Sophronitis is a genus of small epiphytic orchids of the subtribe Laeliinae Orchidaceae family, is now grown with species that have been reclassified from the genus Laelia.
Sophronitis species are widely known for its red flowers, especially Sophronitis coccinea. They are widely distributed throughout Brazil, Paraguay and northeastern Argentina
The species of this genus are epiphytes and is in the land of warm tropical climate and the mountains of Brazil, Paraguay and northeastern Argentina.
These species have a wide range of color in their flowers in clusters that may be erect or pendulous. Most are epiphytes, some are lithophytic. Cattleya are very close to the difference that only have the number of pollinia. The stems are usually short.
The pseudobulbs of about 6-30 cm long, ovoid, and are clearly separated. Each pseudobulbs develop one or two leaves waxy, fleshy look of leather about 20 cm in length.
The inflorescence is in bunches and can have a length of 30 cm and take about 8 flowers, which are orange or purple sepals and petals in the same way.
The lip is trilobed with lateral lobes that partially enclose the column. Smaller intermediate lobe has a yellow disk and the spur is attached to the ovary.
Some species are yellow, and almost all species have some orange spots due to natural variation within species. They bloom in spring or autumn. Alba varieties are rare and highly prized.
The members of this genus are easily raised in culture and are resistant to drought. The cultivation of each species requires specific conditions that correspond to their natural habitat. Many of them can be placed on plates, so their roots can get air currents and withstand moisture or drought cycles.
Many South American species that were formerly in the genus Laelia, are now classified in Sophronitis (van den Berg and Chase lindleyana 15 (2), page 115, June 2000). The taxonomic status of some of these species within Laelia was doubtful so they were reclassified based on molecular phylogenetics. It seems that some horticulturists and taxonomists reject these changes and shy away from accepting them as "Sophronitis" so we are designating as Laelia.
Sophronitis species easily hybridize with species within the genus and other genera coming, as Cattleya (x Laeliocattleya, more than 2,000 species), Brassavola, Bletia, Rhyncholaelia, and Laelia. Most hybrid orchids are in this category ie Sophrolaeliocattleya x, x Brassolaeliocattleya and a large number of other variations.