Houlletia, abbreviated as Hlt in horticultural trade,
Houlletia is a genus of large-growing epiphytic orchids native to Mexico, and also Guatemala through Central America to Bolivia. They are found growing epiphytically and terrestrially on embankments in cool, humid, wet areas, 1,000-2,200 m elevation.
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.
Plants are usually grown in wooden baskets in partial shade. Use a well drain potting media such as medium fir bark with perlite, tree fern fibers, or sphagnum moss. Keep area humid and grow in cool to warm temperatures. Keep mix moist but not dry.
The genus is named in honor of orchid collector and grower M. Houllet, French orchid collector in Brazil, later the director of the Botanic Jardin des Plantes in Paris, 19th century
Gerlach (1999) places the genus Houlletia within the "Acineta-Verwandtschaftsgruppe," allied with Acineta, Lueddemannia and Vasqueziella within the larger Stanhopeinae Alliance.
Whitten, Williams, and Chase distinguish the Houlletia clade among the Stanhopeinae, comprising Horichia, Houlletia, Paphinia, Schlimmia, and Trevoria. They write:
"As presently defined, Houlletia consists of two morphologically distinct groups. The group containing H. brockelhurstiana (the type species), H. tigrina, H. odoratissima (Linden ex Lindl.), and H. juruenensis (Hoehne) have open, resupinate flowers that are heavily spotted in red-brown. The epichile is triangular and the hypochile bears a pair of curved, acute projections; the lip shares many features of the lip of Paphinia. The viscidium is narrow, approximately the same width of the long stipe, and the pollinaria are deposited on the bee's scutellum. In contrast, the group containing H. sanderi, H. wallisii, H. clarae (Schltr.), and H. lowiana (Rchb.f). has globose, nonresupinate flowers that are white to yellow, mostly unspotted, and borne on an erect inflorescence. The epichile is rectangular or ovate (not triangular), and the lateral projections on the hypochile are broad instead of acute. The pollinarium has a broad, concave viscidium."
- Houlletia brocklehurstiana Lindl., 1841.
- Houlletia conspersa P.Ortiz, 1994.
- Houlletia lowiana Rchb.f., 1874.
- Houlletia odoratissima Linden ex Lindl. & Paxton, 1853.
- Houlletia roraimensis Rolfe, 1901.
- Houlletia sanderi Rolfe, 1910.
- Houlletia tigrina Linden ex Lindl., 1853.
- Houlletia unguiculata Schltr., 1920.
- Houlletia wallisii Linden & Rchb.f., 1869.
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- Günter Gerlach 2001. "Die Subtribus Stanhopeinae: 3. Horichia bis Lacaena," in: J. Orchideenfreund 8(2): 105-118 (2001) - col. illus.