Cattleya guttata is closely related to C.
leopoldii (C. tigrina ?), and this is one of these taxonomic pairs of species that are usually difficult to tell
apart. We are not going into extended discussions here, but as a basic guide, we'd say that Cattleya guttata produces smaller flowers with a narrow and small lip, whereas C. leopoldii
produces larger flowers with a wide, well-developed lip. Cattleya leopoldii
also produces less flowers and the color is almost always brown instead of the varied spectrum we find in C. guttata. Plants of Cattleya
leopoldii also usually are half the
size of the ones of C. guttata.
Cattleya guttata is the most robust species of the genus. Plants can produce pseudobulbs up to 6' tall and
1" across. In some cases, more than 40 flowers (3" across) have been seen in an inflorescence. Flower
color varies quite a bit, and more is said about it at the pictures at the end of the page.
Cattleya guttata has a wide dispersion. Plants can be found from São Paulo to Espírito Santo
States, and almost always at the coast. In rare cases, the species follow rivers a bit more to the interior, especially
in Espírito Santo State. There is some discussion about the real limits of distribution of the species,
as there are comments of the species growing on the coast up to the northeastern region, but these are not confirmed
yet. In São Paulo, the species is common in the swamp forest behind sand dunes on the beaches, and also
on the vegetation covering the sand dunes themselves, although most of these have been completely destroyed for
housing development. In Rio de Janeiro, the species is still very common on the sand dunes, but the fate of these
seem to be the same as in São Paulo, that is, total destruction for development. Cattleya guttata is a warm grower that likes plenty of light, but due to subtropical distribution limits,
it can also withstand cooler weather.
Distribution Map for Cattleya guttata.
From the distribution map, it is easy to see that this is a coastal species. However, there is some incomplete
information about the actual limits of the species to the north and south of the marked range. In any case, the
map is good to show how widespread the species is.
||This is the typical habitat for Cattleya guttata on the coastal sand dunes in Rio de Janeiro State. The plants grow rooted to the lower
parts of shrubs and usually have the top of the pseudobulbs and the leaves exposed to full sunlight. In places
where the plants are growing totally protected by shrubs, the plants usually are not very strong and don't produce
as many flowers. On 1, we see a plant growing almost totally exposed to direct
light. These areas are also very windy and the wind is quite salty as we are very close to the sea. Thus, the wind
helps lowering the temperature on the leaves but also produces a lot of dehydration and the salt makes matters
worse. The result is that plants produce very strong growths and leathery leaves.
On 2, we see one of the brown color forms of Cattleya guttata.
Color varies from green to yellow to brown, almost always with strong brown spotting on the segments; the lips
are always lavender with white to lavender sidelobes.