Lacaena photo needed Type species: Lacaena bicolor

The Genus Lacaena

Lindley 1843

Edited 22 May 2007
© Nina Rach




The genus Lacaena was established by John Lindley, who published Lacaena bicolor in the Botanical Register in 1843. One species in the genus (L. spectabilis) was originally published in 1853 under the genus name Nauenia (then republished as Lacaena in 1854), and another species, (L. grandis), was moved to Bifrenaria in 1958.

Lacaena are large-growing epiphytic orchids with only a few species (bicolor, nicaraguensis, spectabilis, superbiens?) known from Mexico and Central America. Gerlach (1999) places it within the "Acineta-Verwandtschaftsgruppe," allied with Acineta, Lueddemannia, and Vasqueziella within the larger Stanhopinae Alliance.

According to Factopia, the name derives from a Greek adjective, meaning native of the ancient region of Lacedaemon (aka Laconia, Lakonías); one of the names of Helen of Troy (Lakaina), which was applied to this genus on account of its beauty).

The plants have ovoid, ridged pseudobulbs, each bearing 2-4 large, pleated leaves. The inflorescences begin from the base of the pseudobulbs and are always pendant, with fleshy, showy flowers hanging downward ("nodding") on a simple raceme. The dorsal sepal is free and the lateral sepals form a short mentum with the column foot. The petals are similar to the dorsal sepal but smaller. The lip is deeply 3-lobed, the lateral lobes are upcurved and the mid-lobe is spreading. The anther is imperfectly two-celled and there are two waxy pollinia, cleft, with viscidium and a prominent stipe. Dressler (1993a) has a line-drawing of the Lacaena pollinarium.

There is also a genus of butterflies that uses the same name, including Lacaena phlaeas, the "Small Copper."

Lacaena -
The species:

Lacaena bicolor Lindley, Bot. Reg. (Botanical Register) Misc. 68. 1843.
[Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama]
Rand (1876) describes this species: "A plant with the general aspect of a Gongora, but with long, pendulous racemes of large, greenish white flowers, with white lip, with rich purple markings. Should be grown in a basket, with peat and moss."

- flowers are pale green with dark purple on the lip, and the stalk of the lip midlobe is about as wide as it is long. Sepals are 2-3 cm long, and the plants grow epiphytically to 70 cm in height (Dressler 1993b). Guatemala: on oaks, palms and pines in humid cloud forest, 1150 to 1950 m. (Ames & Correll 1985; Dix & Dix 2000).

Lacaena bicolor var. alba Rolfe, Orchid Review 18: 208. 1910.

Lacaena bicolor var. glabrata Charles Lemaire, Ill. Hort. (L'Illustration Horticole) 1: tab. 33. 1854.

Lacaena grandis Kraenzlin, Fedde, Repert. (Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg.) xxv. 25. 1928.
[Bolivia] - syn.: Bifrenaria grandis (Kraenzl.) Garay 1958

Lacaena nicaraguensis L.O. Williams, Fieldiana, Botany, 31: 41 1964.
Index Kewensis cites Nicaragua, Central America, Southern America.

Lacaena spectabilis (Klotzsch) Reichenbach f., Bonplandia (Hanover), 2: 92 (1854).
[El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama]
- flowers are cream, spotted with red, thee lip densely spotted, and the stalk of the lip midlobe is long and slender. Sepals are 2.3-3 cm long, and the plants grow to 40 cm.
Originally published as Nauenia spectabilis in 1853, by Johann Friedrich Klotzsch.

Lacaena superbiens _____ [Costa Rica]

Printed References:
Dix book cover

Oakes Ames & D.S. Correll (1985 reprint) Orchids of Guatemala and Belize. New York: Dover Publications Inc., 779 pp.
[Lacaena bicolor, pp. 522-524, Fig. 147: line-drawing.]

Margaret A. Dix and Michael W. Dix (2000) Orchids of Guatemala: A Revised Annotated Checklist. 61 p.
[p.25: Lacaena bicolor]

Robert L. Dressler (1993a) Phylogeny and Classification of the Orchid Family. Portland: Dioscorides Press, 314 pp.
[p. 175: illustration of Lacaena pollinaria]

Robert L. Dressler (1993b) Field Guide to the Orchids of Costa Rica and Panama. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 304 pp., 240 illustrations.
[p. 149: Lacaena bicolor; L. spectabilis]

Leslie Andrew Garay (1958) "Bifrenaria grandis (Kraenzl.) Garay," in: Bot. Mus. Leafl. 18: 208.
[was first published as Lacaena grandis]

Guenther Gerlach (2001) "Die Subtribus Stanhopeinae - 3. Horichia bis Lacaena," in: Journal für den Orchideenfreund 8(2): 105-118.

Guenther Gerlach (1999) "80. Subtribus: Stanhopeinae und 81. Subtribus: Coeliopsidinae (Teil 1)," in: Schlechter, Die Orchideen, Band I, Teil C, Lieferung 37/38, 128 p. 142 B&W illustrations, in German.
[866. Lacaena, pp. 2429-2431].

Fritz Hamer (22 December 1988) "Orchids of Central America, An Illustrated Field Guide (A-L)," in: Selbyana 10: 1-422.
[Line-drawings -- p. 358: L. bicolor and p. 359: L. spectabilis]

Rudolf Jenny (2004) "The genus Lacaena Lindley," in: Australian Orchid Review 69(3): 14-21, 23.

Johann Friedrich Klotzsch (1853) "Nauenia spectabilis," in: Otto & Dietr. Allg. Gartenz. 21: 193.
[republished as Lacaena spectabilis by Rchb.f. in 1854]

Friedrich (Fritz) Wilhelm Ludwig Kraenzlin (1928) "Lacaena grandis," in: Fedde, Repert. (Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg.) 25: 25.

C.H. Lankester (June 1918 and June 1968 reprint) "Letter: Orchids of Costa Rica," in: Orchid Review.
[reference to Lacaena spectabilis].

Charles Lemaire (1854) "Lacaena bicolor var. glabrata," in: Ill. Hort. (L'Illustration Horticole) 1: tab. 33.

John Lindley (1843) "Lacaena bicolor," in: Edwards' Botanical Register 29: Misc. 68.

John Lindley (1844) "Lacaena bicolor," in: Edwards' Botanical Register 30: t. 50.

Edward Sprague Rand (1876) Orchid Culture. New York: The Rural Publishing. [Orchids. A Description of the Species and Varieties Grown at Glen Ridge... A Complete Manual of Orchid Culture].
Link to this book at the Digital Orchid Library, Lacaena on p. 295: Lacaena bicolor.

Gustav Reichenbach (1954) "Lacaena spectabilis," in: Bonplandia 2: 92.
[Index Kewensis cites only Costa Rica as a source]

Robert Allen Rolfe (1910) "Lacaena bicolor alba," in: Orchid Review 18: 208. [Listed in IPNI as "Lacaena bicolor f. alba"].

Louis O. Williams (1964 IK or 1965 GCI) "Lacaena nicaraguensis," in: Fieldiana, Botany, 31: 41.
[Index Kewensis cites Nicaragua, Central America, Southern America]

Online References:

International Plant Names Index [IPNI],

Digital Orchid Library, Lacaena on p. 295: Lacaena bicolor.

Factopia: Lacaena

Flora of Panama [MOBOT] - Lacaena spectabilis, Chiriqui Province

La Asociación Salvadoreña de Orquideología, (downloaded Nov. 2005) "Especies de El Salvador,"
8 page list of all the species, followed by 11 pages on certain individual species. List contains: Lacaena bicolor, Laecana spectabilis.

Type specimen at NYBG: Lacaena grandis Kränzlin. Collected in flower by O. Buchtien (501), near La Paz, Bolivia, Feb. 14, 1927.
See Photo of herbarium sheet.

Wolfgang Renner's "Orchid Collection", with a photo of Lacaena bicolor.

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