AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis warpurii Rolfe, Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1908: 69 (1908).
Description:
Small scrambling terrestrial plant up to 10 cm high, on a long rhizome with new growths often from internodes of the previous pseudobulb, roots flexuose, hairy. Pseudobulbs slender, dark green, sometimes speckled dark brown, almost entirely enveloped by several long brownish papery imbricate sheaths, overall up to 50 × 7 mm, with a single leaf at the apex. Leaf almost sessile, narrowly ovate, acute, subconduplicate, a little cordate at the base, glaucous on the upper surface, green underneath, sometimes partly mottled or entirely silvery, 2.5 – 6.5 × 1 – 2.5 cm. Inflorescence slender, erect, up to 6 cm long, up to 4 flowers towards the apex but usually fewer. Peduncle about ½ the length of the inflorescence, with one or two sterile bracts. Rachis loosely few-flowered. Floral bracts sessile, cordate, acuminate, 4.1 – 8 × 1.6 – 3.5 mm. Flowers large, up to 21 × 18 mm, all segments pale yellowish-green except for the lip which has a much darker emerald green disk, column cream, anther cap pale yellow. Pedicel and ovary slender, slightly winged, 8 – 12 × 1.5 – 2 mm. Dorsal sepal linear, erect, the margins recurved, 9.3 – 9.9 × 0.8 – 1.6 mm. Lateral sepals falcate-oblong, obtuse, parallel with the lip, margins a little recurved, 8.5 – 12 × 3.1 – 4.1 mm. Petals divergent, filiform, margins recurved, 7.7 – 10.4 × 0.3 – 1 mm. Lip slightly curved, shortly unguiculate, obovate, denticulate at the anterior margin, disk thickened, with a small rounded, often bilobed or trilobed callus at the base, 6.9 – 10 × 5.9 – 9.2 mm. Column incurved, wings shortly obtuse, 4.1 – 6 × 0.8 – 0.9 mm. Anther obovoid, obtusely beaked at the front, c. 1.2 × 1 mm. Pollinia 2, bipartite, obovoid c. 0.7 × 0.6 mm.
Etymology:
Refers to Mr Warpur (fl. 1890 – 1901), a Belgian collector, who first imported the species into Europe. Rolfe, in his description, has the name ending in one ‘i’ but this is an error to be corrected to ‘ii’ according to the Botanical Code (Turland et al.2018: 60.14).
Recognition:
Liparis warpurii is a small scrambling plant with a thin pseudobulb and a single narrowly ovate leaf, few-flowered inflorescence and floral bracts that are cordate at the base. It has large flowers, with a shortly unguiculate, obovate lip, serrate at the front, small rounded callus at base, and a bluntly beaked anther.
Rolfe indicated that Liparis warpurii was close to L. parva but it is very different being a much larger plant (L. parva is c. 4 cm), single-leaved (vs two-leaved) and has a different inflorescence and flowers. The closest species is L. magnifica, described above, but it differs by the foliage which is not longitudinally streaked with silvery-white, the cordate peduncle sheaths and floral bracts (vs lanceolate in L. magnifica), the flowers about double the size, a less curved and angular lip (vs obovate), with a dentate margin (vs undulate), and a less sharply beaked anther. It is similar to L. clareae but differs in having narrower leaves, more numerous flowers (three to five), longer sepals, a larger lip, with a rectangular blade and a disk with a more distinct rounded callus at the base, a taller column and a smaller anther, the beak being wider and more obtuse. It is similar to L. laurentii, described above, but the leaf of L. laurentii is broadly ovate (vs lanceolate), the flowers are smaller, the lip not serrate at the margins and with horn-like calli (vs a single rounded callus).
Habitat:
Epiphyte or terrestrial in wet Eastern forest, moss and lichen-covered trees, in soil. Altitude: 700 – 1100 m.
Flowering time:
September to July.
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; Malaxideae (Orchidaceae) in Madagascar, the Mascarenes, Seychelles and Comoro Islands Kew Bulletin volume 75, Article number: 1 (2020)
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