AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis zaratananae Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 33: 151 (1924).
Description:
Medium-sized terrestrial plant up to 17 cm high, rhizome very short, pseudobulbs retain leaves for two seasons, roots flexuose, more or less pilose. Pseudobulbs stem-like, up to 9 cm long, c. 5 mm in diam., enveloped by several sheaths and the lower leaf petiole, with 2 – 3 leaves at the apex. Leaves somewhat papery, erectly spreading, ovate-elliptic, blade 5.5 – 9.5 × 2.5 – 5 cm, acuminate, pleated-veined, rounded and abruptly contracted into a 1 – 2 cm petiole. Inflorescence erect longer than the leaves up to 12.5 cm. Peduncle costate, 5 – 7 cm with 2 – 3 bracts. Rachis sublaxly 6 – 8-flowered. Floral bracts lanceolate acuminate, 5 – 7.1 × 1.1 – 1.8 mm. Flowers large, erectly spreading up to 18 × 11 mm, green becoming brown-yellow with age. Pedicel and ovary slender, glabrous, slightly ridged, up to 17 × 2 mm. Dorsal sepal reflexed, ligulate-lanceolate, somewhat obtuse and bi-auriculate at the base, 12 – 15.5 × 1.5 – 1.8 mm. Lateral sepals porrect, falcate-oblong, obtuse, 11.3 – 12.8 × 3.8 – 4.1 mm. Petals deflexed, narrowly linear, obtuse, 12.5 – 13.2 × 0.5 – 0.6 mm. Lip curved, with the base contracted and shortly biauriculate, abruptly expanded into a very broadly oval blade, apiculate at the apex and the front margins almost sub-denticulate, base with a small rounded-subcordate, sometimes obsolete callus, 9.2 – 10.1 × 7.5 – 7.7 mm. Column slightly curved, short and thick, a little expanded above the middle, 4 – 5 mm long, somewhat winged. Anther with a spathulate beak, 1 mm long, rounded at the apex and narrowed towards the base, overall c. 1.9 × 1.1 mm. Pollinia ovoid, united by a thin membrane, c. 0.6 × 0.4 mm.
Etymology:
Refers to Mt Tsaratanana (Zaratanana), the type locality in Northern Madagascar. Perrier (1939: 269) changed the epithet to tsaratananae believing Schlechter to have made a typographic error, but there is no basis for this as Schlechter used the German version of spelling.
Recognition:
Liparis zaratananae is a medium-sized plant with fairly short, slender pseudobulb and two or rarely three, ovate-elliptic leaves, with a 1 – 2 cm petiole, the leaves being retained on at least two growths. It has large flowers with a broadly oval lip narrowed at the base and slightly serrulate at the anterior margin, a rounded and indistinct callus, an anther with a distinct spathulate, 1 mm long beak, rounded at the apex and narrowed towards the base, and a short and thick column.
Liparis zaratananae is somewhat similar in habit and inflorescence to L. jumelleana but it is well characterised by the more ovate leaves with a more sharply defined petiole, larger flowers, smaller petals and the lip oval vs transversally elliptic and the spathulate vs pointed beak of the anther. There are similarities with L. sambiranoensis but the plant is generally a little smaller, the leaf more petiolate, two years growth remain whilst L. sambiranoensis emerges from a repent pseudobulb, the bracts are smaller (not cordate), the lip a very different in shape (shortly auriculate vs distinctly auriculate) and much shorter dentate at the front and the anther has a spathulate beak vs triangular.
Habitat:
Forest undergrowth, moss and lichen. Altitude: 1500 – 2000 m.
Phenology:
Flowering in December.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus.
Distribution:
Endemic to Madagascar
References:
Flora of Madagascar: vascular plants: 49th family, Orchids / by H. Perrier de La Bathie; published under the auspices of the government of Madagascar and under the direction of H. Humbert; English revision and translation by Steven D. Beckman; Orchids of Madagascar Du Puy, Hermans, Bosser & Cribb 2007; A field Guide tothe orchids of Mdagascar 2009; Malaxideae (Orchidaceae) in Madagascar, the Mascarenes, Seychelles and Comoro Islands Kew Bulletin volume 75, Article number: 1 (2020)
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.