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Laelia bradei is another of the very small species of rupiculous laelias, and also produces short inflorescences
as typical for these small plants. Laelia
bradei is part of a complex of rupiculous
Laelia species with yellow flowers which inhabit the section of the Chapada Diamantina around
the City of Diamantina, halfway from south to north on the State of Minas Gerais. We consider that the majority
of rupiculous Laelia species are concentrated in two main distribution ranges, the first and southernmost one around
Belo Horizonte, and the second and northernmost around Diamantina. Around Belo Horizonte, most of the species have
pink-magenta-purple flowers, and at Diamantina the majority have yellow flowers. On this northern range, besides
Laelia bradei there are L. itambana.
L. esalqueana, L.
briegeri and L. verboonenii, all with yellow flowers (the other species occurring in the region being L. rupestris and L. duveenii, both with magenta-purple flowers, and L. angereri, with orange flowers). Laelia
bradei is definitely most closely
related L. esalqueana, the main differences between these two species being in
flowering season, details on lip structure and of course, distribution range which is more to the south for L. esalqueana. Their distribution ranges do not mix either. Flowering season for Laelia bradei goes from December to February (mid-Summer), and the plants produce short inflorescences
with up to 6 (but usually 2-4) 1" flowers. Flower color varies from light cream-yellow to golden yellow, and
lip color varies from light yellow to orange-yellow, producing a nice color combination and contrast between the
Distribution Map for Laelia bradei.
The species has a somewhat restrict distribution, especially in comparison to other local rupiculous laelias. Plants
are, however, extremely abundant throughout its range. Habitat elevation is mostly between 1200 and 1300 meters
(some 4000 ft.) above sea level, and plants inhabit flat rock ledges.
||On 1, we see the
typical habitat situation for plants of Laelia
bradei. Plants are very commonly found
on sand and gravel crystalline deposits that accumulate in depressions of the ledges, which then act as small "pools"
during the rainy season. These dry out during the several months of seasonal drought, but there is always a bit
of moisture available to the root systems and so the plants survive these long periods with no rain
On 2, we see a typical inflorescence of Laelia bradei.
These flowers shown here are actually of very high quality for the species, flat and with wide segments. The cream-yellow
color of the segments and a slightly darker lip is also quite typical for the species.