Tetramicra elegans [Hamilton] Cogn. 1910

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Photos by Jay Pfahl


Common Name Elegant Tetramicra

Flower Size 1" [2.5 cm]

Found in the Puerto Rico, the Leewards, the Windwards and Trinidad as a miniature to small sized, hot growing lithophyte and rarely as an epiphyte on rocks in full sun and fairly xerophytic conditions with an elongate rhizome with well spaced tufts of 3 to 4, very terete, slender, acute leaves from which arises an erect, 2' [60 cm] long, thin, terminating in a laxly few to several successively flowered, racemose inflorescence occuring in the late spring and early summer.

CAUTION Many references including Kew place this species as synonomous with T canaliculata. The flowers of T elegans differ from T canaliculata by having the central yellow line on the lip which T canaliculata does not have, the plants also differ with T elegans in not being so vigorous and does not have as long a rhizome between growths. I grow mine in very bright sun [3 to 5 hours of direct sun in summer], and have high on the bench where it gets less water, I fertilize weekly year round. The inflorescence begin to arise in late Febuary to March and flowering begins in Key West in May and continues through late summer.

Synonyms Bletia subaequalis [Eggers] Rchb.f 1886; Brassavola elegans [Hamilton] Hkr. 1831; *Cyrtopodium elegans Hamilton 1825; Epidendrum subaequalis Eggers 1879; Oncidium elegans Beer 1854; Tetramicra subaequalis [Eggers] Rchb.f 1886

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Xenia Orchidaceae vol 2 Rchb.f 1862 as Bletia schomburgkia; Symbolae Antillanae Vol VI Orchidaceae Urban 1909; Native Orchids of Trinidad Schultes 1960 as T canaliculata; AOS Bulletin Vol 37 No 12 1968 as T elegans var albaphoto fide; Flora of the Lesser Antilles Garay & Sweet 1974 as T canaliculata; Die Orchideen 3 Auflage Bd 1 Sonderabdruck aus Schlechter Lieferung 9 513 - 576 Brieger, Maatsch and Senghas 1977; An Orchid Flora of Peurto Rico and the Virgin Islands Ackerman 1995 as T canaliculata drawing fide; Cattleyas and Their Relatives Vol 4 Withner 1996 photo fide; A Compendium of Miniature Orchid Species Vol 2 Parsons & Gerritson 2013 as T canaliculatum photo fide; Orchid Flora of the Greater Antilles Ackerman 2014; AOS Bulletin Vol 85 #3 2016 as Brassavola elegans drawing fide;



  • Tetramicra elegans var alba Photo courtesy of Jeffery Tucker