AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis xanthina Ridl., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 22: 275 (1886).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Leptorkis xanthina (Ridl.) Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 671 (1891).
Description:
Plant erect, very small, epiphyte, 6 cm, rhizome very short, roots rounded, filiform, glabrous. Pseudobulbs oval-conical with 2 leaves, 4 – 7 mm, covered in degrading sheaths. Leaves ovate, 5.5 – 6 × 2.5 – 2.8 cm. Inflorescence erect c. 7 cm, laxly 13-flowered. Peduncle one or two sheaths 6 × 1 – 1.2 mm. Rachis 3 – 4 cm, with the lower flowers before the upper ones open. Floral bracts lanceolate, c. 3 × 1 mm. Flowers very small, yellow, overall c. 7 × 5 mm. Pedicel and ovary rounded, winged, c. 3 × 0.3 mm. Dorsal sepal narrowly linear, obtuse, c. 3.5 × 1 mm. Lateral sepals ovate-oblong and obtuse, c. 3.5 × 2 mm. Petals narrowly linear c. 3.5 × 0.3 mm. Lip curved, oblong and obtuse, c. 2.5 × 2 mm. Column rather thick, c. 2 × 1.3 mm. Anther not known.
Etymology:
Refers to the yellow colour of the flowers.
Recognition:
Liparis xanthina has an inflorescence that is longer than its leaves; two fairly broad leaves, small flowers and fairly long floral bracts.
It is similar in its inflorescence and flowers to Liparis dryadum but it has broader and larger leaves. It also resembles in size and habit L. densa, L. lutea, L. nephrocardia and L. bathiei but, without flowers, it is not possible to be certain from the type herbarium material if it differs sufficiently. The type plant at BM has one growth and no flowers, its habit matches several species but it is not possible to determine which. Deans Cowan’s watercolour does not allow identification with any certainty and we, therefore, consider this name ambiguous (nomen dubium designated here) due to the lack of reliable type material. It shares many characteristics with L. bathiei which may be the same species but there is not enough reliable material to support this.
Habitat:
In trees. Altitude: unknown.
Flowering time:
Not known.
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; A Monograph of the Genus Liparis. HN Ridley - ‎1886; Malaxideae (Orchidaceae) in Madagascar, the Mascarenes, Seychelles and Comoro Islands Kew Bulletin volume 75, Article number: 1 (2020)
Images:
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