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With almost 50 species and natural hybrids found in south America with the exception of 1 species found in central America, Cattleya orchids are widely known to be used in hybridisation, both intrageneric and intergeneric with related genera such as Brassia, Laelia and Sophronitis.

Cattleya species and hyrbids are among the most spectacular orchids but are not as commonly grown now compared with the past. Despite this, their distinctive flowers and the tendency of these plants to grow in large colonies has meant that they have been vigorously over-collected and the status of many is actually endangered.

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