Common Name: Nodding Sophronitis
Habitat: Sophronitis cernua is native to Brazil with some inland populations reaching west to Paraguay and Boliva. It grows on trees and sometimes rocks in coastal areas as well as high in the canopy of inland rainforest trees. Along the coast of the Brazilian states of Espiritu Santo and Sao Paulo it can be found growing at sea level on rocky slopes and in mangrove forests.
Plant Size: Miniture. Sophronitis cernua has densly clustered, club-shaped pseudobulbs that grow up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) tall. The leaves are egg-shaped or spoon-shaped. Plants are compact and attractive.
Flower Size: 1 inch (2.5 cm)
Flower Description: Sophronitis cernua bears between 2 and 5 well-formed colorful flowers. The typical flower color has been described as vermillion to scarlet-red although some individuals have pastel, faded red flowers. The lip is yellow at the base and has two lilac spots. The flowers are formed in and protected by an opening leaf on a new growth in the Fall.
Bloom Season: Fall
Growing Temperature: Intermediate to Warm
Additional Information: Sophronitis cernua is becoming more popular in collections because it is able to tolerate warmer, drier growing conditions than Sophronitis coccinia. There are several color forms and geographic varieties of Sophronitis cernua.
- Sophronitis cernua var. Horaena
- This name is used by Brazilian orchid collectors and botanists to identify plants that are found growing in the lower, warmer coastal regions. Generally, the flower color is faded red. This variety is also refered to as Sophronitis cernua var. cernua.
- Sophronitis cernua var. lowii
- This rare and highly sought-after variety has beautiful clear yellow flowers.
- Sophronitis cernua ssp. mineisa
- This form is an inland race that produces small, intensely red flowers.
- Sophronitis cernua ssp. mineira var. endsfeldzii
- This is an "albino" form that has pale yellow flowers.
Sophronitis cernua needs warm growing conditions unlike other members of the genus. Provide bright light (brighter than typical Cattleya light), lots of air circulation and humidity. Mount on cork plaques and water heavily during warm weather. Reduce watering slightly during cool, cloudy weather.
Synonyms: Cattleya cernua; Cattleya pterocarpa; Epidendrum humile; Sophronia cernua; Sophronia modesta; Sophronia pterocarpa; Sophronitis hoffmannseggii; Sophronitis isopetala; Sophronitis modesta; Sophronitis nutans; Sophronitis pendula; Sophronitis pterocarpa