Stelis major Rchb.f. 1854 SECTION Stelis

Photo by Ecuagenera and their Ecuador Orchid Website


Drawing by Carl Luer


Drawing by Oscar Duque

Common Name The Large Stelis

Flower Size .3" [7.5 mm]

Found in Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador in montane forests at elevations of 1200 to 2600 meters as a miniature to small sized, cool to cold growing, caespitose epiphyte with erect ramicauls enveloped by 2 to 3 tubular, lightly expanded apically sheaths and carrying a single, apical, erect, coriaceous, narrwoly elliptic, gradually narrowing into the conduplicate, petiolate base leaf that blooms on an erect to suberect, 4.5" [11.25 cm] long, many flowered, racemose inflorescence with infundibular, acuminate just shorter than the ovary floral bracts and carrying deep green brown flowers.

" Compared to S grandiflora but differs in the larger flowrs and a different lip and petals." O Duque 2008

"Stelis major is characterized by a single, many-flowered raceme that exceeds an obovate, obtuse leaf; relatively large flowers with glabrous, three-veined, subcircular sepals; thin, three-veined petals; and a concave lip with a central, pubescent, sulcate callus. In the original description the apex of the callus is described as being three- or four-carinate, but the callus of the lip from a rehydrated flower from the holotype is clearly bicarinate. The apex of the lip is thin, subtruncate with the tip recurved, creating a bilobed appearance." Luer 2018

CAUTION The photo is most likely not correct. Neither Duque or Luer mention pubescence on the margins of the flower. The drawings are more likely correct.


References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ;

Bonplandia (Hannover) 2: 23 Rchb.f 1854;

Venezuelan Orchids Illustrated Vol 4 Dunsterville & Garay 1966 drawing fide;

Flora de Venezuela Volumen 15 Parte 2 Foldats 1970 drawing fide;

Orchids of Venezuela, An Illustrated Field Guide Vol 3 Dunsterville & Garay 1979 drawing fide;

Orchids of Venezuela [An illustrated field guide] Vol. 3 Ramiro and Carnevali 2000 drawing fide;

Native Ecuadorian Orchids Vol 5 Dodson 2004 photo fide;

Orchidaceae Stelis Swartz A Compendium Duque 2008 drawing good;

Harvard Pap. Bot. 23: 34 Luer & Escobar 2018 Drawing fide