Orchid (Cattleya forbesii)

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Orchid - Cattleya forbesii
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Orchid fact file

Orchid description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassLiliopsida
OrderOrchidale
FamilyOrchidaceae
GenusCattleya (1)

With its pale coloured flowers, Cattleya forbesii is considered to be one of the least showy species in the classically flamboyant orchid genus, Cattleya (2) (3). The colour of the sepals and the petals vary from light yellow-green to pinkish-tan, while the outside of the comparatively short, frilly-edged lip, is usually white (2). Internally the lip is pale yellow, with a central yellow stripe and pinkish veins (2) (4). The thin stems have two leathery, oblong leaves (4).

Size
Height: 30 - 39 cm (2)
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Orchid biology

Typically Cattleya forbesii grows as an epiphyte on trees and shrubs, but close to the sea, it also grows on rocks (2) (3). Flowering occurs over spring and summer, with a peak between April and July. The colourful veining on the inside of the lip attracts the insect pollinators, which, in accessing the nectar, transfer the pollen from the stamens of one flower to the stigma of another (2).

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Orchid range

Cattleya forbesii is very common along the coast of southern Brazil, from the state of Rio de Janeiro to the state of Santa Catarina (2) (3).

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Orchid habitat

Found in coastal swamps and forests (3).

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Orchid status

Listed on Appendix II of CITES (1).

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Orchid threats

Although domestic trade in Brazil has contributed significantly to the scarcity of several coastal forest orchid species (1), Cattleya forbesii remains extremely common in parts of its range (3). Furthermore, as Cattleya forbesii grows easily in cultivation (2) (3), wild plants are unlikely to be heavily exploited.

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Orchid conservation

Cattleya forbesii is listed under Appendix II of CITES which makes it an offence to trade this species without a permit (1).

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Find out more

For further information on the conservation of orchids see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
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Glossary

Epiphyte
A plant that uses another plant, typically a tree, for its physical support, but which does not draw nourishment from it.
Lip
The enlarged third petal of an orchid flower that often acts as a landing platform for pollinators.
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References

  1. CITES (December, 2008)
    http://www.cites.org
  2. Wither, C.L. (1988) The Cattleyas and their relatives. Timber Press, Oregon.
  3. Miranda Orchids (January, 2009)
    http://mirandaorchids.com/species33forbesiiVGA.htm
  4. Cullen, J. (1988) The Orchid Book: A Guide to the Identification of Cultivated Orchid Species. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
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Image credit

Orchid - Cattleya forbesii  
Orchid - Cattleya forbesii

© Eric Hunt

Eric Hunt
eric@erichunt.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericinsf/

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