Cattleya labiata

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Nov 29, 2008
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Bloomington, MN
Great shape!
Help my learning everyone. If I am looking at Istvan’s photo without knowing the species, what clues tell me labiata and not, say, trianae? I realize that time of year of growth, rooting, and flowering help. Also, most labiata should have a double sheath. I don’t think Istvan said anything about the sheath.


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Feb 1, 2017
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Copenhagen, Denmark
Wonderful, Istvan, just wonderful! 🥰 And this actual flower's beauty doesn't diminish, just because you had a mishap with the other one!

Please, tell us its parentage/clonal name - and, not least, whence you got hold of it? :p


Scholar, Addict and Aficionado of Orchidacea
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Feb 1, 2019
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Leslie, you have to tell us what features indicate labiata to you rather than a trianae or warneri or anything else! I won't ever get good at it, but I would like to get a little better. Istvan, please tell us whether the sheath was a double one for this flowering?
Where do I began?

Other than just seeing and growing so many varieties of labiata, as well as doing an AOS training webinar on cattleya species (in the works, almost done for released), here are the basics:

1. Blooms in fall season (warneri in summer, jenmanii end of summer)

2. If double sheathed (jenmanii can have double sheaths too but frangrance is completely different, jenmanii strong honeysuckle that permeates room).

3. There is a 1-3 month rest before flowering (vs warneri that blooms right away and jenmanii waits 3-5 months).

4. Roots after new growth is completed (jenmanii too but warneri roots after blooming).

5. The average flower size is 13-15 cm (jenmanii slightly larger at 14-16 cm while warneri are huge at 16-18 cm).

6. Usually 2-3 flowers like jenmanii but warneri can have upwards of 5-7 flowers.

I only differentiate from warneri (sister species) and jenmanii (similar bulbs vegetatively) because others bloom in other periods with no overlap to confuse ID.

Trianaes blooms in Jan/Feb (mid to late winter) with usually fuller flowers (depending on type) and usually only 2 flowers (labiata can get 3 or more, most often just 2) while schroederae just after (Feb/March) with a very sweet lily fragrance (up to 8 flowers, normally 3-5).

Gaskelliana is an outlier. It looks similar vegetatively to labiata, and blooms anywhere from mid summer to fall. They can mimic labiatas (esp the lavender tipos) and how I tell is by the flower petal angle. Labiata midrib of petals start at 25-30 degrees from horizontal plane and rarely droops at ends (unless NS over 14 cm). Gaskelliana midrib is around 15-20 degrees and usually slightly arching downwards towards outside half. The scent and carriage is also different. Gaskelliana smells sweeter while labiata is clean fresh floral. Labiata stem carry the flower in a row while gaskelliana is crowded.

Don’t know if this helps, but these are the thoughts that go through my head when I look at the plant/flower to ID them.

Of course when they are not in bloom, it’s very hard to tell except for warneri which has very wide leaves that bend at certain angle from bulbs.
Last edited:
Dec 16, 2009
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Thank you, Leslie. Another i can add: labiata does not develop double sheath consequently, this year it has síngle sheath, but last year the same plant had double sheath. Tipically labiata blooms in Fall after a short resting period, warneri has a long resting period and bloos in Spring, as Leslie mentioned. Flowering season can change within a wide range in GH depending on culture, of course, but as Mr. Chadwick wrote, you can never see labiata and warneri flower at the same time in the same GH. Trianaei has very different lip, as you can see on pics from net.