Named after William Cattleya. These orchids are the most sumptuous and exotic of all and are chosen for corsages. In nature there are about 50 species each of Cattleya and of Laelia from Central America, growing through the Amazon region to the south of Brazil. Many cattleya hybrids in the broad sense have other related genera in their parentage as x Brassocattleya, x Brassolaeliocattleya, x Laeliocattleya, x Sophrolaeliocattleya. Hawkinsara is an intergeneric hybrid with parent genera Broughtonia, Cattleya, Laelia and Sophronitis.
Their distinctive flowers and the tendency of these plants to grow in large colonies has meant that they have been vigorously over-collected and the status of many is endangered. The plants produce strong pseudobulbs' topped with one or more leathery leaves. Each year a dormant bud at the base grows into a new shoot. This thickens to produce the current year's pseudobulb. The flowers arise from the tip of the current year's growth and come in a range of colors. Some flower twice a year.
See Orchid page for pictures of different orchids and care info.