Native: a small genus of 25 species found in the subtropical or temperate climate of Central America, but mostly in Mexico
Type: most are epiphytes, but a few are lithophytes
Size: the inflorescence is a raceme, which can be 30 cm long, with up to eight flowers
Flowering: bloom in spring or autumn
Colors: can be pink to purple, with a beautifully colored purple lip becoming white close to the column
Flowering stem: inflorescence is a raceme growing from the top of the pseudobulb; stems are usually short, however the stem of Laelia anceps can be more than 1 m long
Growth pattern: sympodial
Pseudobulb: the ovate pseudobulbs are clearly separate; these are about 6 – 30 cm long
Roots: aerial roots
Known for: one of the orchid genera known to use crassulacean acid metabolism photosynthesis, which reduces evapotranspiration during daylight because carbon dioxide is collected at night; closely related to Cattleya, but have twice as many pollinia; fairly easy in culture, and some plants are surprisingly drought-tolerant
History: John Lindley did not specify his reasons for naming this orchid as he did. One possibility is that he named it after Laelia, one of the Vestal Virgins.

Laelia has large and showy pink to purple flowers. Petals and sepals can be twisting and frilly. The labellum is three-lobed and striped down center of throat. Differs from Cattleya in that it bears eight pollinia, not four.