BRASSIA

EUBRASSIA SECTION


There are some two dozen species in this grouping. Included are several species which are commonly cultivated, and which have a very confused nomenclatural history. The main species, with descriptions and coloured photographs of flowers and callosities, are presented in the Orchid Digest of September/October 1979, which should be referred to if specific identification is being attempted.

Brassia maculata was first described in 1813, and is commonly called the "Spotted Brassia". It is distinctive enough not to be confused with other members of the genus. Growing, throughout Central America from Mexico to Nicaragua, it is also found in Jamaica. It is of fairly common occurrence over a wide range, allowing it to be frequently found in horticultural collections.

It has pseudobulbs, sometimes one-leaved, to 150 nun long, usually more robust, and often more curving rnedially than the other species, mostly yellow-green in colour. The leaves are also generally broader and larger than in the other species. The inflorescence arises from the typically bare bases of the pseudobulbs, flecked brownish-purple, few to many flowered, usually rather dense, with the flowers tightly arranged in two vertical ranks. Each flower is waxy, fragrant, lasting up to
I 1/2 months, usually 125 to 200 mm in total length, the segments rigid. The petals and sepals are greenish to greenish-yellow, flecked and barred purple or reddish brown. The lip is yellow, mostly spotted purple or purple-brown. It is mainly autumn to spring flowering, although this can take place occasionally twice annually. Distinguishing identification characteristics are its flared lip with bent back tip, and simple callus of two parallel ridges without terminal teeth. .A number of forms are listed, guttata and major, the last a desirable Jamaican variant. Maculata has also been known under the synonyms guttata and wraya, and as Oncidium brassia.

Brassia verrucosa, the "Warty Brassia", is a showy and common species, aptly named for the large green coloured warts on the lip. It includes plants misidentified as verrucosa, but which are in fact the species neglecta. Neglecta has a simple callus of two parallel lamellae with two, rather large erect teeth in the front, distinct from the lamellae. In verrucosa these teeth are not as large, 'and are often absent. Neglecta tends to have broader less attenuated sepals. Both species have warty lips, but .the warts on neglecta are numerous, small, and even have small verricosities (small conical projections) on them.


Brassia verrucosa

Verrucosa has narrow egg shaped pseudobulbs which are often compressed and somewhat furrowed, usually 100 mm tall, 50 mm wide and 12 mm thick. They are usually dull dark green in colour, with several leaf-like sheaths at the base. There are two leaves, leathery, folded at their bases, to 375 mm long, 50 mm wide. The often purple flower spike is produced from the pseudobulb base, to more than 600 mm long, and is usually 5 to 8 flowered. Flowers reach 150 mm in the largest forms, which are waxy, fragrant, long lived, pale green spotted with dark green or reddish, the lip whitish furnished especially on the lower half with prominent black green warts. It is spring/early summer flowering and is native of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela. This is a very variable species, the variability giving rise to a number of synonyms: B. aristata, odentoglossoides, coryandra, lobgoloba, cowanii and brachiata, and has also been described as Oncidium verrucosum and One. brachiatum.

B. brachiata is often listed, particularly by plant sellers, as a separate species, mainly on account of differences in the size of the floral segments, although this specific rank is not generally agreed to by botanists who have reviewed the genus.

Brassia gireoudiana has been cultivated since 1854, following its discovery by the collector Warscewicz in Costa Rica. It was first flowered by the German orchid fancier Herr Nauen, and was named after his gardener Gireoud. Some clones of this species produce the largest flowers of the genus, and, as such, is the most desirable horticultural. This species is easily distinguished by the two large arching masses attached to the callus lamellae, and the stiff (not lax) sepals and petals. This species also flowers on the immature growth usually in the spring and summer. It has numerous (up to 9) fragrant flowers which are long lasting, each to more than 300 mm long. The sepals and petals are greenish-yellow, blotched mostly -near the base with very dark shiny brown. The lip is very large, pale yellow with sparse brown spots and blotches. It is found in both Costa Rica and Panama.

Brassia caudata is another somewhat common species. This species is relatively easy to identify. The lip is rather egg shaped, being abruptly back, separate from the lamellae. The short broad petals exhibit a characteristic "hands up" position. This species has the widest distribution of the genus, coming from Florida (U.S.A.), Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean as well as northern South America. It is highly variable in flower size, colour and form. It typically produces pseudobulbs 150 mm tall, 35 mm wide. There are two to three leaves, rather leathery, folded at the base, to more than 300 mm long, 65 mm wide. The inflorescences are often paired per growth, to 450 mm long, usually gracefully arching, 3 to 12 flowered.


