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Laelia dayana is one of the six species of the section Hadrolaelia.
In this section, it is always referred as one of the three species of the "pumila" complex, the other
two being Laelia pumila and L. praestans.
The species of the section Hadrolaelia have a few well-marked features that easily separates them
from all the other species of the genus. First, the flowers are produced protected by the developing leaves, which
means that there is no flower sheath. In this respect, they are very similar to the large-flowered species of Sophronitis. Second, the flowers are quite large comparing to the size of the plants, again as in Sophronitis (S. coccinea group). And third, they produce not that many flowers on
the short spikes, and in the Laelia
pumila group this means rarely two
but in most cases only one flower per stem. Laelia
dayana is considered the least showy
of the three species in the pumila group, mainly because the sepals and petals are usually reflexed back and not
very wide. On the other hand, the lip on Laelia
dayana is the showiest in the group,
almost always very widely open and intensely tinted and veined with dark purple. The flowers are smaller than on
the other two species in the group,, and are usually around 7-9 cm across (slightly larger than 3", give or
Laelia dayana can be found growing at moderate elevations (around 1000 meters, slightly over 3,000 feet).
The habitat is the tropical slope forest covering the Organ Mountains complex in Rio de Janeiro State. The plants
usually grow inside the forest and thus under fairly low light conditions and high humidity. In some cases, though,
the plants grow on more exposed branches usually when the trees are at the side of gorges and usually at the highest
elevation range where it is cooler and moisture is very high.
Distribution Map for Laelia dayana.
The species has a very limited distribution area. It is still quite common in remote areas and also the collecting
pressure is quite low these days.
||Laelia dayana is not a really variable species in terms of color. With the exception of a few coeruleas
and one alba found in the wild as far as I know, most of the variation
is on the intensity of the lavender base color.
On 1 we see the regular color form of Laelia
dayana. This individual has a particularly
dark and intensely marked showy lip.
On 2 we have a very nice coerulea form of Laelia dayana.
Besides the very intense color, the shape is also very good considering that the segments are almost flat. Especially,
flat petals like these are very rare.