Cattleya dowiana Bateman & Rchb.f.

Dow's Cattleya, Queen Cattleya

Family: Orchidaceae

Genus: Cattleya

Category: Houseplant


Yellow flowers but the color is recessive and was lost in most hybrids until crossed with Cattleya rex. Yellow sepals and petals and dark crimson-purple lip veined with gold.

When crossed, intensifies the color of lavender Cattleyas.

Rules for growing: roots must dry quickly so plant in very small clay pots or hanging baskets. Keep dry when not actively growing. Likes sun and moving air. Flowers in mid to late summer and then dormant until spring. Frequent water when actively growing. Light fertilizer only.

Subordinate taxa: 


Published in Gard. Chron. 922 in 1866.

Native to Costa Rica.

Also published in Bot. Mag. 93: 5618 in 1867. This superb Cattleya was originally discovered by Warszewicz in Costa Rica, and by him plants were forwarded to this country ; but arriving in bad condition they eventually died. The dried specimens moreover that accompanied the living plants seem to have been mislaid or destroyed, so that during the last ten years doubts had come to be entertained as to the existence of a really distinct species of such unexampled beauty as that which the letters of the veteran traveller described… Fortunately for the lovers of fine Orchids the plant, such as Warszewicz originally described it, was rediscovered in 1864 by M. Arce, a zealous naturalist who was and is still busily engaged in collecting birds, insects, and plants, for Mr. Salvin and Mr. Skinner, throughout some of the richest portions of Costa Rica. The plants which Arce sent home were purchased by Messrs. Veitch and Son, in whose establishment at Chelsea one of them flowered for the first time in the autumn of 1865. To their liberality I am myself indebted for a specimen that subsequently flowered at Knypersley and which was (in the autumn of 1866) exhibited at one of the Tuesday meetings of the Royal Horticultural Society at South Kensington. From this Mr. Fitch's drawing was made. Beautiful as the latter is, it probably gives but a poor idea of what the plant will ultimately become, for the native specimens in Messrs. Veitch's possession have some of them borne as many as five or six flowers on a scape.


Hybridizing Characteristics: 

Used to intensify lavender. Lip pattern, fragrance and summer flowering are dominant. Flowers not long lasting, have good shape and size. (Hereditary Influences of the Cattleya Alliance -

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner