** The Genus **

Edited 15 Aug 2007

The Genus Stanhopea:
was established by Sir William Hooker in 1829, through publication of Stanhopea insignis in the Botanical Magazine. The genus is named for the Rt Hon. Philip Henry Stanhope, Earl of Stanhope, President of the Medico-Botanical Society of London 1829-1837. [See additional notes about the Stanhope family at the bottom of this page.] Stanhopeas are found throughout Central and South America and are pollinated by euglossine bees.

According to Rudolf Jenny, a well-recognized taxonomist for this genus and author of a soon-to-be-published monograph, the genus Stanhopea is allied to the following genera: Acineta (erythroxantha; superba); Acropera (Gongora); Archivea; Braemia; Cirrhaea (images); Coryanthes ( website); Embreea; Endresiella (Trevoria); Gongora (images); Horichia (image); Houlletia (H. brocklehurstiana); Kegeliella; Lacaena; Lueddemannia; Lycomormium; Paphinia; Peristeria (P. pendula); Polycycnis; Schlimia; Sievekingia (S. rhonhofiae); Soterosanthus; Stanhopeastrum (Stanhopea); Trevoria; Vasqueziella.

There are 27 Stanhopea hybrids registered with the Royal Horticultural Society, plus another five mentioned in literature. The earliest Stanhopea hybrid, Stanhopea Spindleriana (oculata x tigrina), was registered in 1890 by Spindler. There are seven intergeneric crosses registered, plus one mentioned in the literature. The genus Stanhopea has been shown to be cross-fertile with Acineta, Cirrhaea, Coryanthes (= Coryhopea), Embreea, Gongora, Paphinia and Polycycnis.

Within the following lists, click on the individual species or hybrid name for further descriptions, photos, and AOS awards. Note that only those listings in blue are currently loaded, and that the symbol denotes that images are provided.

The Species

The Hybrids

Notes about the Stanhope Family:
The Earldom of Stanhope was created in 1718, and James Stanhope (16731721), English general and statesman, was the 1st Earl. In 1714, he had become Secretary of State to George I (of Great Britain and Ireland; 1660-1727) when he ascended the throne.

Philip Dormer Stanhope (1694-1773) succeeded to Earldom of Chesterfield in 1726, and served as ambassador to the Dutch Republic (1728-32) as well as lord lieutenant of Ireland (1745-64) and finally as secretary of state to George II. He is known for penning "graceful and witty" letters illustrating aristocratic life in England. "One series, Letters to His Son (1774), were addressed to his illegitimate son, Philip Stanhope. A second series, Letters to His Godson (1890), was addressed to another Philip Stanhope, a distant cousin and godson whom Chesterfield adopted as his heir after the death of his son."

Finally, we come to the Rt Hon. Philip Henry Stanhope, Earl of Stanhope, President of the Medico-Botanical Society of London 1829-1837, for whom the genus Stanhopea is named.

Subsequent family members to achieve some measure of fame include George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert (1866-1923), 5th Earl of Carnarvon, a British Egyptologist who discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamen of the 18th Dynasty while digging in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 with Howard Carter. This Stanhope died in April 1923, two months after opening Tut's tomb.

And there is John Roddam Spencer-Stanhope (1829-1908), British Pre-Raphaelite painter.

Stanhope Place-names:
The derivation of the name "Stanhope" is from "stan" (stony) and hope" (hollow), thus "stony hollow," which describes the setting for Stanhope Parish (more info below!).

The largest Parish in County Durham, England, is Stanhope Parish. The parish church of St. Thomas, Stanhope, dates from the Norman Period (1066-1154). Parishoners are celebrating its 800th anniversary in the year 2000.

Also of interest is the Borough of Stanhope, in the highlands of Sussex County, New Jersey, settled in the 1790 and incorporated in 1904.

There is also the rural township and district of Stanhope, Victoria, Australia, settled in 1867 and home to the Bonlac cheese and butter factory.

This webpage was born in September 1997.

Copyright Nina Rach

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