Many of the older species were named by Lindley, Ruiz & Pavon and Reichenbach, while many of the recent species were named by Dr. C. Luer. An orchid of the genus Stelis was probably the first American orchid ever to be brought to Europe. An herbarium specimen was depicted in 1591 in Tabernaemontanus' herbal book. These mainly epiphytic (rarely lithophytic plants are distributed throughout damp mountain forests in tropical North and Central America.
TaxonomyCladistic research (by A. Pridgeon, R. Solano and M. Chase) has shown that the genus Stelis is monophyletic. But the distinction with several Pleurothallis subgenera is blurred (see Reference).
They are closely related to the massive genus Pleurothallis and Masdevallia. Although vegetatively the species show much variety, the flowers show a basic uniformity and are very similar throughout. Apatostelis Garay, Dialissa Lindl., Humboldtia Ruiz & Pav. and Steliopsis Brieger are generally included into Stelis.
SpeciesHere are some species and their common names:
- Stelis alata Lindl. : Winged Stelis.
- Stelis argentata Lindl. : Silvery Stelis
- Stelis aviceps Lindl. : Bird Head Stelis
- Stelis barbata Rolfe 1913 : Bearded Stelis.
- Stelis bidentata Schltr. 1912 : Two-toothed Stelis.
- Stelis bracteata
- Stelis ciliaris Lindl. 1836: Hairy Stelis
- Stelis ciliolata
- Stelis crescentiicola Schltr. 1920: Crescentia Living Stelis.
- Stelis flexuosa : Flexuous Stelis.
- Stelis gemma : Gem Stelis
- Stelis glomerosa : Ball Stelis.
- Stelis gratiosa
- Stelis greenwoodii Soto Arenas & Solano 2002
- Stelis guatemalensis : Guatemalan Stelis.
- Stelis intermedia : In-between Stelis.
- Stelis leinigii : Leinig's Stelis.
- Stelis megantha : Giant Anther Stelis.
- Stelis palmeiraensis : Palmeira Stelis.
- Stelis perpusilliflora : West Indian Leach Orchid
- Stelis porschiana : Porsch's Stelis.
- Stelis purpurea : Purple Stelis
- Stelis pygmaea : Pygmy Leach Orchid
- Stelis restrepioides
- Stelis quadrifida
- Stelis sp
- Stelis triangulisepala : Triangular Sepal Stelis.
- Stelis vinosa : Wine-like Stelis.
- Stelis wettsteiniana : Wettstein's Stelis