|All images and information included
in this site copyright © Francisco Miranda unless otherwise mentioned. No reproduction in whole or part without
Cattleya walkeriana is one of the most widespread Cattleya species, and if we consider the number of plants in the
habitat it might well be the most common species in the genus. Cattleya walkeriana
is closely related to C. nobilior, another Central Brazilian species. The basic difference
is that Cattleya nobilior produces two leaves on a pseudobulb instead of one (this
is the norm, there are few exceptions), and C.
nobilior always produces the flowers
on a specialized growth from the rhizome that never swells as a pseudobulb as in C. walkeriana.
Cattleya walkeriana inhabits the seasonally dry area behind the mountain ranges after the coast and has its
distribution limited to the west by the extremely dry central area of Brazil (which is the habitat of Cattleya nobilior). With this, we can describe the climate of the distribution
area of the species as having a very long dry period (fall to winter) that lasts from about 3 to 6 month,
depending on particular location. The plants grow equally on deciduous trees (trees that loose their leaves in
the dry period) or directly attached on rocks. Regardless, these growing condition allow the plants to get almost
full sunlight during the cooler and dryer season and be protected during the hot wet season. The plants are usually
found in large numbers and producing large clumps.
The plants of Cattleya walkeriana
are small, especially if we consider that the flowers can be more than 4" across, roughly the height of the
plants. Depending on the local population (and the rigors of their habitat), plants of Cattleya walkeriana
produce two flower patterns. On the first, plants flower from the top of a pseudobulb that also produces a leaf.
On the second one, flowers are produced on a special growth which is not a real pseudobulb, more on the way of
Cattleya nobilior. But in any case, the pseudobulbs are produced on a fairly
long rhizome and are usually quite round and topped with a very fleshy short leaf. Cattleya walkeriana
is a favorite among growers due to the large flowers produced on such small plants, and because of this the species
has also being used quite extensively in hybridizing.
Distribution Map for Cattleya walkeriana.
The species has a huge distribution area, mainly in the State of Minas Gerais. To the west, the distribution area
extends quite a bit into the States of Mato Grosso and Goiás, reaching north up to the Distrito Federal,
near Brasilia. The species is extremely common throughout most of its distribution area, and certainly extends
its distribution even more than shown on the map.
||Cattleya walkeriana growing in the habitat. On 1, we see the typical way we find the species in the wild,
that is, producing large clumps that cover branches of deciduous trees in this seasonally dry forest. With this,
the plants receive plenty of sunlight in the winter and some shade protection in the summer. The species is also
very well adapted do alternate cycles of wet (summer) and dry (winter) in the habitat, and thus have a very well
marked growth and flowering season.
On 2, we picture one of the very dark lavender forms of Cattleya walkeriana.
As with most very widespread species, there is a lot of color variation, the base color being a medium lavender.
Several plants were also found with veined segments and also quite a few alba forms.
On 3, we see a coerulea form of Cattleya walkeriana.
Again, occurring by the millions in the habitat, it is not surprising that several coerulea forms
have been found in nature. These are being artificially propagated for improvements in shape and color.