Epiphyte, to 1.5 m tall; stems reedlike, terete, simple or branching, lepidote or furfuraceous. Leaves spaced along stem, elliptic to broadly elliptic-lanceolate, acuminate, obtuse at base, 5-22 cm long, 2-7.5 cm wide, plicate; leaf sheaths pubescent, closely clasping stem. Flowers solitary at apex of stems, lavender to red-violet or whitish; sepals +/- equal, ligulate to lanceolate, 4.5-6 cm long, 12-16 mm wide, the laterals +/- oblique; petals slightly shorter than sepals, broader, to 2 cm wide, obtuse or acute; both sepals and petals weakly recurved near apex; lip colored as petals but much darker, 4-6 cm long, 3-4 cm wide, forming a tube around the column, flaring abruptly at apex, undulate on the margin, with 2 small calluses at base; column to 3 cm long. Fruits elongate, ca 12 cm long and 2 cm wide, the ribs stout and widely spaced. Croat 4314. The species can easily be distinguished by its scurfy stems. It is similar in other aspects to S. rolfeana, which has yellow flowers and lacks the scurfy stems. S. panamensis appears to be most similar to S. decora Batem., a species ranging from Mexico to Panama, and is perhaps not separable from it. Known only from Panama, in tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Coclé, and Panama.