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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Stanhopea connata

Stanhopea connata ABG# 1993-2450
Not every Stanhopea smells like a pastry shop. Poor Stanhopea connata. It's the one Stanhopea that can clear a room.
Dorsal view of Stanhopea connata ABG# 1993-2450
While most stanhopeas have fragrances delectable enough to eat, Stanhopea connata exudes cresole and indole. Cresole is the fragrance compound associated with coal tar (think freshly poured asphalt). And indole has a fragrance described in botanical literature as fecal. I was not, to be honest, in a hurry to have a closed door photo session with Stanhopea connata.
Front view of Stanhopea connata
And that's too bad! Look at that face, with the bold tiger stripes and spots. I was completely charmed. Charmed and overwhelmed, actually.
Dorsal view of the lip and column with sepals and lateral petals removed 
Of course, it doesn't matter one bit what I think of the fragrance. The fragrance is all about attracting a pollinator. And it's kind of cool to think that there are fragrance-collecting bee species in the tropics who are mad for asphalt and cow dung.
Dorsal view of the lip without the column
My photo shoot with S. connata lasted about an hour. Over time, the cresole seemed to diminish and the indole began to assert itself. But by the end I hardly noticed. What a handsome plant this is. The images will be stored in ABG's image library.
Ventral view of the lip
Stanhopea connata grows as an epiphyte along the eastern cordillera in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. It is pollinated by Eulaema speciosa.
Ventral view of the column


  1. That is a striking flower. It does remind me of the face of a wasp really, or some such creature. Thanks for sharing such vibrant images. The white background works well for this flower! Do you have any posts on photographing Orchids? Seems you've done quite well to capture their essence and beauty; an accurate image of their color is not always the best to capture

    Take care,

  2. It is very like a creature! A ferocious one. I started photographing flowers on a white background because I wanted a fresh aesthetic, something besides the typical black. I'm glad you like it. Thanks for your comment!


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