Cattleya cernua (Orchidaceae), Syn. Sophronitis cernua, is a miniature orchid native to Brazil with some inland populations reaching west to Paraguay and Boliva.
This orchid grows on trees and sometimes rocks in coastal areas as well as high in the canopy of inland rainforest trees.
Cattleya cernua bears between 2 and 5 well-formed colorful flowers. The typical flower color has been described as vermillion to scarlet-red although some individuals have pastel, faded red flowers. The lip is yellow at the base and has two lilac spots. The flowers are formed in and protected by an opening leaf on a new growth in the Fall.
This marvellous miniature orchid has a flower with a brilliant colour and gem-like sparkle. I grow it bright and cool, next to Dendrobium cuthbertsonii and Angræcum germinyanum.
This orchid was named after the mountain it comes from, Mt. Açu, the second highest peak in the splendid Organ Mountains (Serra dos Órgãos) National Park. This species occurs between 1800-2300m elevation.
The taxonomist who named it may not have understood that that the c-cedilla (ç) in açuensis isn’t permitted by the nomenclatural rules of Botanical Latin and should have spelled it assuensis to mimic the phonetic sound of its namesake, Açu.