Each flower is 125 to 200 mrn long, fragrant, rather waxy, the often very elegant sepals and petals yellowish-green with more or less numerous brown spots or bars. The lip is yellowish with some dull brown spots towards its base. Usually autumn to early winter flowering, it may flower more than once annually. This species has been called at various times Fpidendrum caudatum, Malaxis caudata, Oncidium caudatum and Brassia longissima var. minor.

The above covers the main species grown. Less common species are:-


Brassia arcuigera which is sometimes known as anthorotes, lawrenceana var. longissima, and anthorotes var. longissima. It is a variable species, particularly as regards the size and colouration of the flowers, and the callus structure. Distinguishing features of the species include the nearly constant occurrence of only one leaf on the pseudobulb, and a lip which tapers smoothly to a sharply pointed tip. The sides of the lip near the middle are often rolled under. The callus is simple, composed of two parallel lamellae usually open in the front. There are two small ridges on either side of the callus. The appearance and size of these ridges is highly variable. This plant has a wide distribution from Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

Brassia bidens, also known as lanceana var. veridiflora and Oncidium bidens, the "Two Spotted, Brassia" comes from northern South America. The common name refers to the two very prominent tooth-like extensions to the fore part of the callus, being large, triangular and slightly curved back. In the somewhat similar wagereri, this has teeth in the front of the callus that are rounded, and often smaller than The lamellae.

B. lanceana, which has also been known as Oncidium sauveolens, Brassia lanceana var. pumila, lanceana var. macrostachya, josstiana, and lanceana var. minor. This species is also somewhat variable in size and in callus structure. The specific identification is based on the callus structure, this incorporating two sloping ridges which are open in front, accompanied by two small tooth-like masses in the front. It is found along the eastern coast of northern South America from Venezuela south to Brazil.

B. lawrenceana is sometimes confused with lanceana, and has been called Oncidium lawrenecanum. Closely related to B. lanceana, it is differentiated by the ridges in the callus being fused in the front instead of open. There is also in this species usually a distinct cavity at the base of the front of the callus. It is native of Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam and Brazil. It has been in cultivation since 1839, and is summer flowering.

B. neglecta has already been briefly discussed under verrucosa. This species comes from Venezuela, Guyana, and Peru.

B. peruviana is a very rare species.

B. signata, synonyms Oncidium signatum and Brassia mexicana, commonly known as the "Well Marked Brassia" is an attractive Mexican species, named for the very distinctive markings on the base of the sepals which are almost stripe-like instead of spotted, which is more characteristic of the genus. It also has an oval lip with a curved back sharply pointsed tip. Its callus has two parallel lamellae, without projections.


Brassia caudata is another somewhat common species. This species is relatively easy to identify. The lip is rather egg shaped, being abruptly back, separate from the lamellae. The short broad petals exhibit a characteristic "hands up" position. This species has the widest distribution of the genus, coming from Florida (U.S.A.), Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean as well as northern South America. It is highly variable in flower size, colour and form. It typically produces pseudobulbs 150 mm tall, 35 mm wide. There are two to three leaves, rather leathery, folded at the base, to more than 300 mm long, 65 mm wide. The inflorescences are often paired per growth, to 450 mm long, usually gracefully arching, 3 to 12 flowered. spotted, which is more characteristic of the genus. It also has an oval lip with a curved back sharply pointed tip. Its callus has two parallel lamellae, without projections

B. wagneri is closely related to B. bidens and can be distinguished from that species on the basis of the front teeth which are rounded and not triangular. The pseudobulbs of wagneri are flattened and slightly ridged while those of bidens are cylindrical, ridged and have a distinctive neck where the leaves join. It is native of Venezuela, Colombia and Peru. This has also been described as Brassia bicolor and Oncidium wagneri.

Other species in this Section of the genus are angusta, anguitilabia, arachnoidea, boliviensis, cauliformis, chloroleuca, cochleata, cyropetala, folomenoi, forgetiana, huevneri, ignapoana, kowhlerorum, macrostachya, pumila, rhizomatosa, thyrsodes, villosa, and warscewiczii.

If you wish
you may

E-mail
me at -

powwebmaster
@ihug.co.nz
 

 


Click above graphic to see list of societies in your area.

 Site established 9th May 1998
Oncidium series first uploaded 20 October 1999