Stelis maxima Lindl. 1845 SECTION Humboldtia

Plant and Flowers

Photos by Egon Krogsgaard

S maxima and S purpurea in same photo

Another Orchid

Photo courtesy of Patricia Harding


Drawing by Carl Luer

Common Name The Large Stelis

Flower Size .4" [1 cm]

Found in Venezuela, Antioquia and Choco departments of Colombia, Tungurahua province of Ecuador and Peru in dwarf forests at elevations around 1700 to 3200 meters as a medium sized, cool to cold growing, caespitose epiphyte with erect, close set ramicauls enveloped by basal sheaths and another inflated one in the upper third and carrying a single, apical, erect, coriaceous, elliptic-oblong to broadly oblong, striated, obtuse to subobtuse, tridenticulate, narrowing abruptly into the petiolate base leaf that blooms on an erect, arising through a small spathe, 6 to 10" [15 to 25 cm] long, distichous, racemose, laxly many flowered inflorescence with cucullate, apiculate to infundibular-navicular, shorter than the ovary floral bracts and carrying non-resupinate, deep purple red flowers.

"It is generally characterized by a robust habit with occasional prolific ramicauls, and with large, elliptical leaves and long-bracted racemes of large flowers that exceed the leaves several-fold. The sepals are between 10 and 15 mm long and multiveined. The semilunate petals are about as long as wide with a round, thick-margined apex. The lip is concave above a rounded apex with a relatively thin margin." Luer 2018


References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ;

* Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 15: 106 Lindley 1845;

Bonplandia Rchb.f 1854;

Fieldiana Biology, Vol 33, 1st Supple. to the Orchids of Peru Schweinfurth 1970;

Venezuelan Orchids Illustrated Vol 6 Dunsterville & Garay 1976 drawing good;

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

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

Orquideas Nativas del Tachira Cesar Fernandez 2003 photo fide;

Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana Vol 7 Steyermark, Berry, Yatskievych and Holst 2003;

Orchidaceae Stelis Swartz A Compendium Duque 2008 drawing hmm;

Harvard Pap. Bot. 23: 157 Luer & Escobar 2018 drawing fide