AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis bernieri Frapp. ex Cordem., Fl. Réunion: 185 (1895).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Liparis danguyana H.Perrier, Notul. Syst. (Paris) 5: 248 (1936).
Description:
Slender, small to medium-sized, erect, epiphytic or terrestrial plant, up to 16 cm tall, rhizome ascending, very short, roots wiry, more or less villous. Pseudobulbs stem-like, thin, erect, fleshy, enveloped by 3 – 5 thin grey striate sheaths, caudate at the apex, slightly overlapping each other, with two, or very rarely three leaves at the apex, the older growths retaining their leaves, up to 13 cm, c. 5 mm diam. Leaves sub-opposite, erectly spreading to sub-erect, flat, ovate, acute, base rounded to subcordate, sessile or with a 8 – 12 mm petiole, somewhat leathery, pale to dark green, glossy, the mid-vein prominent, 2.5 – 4 × 1.8 – 3.2 cm. Inflorescence erect, emerging from within the developing leaves, up to 14 cm long and almost as long as the pseudobulbs, sub-laxly 3 – 16-flowered, opening in succession. Peduncle longer than the raceme, slightly ridged, with one to two bract-like lanceolate sheaths, c. 11 × 3 mm. Rachis loosely racemose, successive flowering, up to 7.5 cm long. Floral bracts erectly spreading, acuminate, shorter than the pedicellate ovary, 4.1 – 5.5 × 1 – 1.7 mm. Flowers small to medium in size, up to 18 × 16 mm, greenish-yellow, lip green to greenish-brown with the veins and central groove darker green, column greenish-white, anther green, flowers becoming more yellow-orange with age. Pedicel and ovary fusiform, corrugate, 8 – 11 × 1 – 1.2 mm. Dorsal sepal inclined, oblong to lanceolate, margins slightly reflexed, obtuse, becoming wider towards the base, 7.8 – 9.1 × 1.6 – 2.1 mm. Lateral sepals strongly recurved beneath the lip, ovate, obtuse, 6.6 – 8.7 × 2.4 – 3.5 mm. Petals erectly spreading, linear, falcate, subacute, 5.6 – 7.7 × 0.5 – 1.1 mm. Lip curved, hardly auriculate at the base, expanded into a narrowly ovate to almost pyriform blade, with a central gutter-like depression, the front margin emarginate, slightly sinuate, with a flattened cushion-like thickening at the base, 6.1 – 7 × 4.2 – 5.1 mm. Column curved towards the apex, up to 4.3 × 1.1 mm, without distinct wings. Anther ovoid, with a short angular lobule at the anterior margin, exterior somewhat verrucose, c. 1.0 × 1.1 mm. Pollen ovoid in two attached parts, c. 0.6 × 0.5 mm.
Etymology:
Dedicated to Dr Charles Bernier (1802 – 1858), director of the Jardin Botanique de La Réunion.
Habitat:
Wet forest, often on humus and moss-covered surfaces, in shade. Altitude: 800 – 1600 m.
Phenology:
January to March.
Recognition:
A small to medium size plant, with stem-like, long pseudobulbs bearing two ovate leathery leaves with a distinct central vein. Its inflorescence is almost as long as the plant, with the small to medium-sized flowers borne towards the apex, a relatively wide dorsal sepal, a narrowly ovate to almost pyriform, emarginate, sinuate lip, with a small cushion-shaped callus at base, a scarcely winged column, and a rounded anther with a small beak.
Liparis bernieri is similar to L. danguyana and L. listeroides which are closely allied but distinct morphologically and their distribution is disjunct (Table 5). The leaf of L. danguyana is thinner in texture than those of L. bernieri and L. listeroides which are more leathery with indistinct veins, the leaf shape is ovate, sessile vs more broadly oval, sub-sessile. The flowers of L. listeroides are generally smaller than the other two. The lip of L. danguyana has distinct basal lobes, that of L. bernieri does not and is almost pyriform, it has two small but distinct calli at the base (in L. bernieri the callus is indistinct and consists of a crescent-like cushion), a front margin that is slightly attenuate at the front margin vs emarginate in L. bernieri. The anther cap of L. bernieri is rounded at the front with a short angular beak, that of L. listeroides is longer and obtusely beaked.
Notes:
The species was first mentioned as ‘Liparis bernieri Frappier’ in his listing of the plants of Réunion (Frappier 1880: 15). It was not formally described until 1895 in Cordemoy’s Flore, the orchid part being based on Frappier’s manuscripts. The description indicated that the author knew the plants in the wild and had also found herbarium material in the Réunion Museum where it was labelled as Liparis elegans Bernier, a name that had already been used five years earlier by Lindley for an Asian species. This group of unmounted plants, presumably collected by Bernier, found its way into the Cordemoy herbarium in Marseille where it is accompanied by labels of its origin and the same manuscript text used in Frappier’s description. This is most likely the original material seen by the author; it has corresponding labelling and is close to the original description and is therefore without doubt the holotype of the species and has priority, according to ICN article 9.19, over the lectotype chosen by Margonska (2009: 92) as outlined below.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus, cool growing terrestrial.
Distribution:
Endemic to Réunion
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; Field Guide to the Orchids of Madagascar Cribb & Herman 2009; Malaxideae (Orchidaceae) in Madagascar, the Mascarenes, Seychelles and Comoro Islands Kew Bulletin volume 75, Article number: 1 (2020)
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ 
liparis bernierii. in situ  liparis bernierii. close up side  liparis bernierii. close up 
Photograph© Rogier
van Vugt. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph© Rogier
van Vugt. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph© Rogier
van Vugt. Image used
with kind permission.