AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis perrieri Schltr., Ann. Inst. Bot.-Géol. Colon. Marseille, III, 1: 164 (1913).
Description:
Large erect lithophytic or rarely epiphytic plant, up to 28 cm, on a very short rhizome, roots filiform, flexuose, woolly, 3 – 4 mm diam. Pseudobulbs solitary or with a smaller growth or with 1 – 2 leafless oblique remnants, 1 – 3 cm, generally carrying 3 leaves, rarely 4, base with a smaller stem sheath. Leaves erectly-spreading, somewhat leathery, plicate, broadly elliptic, acute, base contracted into a 6 – 11 cm long sheath-like petiole, blade 8 – 25 × 3 – 8 cm, pale green and somewhat glossy, strongly veined, especially in dried specimens. Inflorescence erect, up to 30 cm tall, ridged, purplish-green, 10 – 40-subdensely -flowered in the upper half. Peduncle with 1 – 2 membranous sheaths and 2 – 5 sterile decurved bracts up to 5 mm long. Rachis sub-dense, up to 15 cm. Floral bracts decurved, lanceolate-acute, about half the length of the pedicellate ovary, 2.8 – 7 × 1.2 – 1.8 mm, pale green, brown at the base. Flowers small, erectly-spreading, opening in succession with the lower ones fading well before the upper ones open, overall up to 10 × 9 mm, ovary, sepals and petals green tinted more or less with purple, lip pink-violet to purple (rarely entirely green), green in the upper margins, column white becoming green towards the tip, anther cap pale green. Pedicel and ovary twisted and strongly roundly ridged, up to 12 × 0.6 – 1.1 mm. Dorsal sepal strongly incurved and recurved, oblong-ligulate, obtuse, broadening towards the base, 4 – 6.3 × 0.8 – 2 mm. Lateral sepals obliquely ovate-obtuse, strongly recurved to revolute below the lip, 3.0 – 5.4 × 1.8 – 2.8 mm. Petals linear to spathulate, incurved, spreading, 3.8 – 5.8 × 0.4 – 0.9 mm. Lip ovate to flabellate-dilate, the base rectangular strongly auriculate, anterior margin recurved, retuse, more or less denticulate, carrying 2 more or less prominent horn-like calli at the very base, 3.1 – 4.5 × 3 – 4.6 mm. Column curved forward in the upper half, strongly roundly winged towards the apex, 2 – 3.2 × 0.8 – 1.2 mm. Anther obovoid, often with a long apicule at the tip, 0.8 – 1.1 × 0.7 – 0.9 mm. Pollinia ovoid 0.3 – 0.5 × 0.5 – 0.7 mm. Seed capsule narrowly obovate, up to 12 × 5 mm.
Etymology:
Named for Henri Perrier de la Bâthie (1873 – 1958).
Recognition:
This is a large, somewhat variable species with one flowering growth with many small flowers and the remnants of the previous year’s growth. It has a ridged peduncle, strongly decurved floral bracts, green flowers tinted with purple, a much darker violet to purple lip with two separate horn-like calli at the very base, calli that are easily missed in dissection of herbarium material, a column winged near the apex and an obovoid anther without a distinct apicule.
Habitat:
The species is mainly restricted to the Western forest where it is found in the more humid areas growing on granite, calcareous rock or the base of trees on humus in moderate shade. Also in evergreen humid forest. Altitude: 500 – 1200 m.
Phenology:
Flowering in December to February.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus.
Distribution:
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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