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Miltonia spectabilis is the largest flowered of the species of the genus. I am considering here that the Brazilian
miltonias are the species in the genus Miltonia, the Colombian miltonias being in the genus Miltoniopsis. Which means that Miltonia comprises warm to intermediate growers while Miltoniopsis includes the cool growers from the Andes. The genus Miltonia comprises
8 species (Brazilian species, that is, I am not sure to include here a few Colombian ones), give or take if you
consider M. moreliana separated from M. spectabilis
instead of a subspecies or variety. Anyhow, the Brazilian miltonias usually produce flowers that open in succession
on long inflorescences, rarely with all flowers open at the same time. That is, except for Miltonia spectabilis, which produces fewer flowers (usually one open at a time) on much shorter inflorescences.
The flowers of Miltonia spectabilis are also the largest and fullest in the genus, especially
due to the wide lip. The basic variation in color is pictured to the end of the page, but also very few plants
were found in the wild of alba and semi-alba forms, which don't need to be described here.
Miltonia spectabilis is a very common species in the rain forests of the States of Rio de Janeiro and Espírito
Santo, following the Serra do Mar, which runs somewhat parallel to the coast. The species occurs in altitudes between
400 meters (1300 ft.) and 1000 meters (about 3300 ft.). The species probably extends into the State of São
Paulo, but as I never saw it there I am not including this in the distribution map. The distribution for Miltonia spectabilis var. moreliana (M.
moreliana, whatever) will be discussed
in another occasion.
The plants of Miltonia spectabilis
are the smallest in the genus, which doesn't mean they are especially small, and the pseudobulbs grow apart on
a long rhizome. Like most miltonias, they tend to produce two growths on each pseudobulb, so the plants branch
and grow to large specimens very fast. The plants grow and flower best under moderate light, although they are
quite forgiving in this respect. Under cooler growing conditions, the plants can grow well under the same light
intensities of the average Cattleya species, while under warm conditions they can be grown with
spectabilis has been widely used
in hybridizing due to the showy flowers and warmth tolerance of its progeny.
Distribution Map for Miltonia spectabilis.
The species is quite common in the Serra do mar complex and the range probably extends west to the State of São
Paulo, although this is not marked in the map. The map also doesn't show the distribution of the var. moreliana, which can be found as north as the State of Pernambuco.
||Miltonia spectabilis has flowers that can be up to 3" wide and 4" tall, but the ones pictured here
are extremely high quality flowers, mostly regarding shape and color. However, regardless of how high or low quality
the flowers are (by cultivators' and judges' standards), the lips are most of the time very flat and showy.
On 1, we see Miltonia
spectabilis 'Schunk' which is probably
the best regular colored M. spectabilis ever found. Petals are very wide and flat to the point of
making the lip look small in proportion. Typically, flowers of Miltonia spectabilis
have petals that heavily reflex backwards. On 2, we see what is called Miltonia spectabilis
'rosea', which is actually a more intensely (and with a purplish cast) colored form, with the typical white 'halo'
around the column base; the lip veins are also more intense than the base color giving the flowers a more contrast.