AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis imerinensis Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 33: 141 (1924).
Description:
Large erect terrestrial plant, up to 25 cm tall, rhizome very short, roots wiry, flexuose more or less pilose. Pseudobulbs normally two; one erect, carrying 2 – 3 leaves, the other leafless and almost divaricate at a right angle or almost horizontal, cylindrical, stem-like, enveloped by sheaths, 4.5 – 11 cm long, 2.2 – 5.1 mm diam. Leaves erectly spreading, oval-elliptic, shortly acuminate, slightly apiculate, semi-petiolate (1 – 2 cm) towards the base, soft, plicate and distinctly veined, 6 – 12 × 3 – 4 cm. Inflorescence erect, somewhat exceeding the length of the leaves, sublaxly 5 – 16-flowered. Peduncle slender, ridged, up to 7 cm, with 1 – 4 slender sheaths. Rachis up to 5 cm. Floral bracts erectly spreading, linear-lanceolate, acuminate, the lower ones slightly longer than the pedicellate ovary, the higher ones slightly shorter, up to 10 × 2 mm. Flowers erectly spreading, medium in size, greenish-yellow becoming ochre-coloured on ageing, overall up to 15 × 12 mm. Pedicel and ovary, glabrous, slightly ridged becoming almost triangular in cross-section, 6 – 11 × 1 – 2 mm. Dorsal sepal erect, narrowly lanceolate, somewhat obtuse, the base subauriculate-expanded, 7.2 – 10 × 1.0 – 1.9 mm. Lateral sepals porrect, semi-oval, obtuse, 4- or 5-veined, 5.6 – 9.1 × 2.2 – 3.5 mm. Petals deflexed, narrowly linear, oblique, 5.7 – 8.5 × 0.3 – 0.5 mm. Lip contracted, subrectangular, broadly oval or oval-rhomboid, narrowed-acute or apiculate at the apex, base obtusely triangular-auriculate, with a small two-horned thickening (c. 0.3 mm) at the base, 5.3 – 7.9 × 4.1 – 5.5 mm. Column semi-terete, angular-obtuse along the stigmatic surface, 3.2 – 4.5 × 1.2 – 1.4 mm. Anther triangular acute at the front, up to 1.3 × 1.1 mm. Pollinia oval c. 0.5 × 0.6 mm.
Etymology:
Referring to Imerina; an old kingdom and geographical area of the highlands of Madagascar.
Recognition:
Its single erect flowering growth reaches up to 25 cm, with the leafy pseudobulb up to 11 cm long, the other leafless and leaning to almost horizontal. Lip oval-rhomboid, with a bidentate callus, acute at the apex, with five veins and anther with a short beak at the front.
Similar to Liparis andringitrana in some respects but it is a somewhat larger plant with longer pseudobulbs, the older pseudobulb being almost divaricate. Its lip has an acute tip whilst that of L. andringitrana is rounder and indented, the callus consists of two horns (vs a rounded lobe).
Habitat:
Epiphyte, terrestrial or lithophyte amongst moss, moss forest, evergreen forest. Altitude: 1200 – 1800 m.
Phenology:
Flowering in December to May.
Notes:
Liparis imerinensis seems to be a variable species both in plant and floral characteristics: the callus on the lip is obvious in some collections but hardly noticeable in others.
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; Orchids of Madagascar Hermans Du Puy, Cribb & Bosser 2007; Field Guide to the Orchids of Madagascar Cribb & Hermans 2009; 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 
liparis imerinensis 
Photograph ©Gilles
Grunenwald. Image used
with kind permission.