AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis bulbophylloides H.Perrier, Notul. Syst. (Paris) 5: 242 (1936).
Description:
Very small epiphytic plant up to 2.5 cm high, caespitose, rhizomatous epiphyte up to 10 – 15 cm long, the growths 5 – 25 mm apart, rhizome 1 – 3 mm diam. covered in brownish papery sheaths, roots 0.3 – 1 mm diam., somewhat hairy, the tips glabrous. Pseudobulbs, small, oval, 8 – 16 mm long, c. 5 mm diam., base covered by a membranous sheath 5 × 4 mm, carrying 2 leaves at the apex. Leaves ovate subsessile, rounded at the base and shortly acute at the apex, 10 – 18 × 8 – 15 mm. Inflorescence erect from the centre of the new growth, 3 – 10 cm tall carrying 3 – 10 flowers and buds. Peduncle with several bract-like sheaths. Rachis somewhat twisted, flowers 4 – 12 mm apart. Floral bracts green, with rounded wings, acute at the tip, single-veined and about 1/3 the length of the pedicellate ovary, 4 – 6 × 3 – 4 mm. Flowers small, overall c. 8 × 5 mm, opening in succession, all segments recurved at the margins, pale yellow-green with the lip darker yellow-green, column white, pollinia yellow, flowers becoming brownish-orange with age, flower buds bulging at the base. Pedicel and ovary ridged, 5.5 – 8 × 0.6 – 1.2 mm. Dorsal sepal folded backwards, lanceolate, slightly acute, 4.2 – 6.8 × 1 – 1.6 mm. Lateral sepals folded underneath the lip, oblong to oval, obtuse 3.1 – 5 × 1.8 – 2.5 mm. Petals linear, single veined, 4 – 6 × 0.4 – 0.8 mm. Lip suborbicular, trisinuate, narrowed and slightly auriculate at the base and incurved from the middle, the blade opaque with a few obscure veins, a distinct (0.5 mm) rounded cylindrical or bilobed callus at the base, 3 – 4.1 × 3.1 – 4 mm. Column arched, the wings strongly expanded at the side of the stigmatic surface into prominent angular membranous lobes, then decurrent lower down, rostellum with a very small central tooth, 3 – 3.8 × 1 mm. Anther extended at the front by a rounded semi-cylindrical beak almost the same size as the cap, 1 – 1.3 × 0.5 – 0.7 mm. Pollinia four, fused together in two pairs, oblong, 0.3 – 0.4 × 0.2 mm.
Etymology:
Refers to the shape of the pseudobulbs and plant habit similar to some species of the orchid genus Bulbophyllum.
Habitat:
Exclusively as an epiphyte in humid evergreen forest, amongst mosses on tree branches. Altitude: 600 – 1100 m.
Phenology:
January to March.
Recognition:
The species is one of the few truly epiphytic Liparis in the region. In habit it resembles species of Bulbophyllum Thouars (1822: t.3) with two small oval apical leaves and a small rounded pseudobulb on a long rhizome. The flowers are small, the lip is suborbicular with a rounded callus at the base, the column has obtuse transparent wings, the anther cap has a semi-cylindrical obtuse beak almost as large as the cap itself; somewhat resembling a baseball cap.
Liparis ambohimangana is similar but has a true stolon rather than a rhizome, a single leaf vs two and the anther is not beaked.
Notes:
The species was first described by Perrier from a collection made by Henri Humbert in Eastern Madagascar. It has since been found in a wide area along the Eastern mountain range of the Island.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus, warm growing epiphyte.
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 Du Puy, Hermans, Cribb & Boser 2007; A Field Guide to the orchids of Madagascar Hermans & Cribb 2009; Malaxideae (Orchidaceae) in Madagascar, the Mascarenes, Seychelles and Comoro Islands Kew Bulletin volume 75, Article number: 1 (2020)
Images:
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