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Laelia caulescens (crispilabia)
Laelia caulescens is one of the most widespread species of the rupiculous laelias (as the species of Laelia section Parviflorae are popularly known), and is better known as L. crispilabia. Without going through taxonomic lingo, let's just say that this name confirmation is a
result of thorough research performed by me as well as other taxonomists. But if one still wants to call the species
as Laelia crispilabia, everybody will know which species is being talked about.
Now, when I say widespread I mean extremely common in the habitat. The species occur as the millions in the wild,
and as you're going to see in the pictures, it is sometimes impossible to walk on those rocky ledges without stepping
Laelia crispilabia occurs near Belo Horizonte, capital city of Minas Gerais State. This is the south westernmost
distribution center of rupiculous laelias and the region where most of the pink to lavender-flowered species can
be found. Just to say a bit more about this, around Diamantina (some 300 Km NE of Belo Horizonte) we can find the
second distribution center of rupiculous laelias, where we can find most of the yellow-flowered species. That doesn't
mean we can't find species (with any colors) out of these areas, it just means that there we find the concentrations
of different species with these colors.
The plants of Laelia caulescens
are average-sized for the group, but they can vary a lot depending on exposure. In areas where the plants grow
under full sunlight, the plants can barely be 7-8 cm tall, while when growing more protected they can exceed 20
cm. Plants growing under more rigorous conditions usually produce shorter inflorescences with less flowers, but
the individual flowers are quite uniform. These are usually 4-5 cm across, and for the color variations see below.
Flower number is usually 3-6 per inflorescence.
Distribution Map for Laelia caulescens.
Even being one of the most common and widespread species of rupiculous laelias, it still shows on the map as a
tiny area. Individual species of the group have in most cases very localized occurrence.
||As said, Laelia caulescens
occur in large quantities on the habitat. With these two first pictures, one can see that the vegetation is usually
quite open and the plants grow under intense sunlight and there is also constant breeze. This is a necessity to
keep the plants cooler. In any case, although the leaves and pseudobulbs are exposed to strong light, the roots
and rhizomes are always protected by lichens or some soil that accumulates inside cracks.
On 1, there is a general view of one of these areas where plants are so plentiful. The main
type of rock where these plants grow on is iron ore, something that can be easily observed on 2.
Also on 2, there are some reddish plants and these are Pleurothallis rupestris
(or P. teres, there is not much of a consensus about the name), and these
are also plentiful. Walking on those areas can be quite dangerous, as the iron ore gravel is usually quite loose.
Finally, also on 2, the plants shown are of the regular color form, with lavender
segments and a sometimes darker-fringed lip.
Despite of not much color variation, on 3 we have one of the several alba forms
found. These are always pristine white. Considering how plentiful the plants are, it is really expected to find
that many albas.
On the other hand, on 4 we can see the only one coerulea form
ever found (reports of a second one have yet to be confirmed). These are not very striking- colored flowers as
the tone is quite light, but seeing these flowers live for sure gives a better idea. Also, the flower shapes are
quite good on 3 and 4 (and good
shape here means flat flowers).