Some call this variety concolor, others multiforme and still others albescens, which is, to my perception, the most appropriate. The sepals and petals are suffused of light pink combined with a white lip, something singular among labiate Cattleyas. In a sense, it is an inverted semi-alba. I have never seen something like this in Cattleya labiata, a close relative, I mean, any clone with light colored petals and sepals and white lips. This variety first appeared in the 40’s as a result of a frustrated trip to Espírito Santo, home of many plants of this species, in search for an alba warneri two orchid collectors, one from Rio Grande do Sul and another from São Paulo took at that time. They were following someone’s lead that a warneri alba had been found in that State. Warneri albas were really rare at that time. According to late Heitor Gloeden, one of our most respected orchid collectors, only one was known to be in domestic cultivation in a private collection in Sao Paulo. In the end, the alba they were after was nothing more than a bifoliate hybrid. Frustrated (we need to remember that it was 1946, traveling was not easy at that time!!), they were ready to get back to their home States when someone mentioned that in another town a warneri alba could be found. There they went again, and again no alba found. But, this time while they were on their way, the driver told them that in Santa Teresa, a small town nearby, an old lady cultivated many of these plants and they should stop there for a look. Tired with the double frustration but having nothing more interesting to do they decided to stop and surprised saw in full bloom, among many tipos, this beautiful variety. Of course they bought it and named it Santa Teresa in honor of the town!
This is this variety story many times told by Heitor Gloeden. I had the pleasure to know Heitor and loved to spend my weekends hearing him at his nursery in the 80’s. He started with orchids while still a child, through his father’s hands, and knew countless orchids and habitats in this continental country. And, above all, he knew many, many stories about orchid discoveries and knew like nobody else how to tell them!