Brassavola is a genus of 21 orchids (family Orchidaceae). They were named in 1813 by the Scottish botanist Robert Brown. The name comes from the Italian nobleman and physician Antonio Musa Brassavola. This genus is abbreviated B. in trade journals.

Brassavola nodosa
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Epidendreae
Subtribe: Laeliinae
Genus: Brassavola
R.Br., 1813
Type species
B. cucullata
(L.) R.Br. in W.T.Aiton

These species are widespread across Mexico, Central America, the West Indies and South America.[1] They are epiphytes, and a few are lithophytes. A single, apical and succulent leaf grows on an elongated pseudobulb.

The orchid yields a single white or greenish white flower, or a raceme of a few flowers. The three sepals and two lateral petals are greenish, narrow and long. The base of the broad, sometimes fringed lip partially enfolds the column. This column has a pair of falciform (sickle-shaped) ears on each side of the front and contains twelve (sometimes eight) pollinia.

Most Brassavola orchids are very fragrant, attracting pollinators with their citrusy smell. But they are only fragrant at night, in order to attract the right moth. Longevity of flowers depends on the species and is between five and thirty days.

In 1698 Brassavola nodosa was the first tropical orchid to be brought from the Caribbean island Curaçao to Holland. Thus began the propagation of this orchid and the fascination for orchids in general.

Lady-of-the-night Orchid
Brassavola nodosa

Taxonomy edit

The species of Brassavola have been divided into four sections:[2]

B. sect. Brassavola edit

This monotypic section, erected by H. G. Jones in 1969, contains the type of the genus:

Image Name Distribution Elevation (m)
  B. cucullata [L.] R.Br. 1813 - Hooded brassavola, daddy longlegs orchid Mexico to N. South America 0–1,800 metres (0–5,906 ft)

B. sect. Sessilabia edit

This section, erected by Rolfe in 1902, is characterized by narrow labella with fimbriate margins to wider labella with entire margins.

Image Name Distribution Elevation (m)
B. angustata Lindl. Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela
B. caraiensis Campacci & Rosim 2020 Brazil 870 metres (2,850 ft)
B. ceboletta Rchb.f 1855 Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Paraguay 1,200–1,800 metres (3,900–5,900 ft)
B. fasciculata Pabst 1955 Brazil
B. filifolia Linden 1881 Colombia
  B. flagellaris Barb. Rodr. 1881 Brazil
B. gardneri Cogn. 1902 French Guiana, Brazil
  B. martiana Lindl. 1836 S. Trop. America 50–1,000 metres (160–3,280 ft)
B. pitengoensis Campacci 2016 Brazil 1,100 metres (3,600 ft)
  B. perrinii Lindley 1833 Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay 1,980–2,580 metres (6,500–8,460 ft)
  B. reginae Pabst 1978 Argentina, Brazil, Peru
B. retusa Lindley 1847 Venezuela, N. Brazil to Peru
B. revoluta Barb. Rodr. 1882 Brazil
  B. tuberculata Hooker 1829 Brazil, NE. Argentina and Paraguay

B. sect. Cuneilabia edit

This section, erected by Rolfe in 1902, is characterized by narrowly constricted labellum bases. The sectional type is B. nodosa

Image Name Distribution Elevation (m)
B. harrisii H.G.Jones 1968 Jamaica
  B. nodosa [L.]Lindley 1831 - Lady-of-the-night orchid Mexico to Colombia 0–500 metres (0–1,640 ft)
  B. subulifolia Lindley 1831 Jamaica
B. xerophylla Archila 2013 Guatemala

B. sect. Lateraliflorae edit

This section, erected by H.G.Jones in 1975, is characterized by laterally-borne inflorescences. The sectional type is B. acaulis

Image Name Distribution Elevation (m)
  B. acaulis Lindl. 1851-2 C. America: Belize

Greges and hybrid genera edit

Brassavola is in the same alliance as the genera Cattleya and Laelia. They have been used extensively in hybridization and represent the "B" at the beginning of the names of such crosses. For example, Blc. is × Brassolaeliocattleya.

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families". Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  2. ^ H. G. Jones: "Nomenclatural revision o the genus Brassavola R. Br. of the Orchidaceae" Ann. Naturhistor. Mus. Wien 79(1975)9—22

External links edit