AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis trulliformis Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 33: 149 (1924).
Description:
Small erect epiphytic plant up to 7 cm high, flowering growth emerging directly from the base of the leafless previous growth which is divergent to decumbent, roots flexuose, more or less villous. Pseudobulbs short, oblong, cylindrical, covered by sheaths and the base of the lower leaf, less than 2 cm tall and 10 mm diam., with 2 – 3 leaves in the upper half. Leaves erectly spreading, plicate, elliptic-acuminate, with a long sheath-like narrow petiole, 3.4 – 4.9 × 1.3 – 2.1 cm. Inflorescence up to 8 cm long, surpassing the leaves. Peduncle about half the length of the inflorescence, with 2 – 3 lanceolate bracts. Rachis sub-densely 5 – 6-flowered. Floral bracts erectly spreading, lanceolate acute to acuminate, lower one longer than those at the apex, 4 – 6.1 × 2.3 – 2.6 mm. Flowers erectly spreading, small, c. 14 × 8 mm, greenish-yellow. Pedicel and ovary glabrous, a little ridged, c. 9 × 1 mm. Dorsal sepal erect, ligulate-lanceolate, obtuse with the base shortly auriculate, 7.1 – 8.1 × 0.9 – 1 mm. Lateral sepals porrect, obliquely-oblong, obtuse, 6.8 – 7.1 × 2.3 – 2.5 mm. Petals narrowly linear, margins recurved, a little spathulate at the apex, 6.3 – 6.5 × 0.4 – 0.6 mm. Lip slightly curved, ovate-trullate, a little expanded-angular towards the lower third, then slightly contracted towards the upper third and rounded at the top, a little dentate around the margins, base very slightly auriculate, on top with a small bipartite flattened callus, 6 – 6.3 × 3.1 – 3.3 mm. Column curved, wings indistinct, 3 × 0.8 mm. Anther ovoid, distinctly beaked, a little blunt at the tip, c. 1 × 0.6 mm.
Etymology:
Referring to the trowel shape of the lip.
Recognition:
Liparis trulliformis is a small squat plant with elliptic plicate leaves, the new growth emerges from the disintegrating divergent or decumbent previous growth, an inflorescence with a few small flowers. Its flowers have an ovate-trullate lip, almost twice as long as wide, with a flattened bifold callus at the base, and a strongly and bluntly beaked anther.
Liparis trulliformis is somewhat similar to L. bathiei but different by the longer pseudobulbs, prominent plicate leaves, trowel-shaped lip which is almost twice as long as wide. It is also close to L. bosseri described above but the lip of L. bosseri is obovate (vs ovate-trullate), lacks a distinct callus at the base of the lip and has an anther with a spathulate beak vs a sharp beak.
Habitat:
Epiphytes in mossy forests. from 1800 m. alt.
Phenology:
Flowering in January
Notes:
Known from the type specimen only, collected by Perrier in 1923 on Mt Tsaratanana close to the type locality of Liparis zaratananae (the collecting numbers are consecutive). Only four plants grew in the colony and two were collected and sent to Schlechter in 1923 who described it a year later together with several other Liparis. These might be juvenile plants of another species, but as it comes from a fairly under-explored area it has been decided to recognise the species until more information becomes available.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus.
Distribution:
N. 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)
Images:
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