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Cattleya loddigesii is a long-time favorite among Brazilian growers, for several reasons. First, it is a species
native from areas where the majority of orchid growers live (State of São Paulo), meaning that it always
was the first or one of the first species new growers were introduced to (and in the past could collect and grow).
Of course, being native it is a very easy species for them to cultivate. Besides, it is one of those species that
have fairly compact plants with relatively large (4" to 5") flowers and it is flat-out easy to grow except
in very hot climates. The main habitats of Cattleya
loddigesii are gallery forests on
margins of medium-sized rivers and the good thing is that, even with deforesting, gallery forests are usually preserved
to maintain healthy rivers with no margin erosion. Altitude varies from about 600 to 1200 meters (about 2000 to
4000 ft.) meaning the species is quite adaptable to different temperature ranges. This, of course, helps to explain
the wide distribution area. The species can also be found on humid forests over rock outcroppings. Cattleya loddigesii is related to C.
harrisoniana, and the differences
can be found here. The map below is a bit updated from the one there as Cattleya loddigesii has been found recently up to near Belo Horizonte.
Distribution Map for Cattleya loddigesii.
The species has a wide distribution in the States of São Paulo (main distribution) and Minas Gerais, going
a little into the States of Paraná and Rio de Janeiro.
||Cattleya loddigesii doesn't vary much in terms of color, flowers being almost always a light pink-magenta.
There are individuals with heavily spotted flowers, but always on a uniform background. In terms of shape, notice
that all flowers have a distinctive bell-like lip. Cattleya
loddigesii is one of the species that
has been subject recently to colchicine treatment for the production of tetraploid forms, and the results have
been stunning. But still, it is very important that diploid forms are preserved, as this is the original gene pool
of the species. This is essential for the future existence in cultivation of the original species.
On 1, we see a good-shaped diploid Cattleya
loddigesii. Flowers are about 4"
across. These flowers are not spotted.
On 2, we have a tetraploid form of the species. Segments are rounder, especially the petals,
and substance is much heavier. Flowers are also larger, about 4.5" across.
On 3, we have an alba form of the species, still a diploid. Not much has been done
so far in converting those to tetraploids.