Common Name: Digby's Beaked Laelia
Habitat: Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras. Rhyncholaelia digbyana is found growing in sunny locations on the Yucatan peninsula. They grow in tangles of brush and are exposed to a lot of sun and air circulation. One author reports that they can be seen growing on the side of the road on the way to Chichen Itza. It has been reported that they are found growing on bushes and among thorny acacia plants in dry areas of Central America.
Plant Size: Medium. Rhyncholaelia digbyana resembles a medium-sized unifoliate Cattleya. The pseudobulbs are stiff and dark green and the foliage is dark green with silver flushes. Sometimes the undersides of the leaves and pseudobulbs are flushed with maroon.
Flower Size: 7 inches (17 cm)
Flower Description: The large flowers are apple green to a greenish cream in color. The lip is impressively frilly and quite distinctive. Rhyncholaelia digbyana var. fimbripetala has frilly petals in addition to the lip. Sometimes there is a picote edge on the lip and a magenta flush on the back side of petals. The plants are quite fragrant at night. Turning on the light will cause the plant to temporarily stop perfume production until darkness commences again. The plant usually produces a single flower from a large sheath. Sometimes two flowers are produced, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
Bloom Season: May to August
Growing Temperature: Intermediate, Warm
Additional Information: Rhyncholaelia digbyana needs bright light, intermediate growing temperatures and good air circulation. Although it may be grown successfuly in well drained pots, the plants grow best when mounted on cork or grown in slatted wood or plastic baskets. Rhyncholaelia digbyana is slow to recover from repotting or other tramatic disturbances and may take a year or more to begin new growth. Let the plant dry out between watering to prevent rotting.
Rhyncholaleia digbyana is frequently used to create complex Cattleya hybrids where it is used to bring its fantastic frilly lip to the genetic mix. Sometimes it is used to add a picote edge to the lip in hybrids with other genera. The color of the other parent is dominant in hybrids. The first successful hybrid with this species was flowered in 1889 between Rhyncholaelia digbyana and Cattleya mossiae and was called BC. digbyano-mossiae.
Synonyms: Bletia digbiyana; Brassavola digbyana; Brassavola digbyana var. fimbripetala; Cattleya digbyana; Laelia digbyana; Laelia digbyana var. fimbripetala; Rhyncholaelia digbyanan f. fimbripetala