensis is native to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama from elevations 1,640 to 3,280 feet (500 to 1000 m).  It is native to tropical and warm forests, and grows best in intermediate to warm conditions. This species does not tolerate low humidity and high light situations and the leaves can burn easily in direct sun.  The inflorescence is up to 8 inches (20.3 cm) long and often 3-5 flowered, making this a good choice for large basket culture.  The flowers are 5.5 inches (14 cm) wide and resemble those of S. oculata.  However, the hypochile has a restricted center portion that makes it form two broad segments that are almost unique in Stanhopea (S. gibbosa has a similar shaped hypochile).

Stanhopea costaricensis flowers

This is a seedling that I purchased from Tropical Orchid Farm of Hawaii and it has a light yellow to cream color in the sepals and petals with several torus shaped (like the letter O) spots that are reddish brown.  The petals have two solid distinct eyes in the same color.  The hypochile is light pink to flesh colored and has dark red eyes and is stippled with red to dark pink small spots.  The mesochile is cream colored and the horns are the same color with the interior portion exhibiting several pink spots.  The epichile is also cream colored with dark pink spots.  This form is an example of variation seen in the species with some forms having less pink and more yellow in the hypochile.  Seedlings can pay off sometimes providing some of the most favorable color variations and spot characters.

Stanhopea costaricensis flower close-up
The fragrance of this orchid is camphor scented when it first opens and later it is a combination of camphor and cinnamon.  This species has become one of my new best favorites and a nice fall bloomer that extends the blooming season for my Stanhopea collection!


  1. what a beautiful flower, the perfume must be extraordinary

    Great !!

  2. Yes the fragrance is exotic, but it is light and fresh. It is not as heavy as some of the other species such as S. oculata and S. tigrina. However, you can still smell the flowers a few feet away from the plant!