Sophronitis coccinea
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Common Name: Scarlet Sophronitis

Habitat: Sophronitis coccinea is native to mountainous forests in the Serra do Mar mountain range near the coast in Brazil. The plants are found growing between 700 to 1800 meters in elevation. It grows on moss-covered trees and rocks in protected locations. There is constant fog and high humidity in their habitat and the plants are well-adapted to constant moisture.

Plant Size: Miniture. Sophronitis coccinea has compact, tightly clustered pseudobulbs that have a single leaf that grows to 2.5 inches long.

Flower Size: 1.5 to 3 inches (3-7 cm)

Flower Description: The flowers of Sophronitis coccinea have intense orange-red flowers. The flower stem is short and produces a single flower which is long-lived. Flowers do not have a fragrance.

Bloom Season: Spring or Fall

Growing Temperature: Cool to Intermediate. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 80 degrees F in the summer in its native habitat. Winter temperatures hover around 45 degrees F.

Additional Information: Sophronitis coccinea has been widely used in hybridizing to bring the bright flower color and small plant size to Cattleya hybrids.

Environmental Ecotypes:

Sophronitis coccinea ecotype militaris
This ecological variety is characterized by sleder pseudobulbs that grow in regularly spaced rows that resemble soldiers standing in a row. They are found growing in dark forests on low branches of trees. The flower stem is very short and the flowers look like they are sitting just above the foliage.
Sophronitis coccinea ecotype coccinea
Sophronitis coccinea ecotype coccinea is the typical form of the species. The leaves are short and broad and the pseudobulbs are well-developed. They grow in on trees or rocks in average orchid light conditions. The folaie has a prominent purple mid rib that runs down the center of the leaf.
Sophronitis coccinea ecotype insolaris
This variety prefers the highest tree branches on the tallest trees and thus receives the greatest amount of light and air circulation. The leaf margin and midrib are streaked with purple. Leaves are shorter and lighter in color than the two forms discussed above. The pseudobulbs resemble eggs. The flower color is brighter and redder than other forms.

Horticultural Varieties:

Sophronitis coccinea var. carmesa
This variety has carmine-red flowers and has more purple undertones in the flower.
Sophronitis coccinea var. barboleta
This variety has peach-colored flowers that have red stripes on the petals. It is very uncommon and is known only from two plants found in the wild.
Sophronitis coccinea var. discolor
It has bright, brick-red flowers with a yellow lip and has red horizontal stripes on the petals.
Sophronitis coccinea var. gigantea
This is a tetraploid form that grows larger than the typical form. The pseudobulbs grow to 6 inches (15 cm) tall. The flower is larger and grows to 7.5 cm.
Sophronitis coccinea var. labelloid
Each petal has the same markings as the lip and gives the appearance of three lips.
Sophronitis coccinea var. lobii
The flowers of this variety are lemon-yellow with an orange lip. It is very rare and occurs infrequently in wild populations.
Sophronitis coccinea var. pallens
This form has very light brick red colored flowers.
Sophronitis coccinea var. rossiteriana
This variety has flowers that are the color of egg yolks with a pale yellow lip. Sometimes it is refered to as Sophronitis aurantiaca.
Sophronitis coccinea var. striata
This form has red-scarlet flowers that have dark red stripes on the petals.

Provide bright filtered light, high humidity, and air circulation. Water regularly year-round and keep moist. Sophronitis coccinea prefers a mild, water soluable fertilizer all year.

Synonyms: Cattleya coccinea; Cattleya grandiflora; Eunannos coccinea; Hadrolaelia coccinea; Sophronia coccinea; Sophronia militaris; Sophronitis coccinea f. rossiteriana; Sophronitis grandiflora; Sophronitis lowii; Sophronitis militaris; Sophronitis rossiteriana


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