AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis sambiranoensis Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 33: 147 (1924).
Description:
Large erect terrestrial, lithophyte or rarely epiphytic plant 15 – 40 cm high, emerging directly from the base of the previous growth, roots filiform, more or less villous. Pseudobulbs cylindrical, narrowly elongate, sometimes somewhat flattened-angular, almost entirely covered by membranous sheaths and by the sheath-like petiole of the lower leaves, with 3 or 4 to rarely 5 leaves towards the top, growth emerging from the previous leafless growth which is divaricate, older pseudobulbs disintegrating and merging in the substrate, without obvious rhizome, 7 – 18 × 2 – 3 cm. Leaves erectly spreading, variable in size, often in two pairs 15 – 30 mm apart, blade elliptic-acuminate, corrugate, narrowed into a long petiole amplectant to the pseudobulb, overall 10 – 18.5 × 5 – 7.5 cm, pale green, more or less glossy. Inflorescence erect, up to 30 cm long, from the centre of the growth, much longer than the leaves, carrying up to 25 flowers, the lower ones fading before the upper ones open. Peduncle costate, with a few ovate-lanceolate sterile bracts. Rachis laxly racemose, up to 15 cm. Floral bracts shorter than the pedicellate ovary, porrect, ovate-lanceolate, strongly attenuate at the tip, almost cordate at the base, 8 – 12 × 3.8 – 4.1 mm, green. Flowers large, erectly spreading, up to 29 × 14 mm, ovary pale green, sepals and petals pale greenish-yellow, lip darker olive green to orange, column and anther white, all parts becoming paler and more yellow with age, tepals and lip a little glossy. Pedicel and ovary porrect, slightly upturned toward the base of the flower, cylindrical, somewhat grooved, 10 – 17 × 1.5 – 2 mm. Dorsal sepal erect to incurved, linear-lanceolate, base cordate-auriculate, margins more or less recurved, 12.5 – 18 × 1.2 – 3.8 mm. Lateral sepals parallel, descending below the lip, obliquely oblong, obtuse, 11 – 16 × 3.4 – 5.9 mm. Petals divaricate, obliquely linear, margins recurved, obtuse, 11.4 – 17 × 0.5 – 1.5 mm. Lip strongly curved in the middle forming a gutter-like hypochile, shortly auriculate at the base and a broadly oval hypochile serrate to crenate at the anterior margin, with a bi-gibbose callus at the base, 9.1 – 14 × 5.4 – 8.8 mm. Column strongly curved towards the apex, with distinct sharply triangular wings, 4.1 – 6 × 1.1 – 1.5 mm. Anther ovoid, with a short acute beak at the tip, 1.1 – 1.5 × 0.9 – 1.0 mm. Pollinia ovoid c. 0.5 × 0.7 mm.
Etymology:
Refers to the Sambirano river and area in Madagascar where the species was first found. Liparis panduriformis refers to the three-lobed, lute-shaped lip.
Recognition:
This is a large plant, up to 40 cm tall, with a distinct thin stem and about four glossy leaves borne a few centimetres apart, old pseudobulb divaricate, large flowers in a many-flowered lax raceme. Its lip is longer than wide, narrowed around the middle, serrate or crenate on the front margin and with a bigibbose callus at the base, and its column has sharply triangular wings and a shortly beaked anther.
It is closest to Liparis ochracea but L. sambiranoensis has longer pseudobulbs, generally a longer inflorescence, a longer lip with a rounded epichile and angular hypochile (vs almost pandurate) and short angular vs elongate column wings. There are similarities with L. ornithorrhynchos but this species has a different habit with shorter pseudobulbs, fewer flowers, the lip is almost pandurate vs rounded and the anther sharply triangular vs elongate-obtuse. It is also similar to L. bemarahensis described above but it differs by the plant habit, shape of the lip, callus and anther.
Habitat:
Wet, dense evergreen forest in N & NW Madagascar and Mayotte in humid soil and humus or rarely epiphytic in thick moss on fallen trees or the base of trees. Chalky outcrops in deciduous forest. Altitude: 200 – 1000 m.
Phenology:
Flowering in October to May.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus.
Distribution:
N. Madagascar. Endemic.
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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Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ 
liparis sambiranoensis 01  liparis sambiranoensis  02  liparis sambiranoensis 03  liparis sambiranoensis 04  liparis sambiranoensis 05  liparis sambiranoensis  06  liparis sambiranoensis 07 
Photograph© Etienne
Vennetier Image used
with kind permission.
 
Photograph© Etienne
Vennetier Image used
with kind permission.
 
Photograph© Etienne
Vennetier Image used
with kind permission.
 
Photograph© Etienne
Vennetier Image used
with kind permission.
 
Photograph© Etienne
Vennetier Image used
with kind permission.
 
Photograph© Etienne
Vennetier Image used
with kind permission.
 
Photograph© Etienne
Vennetier Image used
with kind permission.