Cattleya warscewiczii Rchb.f.

Warscewicz's Cattleya




Family: Orchidaceae

Genus: Cattleya

Category: Houseplant


Single, thick, leathery leaf. Blooms in early summer on terminal 18" long inflorescence. Large showy flowers to 12" diameter, fragrant.

From Chadwick Orchids: Cattleya warscewiczii is not only the largest-flowered of the Cattleya genus with flowers that can reach 12 inches across from petal tip to petal tip, it also produces the largest flower spikes with as many as 10 of these huge flowers per spike. When well grown, the flower spike stands almost vertical, unlike most of the other Cattleya species, which produce flowers in a horizontal plane.

Cattleya warscewiczii is often described as having two large yellow "eyes" in the lip, but although a few clones do have large eyes, most have relatively small yellow eyes...

Produces very vivid shades of purple flowers.


From Chadwick Orchids: There are two major types of Cattleya warscewiczii. One of these blooms from late June to early July in the United States, and has pseudobulbs a foot or so high. Cattleya warscewiczii 'Firmin Lambeau', 'F.M.B.', and the lavender "Imperialis" forms belong to this group. The other major type blooms from late July to early August. It has taller pseudobulbs and larger flowers with larger, darker lips. The "Sanderiana" forms of C. warscewiczii are in this second group.

There has been considerable confusion in recent years over the term "Sanderiana" when it refers to Cattleya warscewiczii. "Sanderiana" is a type of C. warscewiczii and not a specific clone, but some writers and growers still use 'Sanderiana' as though it were a clonal name. Unfortunately, Sander himself contributed to this present-day confusion by describing "var. Imperialis" and "var. Sanderiana" in the 1927 edition of Sander's Orchid Guide. Sander did not mean "variety" in the sense of "clone" when he wrote this, but it is sometimes misinterpreted to mean that.

To confuse things even more, the Royal Horticultural Society in 1893 gave an Award of Merit to a C. warscewiczii with the clonal name 'Sanderae'. The RHS has never awarded a C. warscewiczii with a clonal name 'Sanderiana', although some authors have described Sanderae as Sanderiana. So when you see a label on a plant that reads "Cattleya warscewiczii Sanderiana," it means a large, late-flowering type of C. warscewiczii, and not that great clone you have always wanted to own.

'Rothschild's' - AM/RHS 1895 - dark purple lip with no eyes at all.

'Saturata' - FCC/RHS 1906 - dark purple lip with no eyes at all.

'Firmin Lambeau' - FCC/RHS 1912 - first true white form, large size and good shape - sold for $5,000 in 1910.

'Lows' - FCC/RHS 1910 - dark color used to create many dark Cattleya hybrids including X Rhyncholaeliocattleya Norman's Bay, Rlc. Memoria Crispin Rosales and Rlc. Oconee.

'Rosslyn' - Am/RHS 1904 - narrow petals and blush color.

'Helena de Ospina' - blue clone


Published in Bonplandia 2: 112 in 1854. in 1866.

Synonym Cattleya gigas Linden - by which name it is still commonly referred to.

Native to Colombia.


Hybridizing Characteristics: 

Used for large flowers. Summer flowering, bright color, ruffled flowers are dominant. Used to increase the flower count because it has the most flowers on a spike among the large flowered Cattleyas. (Hereditary Influences of the Cattleya Alliance -

My Experience: 

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner