AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis longipetala Ridl., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 21: 459 (1885).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Leptorkis longipetala (Ridl.) Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 671 (1891).
Description:
Medium-sized epiphytic or terrestrial plant, 5 – 25 cm tall, rhizome short, roots wiry, thin, glabrous av. 1 mm diam. Pseudobulbs fleshy, whitish-green, spherical or oval, 10 – 18 × 9 – 16 mm, enveloped by thin bract-like sheaths, with 2 – 3 leaves generally persisting on the previous growths. Leaves pale green, erect to erectly spreading, ligulate to oblanceolate, the lower 1/3 somewhat narrowing, becoming longly attenuate, the basal sheaths papery and enveloping the petiole, 6 – 16 cm × 8 – 20 mm. Inflorescence erect, from the side of the pseudobulbs, somewhat curved at the tip, up to 22 cm long, 1 – 2 mm in diam., 8 – 25 flowers. Peduncle with 2 – 4 scales or narrowly acute sterile bracts, 6 – 8 × 1.5 – 2 mm, in the lower half. Rachis loosely racemose, flowers 8 – 12 mm apart, 4 – 6.5 cm. Floral bracts thin, narrowly acute, 3 – 9 × 1.3 – 2 mm, becoming shorter towards the apex of the inflorescence. Flowers small, overall av. 7 × 10 mm, pale green to yellow with the lip often darker, olive-green, the column almost white, anther pale green, overall becoming more yellow-brown with age. Pedicellate ovary subfiliform to slightly ridged, becoming a distinct thicker and twisted ovary towards the base, 6 – 16 mm long. Dorsal sepal broadly linear to lanceolate, subacute, curved backwards, 3-veined, 5.6 – 8 × 1.1 – 1.9 mm. Lateral sepals oblong to almost oval, falcate, 4.1 – 6.1 × 1.4 – 3.2 mm. Petals linear, sometimes a little wider towards the tip, 5.2 – 8.5 × 0.4 – 1.1 mm. Lip with a narrow auriculate base then expanding into an obovate to broadly oval blade, emarginated with a small apicule at the tip, with a long rounded ridge-like basal callus with a more or less bilobed or thickened tip, 3.5 – 5.5 × 2.3 – 4.1 mm. Column slender, curved towards the apex, expanded below the rostellum into distinct, long, angular pointed wings, 3 – 4.9 × 0.8 – 1.2 mm. Anther suborbicular with a long curved acute beak, 0.8 – 1.3 × 0.7 × 1. Pollinia 2, generally bipartite, without viscidium. The anther chambers sometimes contain one or sometimes two pollen masses; this variation occurs even in individual flowers on the same inflorescence, c. 0.4 × 0.3 mm. Seed capsule sub-spherical 5 – 6 mm diam.
Etymology:
Referring to the petals which are said to be longer than in other species. Liparis anthericoides refers to the vegetative similarities with Anthericum (Liliaceae).
Recognition:
A medium-sized plant with rounded pseudobulbs enveloped by thin white papery sheaths, two long lanceolate leaves, a laxly-flowered inflorescence and flowers with a long rounded callus at the base of the lip, long and angular column wings, and an anther with a very acute beak. The lip often appears darker than the rest of the flower in herbarium material.
Habitat:
Wet evergreen forest, in forest on mossy ground or epiphytic in evergreen forest. Altitude: 800 – 1500 m.
Phenology:
Flowering in February to August.
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)
Images:
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