AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis andringitrana Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 33: 135 (1924).
Description:
Small to medium size, erect terrestrial or lithophytic plant, 6 – 16 cm tall on a short rhizome, the older pseudobulbs not retaining their leaves, roots filiform, flexuose, minutely pilose. Pseudobulbs cylindrical to oblong, more or less compressed-angular, sometimes watery in substance when young, enveloped by 2 – 3 sheaths plus often carrying one to two leaf-like sheaths, 2 – 7.5 cm long, c. 1 – 1.5 cm diam., the flowering growth carrying 2 – 3 erectly-spreading leaves, the older ones erect or oblique, covered by papery sheaths. Leaves oval to elliptic, apiculate or shortly acuminate, thin, sometimes margins sub-crenulate, more or less narrowed into a short petiole (1.3 – 3 cm), blade 4.5 – 15 × 2 – 5 cm, with prominent veins. Inflorescence the same length as or exceeding the leaves, up to 12 cm long carrying 3 – 12 flowers. Peduncle with 1 – 2 lanceolate sheaths, acuminate. Rachis sub-densely racemose, up to 7 cm long. Floral bracts erectly spreading, lanceolate, acute, the lower ones as long as the ovary, the higher ones shorter, 4.5 – 7.1 × 1.9 – 2.1 mm. Flowers small to medium size, erectly spreading to suberect, av. 10 × 8 mm, yellowish or pale yellow-brown, greenish yellow, becoming more orange, column yellow towards the apex, anther white. Pedicel and ovary 6 – 9 × 1.2 – 4 mm, glabrous, strongly winged to slightly ridged, new flowers opening whilst seed pods develop below. Dorsal sepal erect to arching, narrowly lanceolate, somewhat obtuse, base cordate-auriculate, 5.6 – 9.5 × 0.9 – 2.1 mm. Lateral sepals semi-oval to oblong, folded beneath the lip, 4.5 – 7 × 2.1 – 3.2 mm. Petals linear, slightly broader at the base, 5.9 – 8 × 0.3 – 0.9 mm. Lip somewhat curved, broadly oval to flabellate, the blade suborbiculate to obovate but occasionally broader than long, widest towards the middle, base slightly narrowed with the basal auricles fairly long (c. 1 mm) and obtuse, the front margin rounded and more or less subcrenulate, basal callus sub-angular to transversally oblong, truncate, at the base partly extending into 2 keels and merging with the outer veins, often quite obsolete in dried specimens, 4.1 – 6.8 × 3.5 – 6.2 mm. Column slightly incurved, 2.6 – 3.9 × 0.7 – 1.2 mm, with small rounded wings protruding by the stigma. Anther with a short triangular beak c. 0.6 × 1 mm. Pollinia in two pairs, oval, av. 0.4 × 0.6 mm. Seed capsule somewhat ridged, av. 15 × 5 mm.
Etymology:
Refers to the type locality of the Andringitra mountain range in SE Madagascar, now a National Park. Liparis henrici was named by Rudolf Schlechter for Henri Perrier de la Bâthie (1873 – 1958), L. latilabris refers to the broad lip, L. rectangularis presumably refers to the angles of the lip and L. verecunda probably refers to the diminutive nature of plant and flower.
Habitat:
Montane forest remnants. Amongst rock, in shade beneath shrubby undergrowth, in leaf litter, moss forest. Altitude: 600 – 1800 m.
Phenology:
December to May.
Recognition:
Liparis andrigitrana is characterised by the 2 – 3-leaved plant on a somewhat elongate, more or less flattened, pseudobulb, with thin strongly veined leaves on a 1.5 – 3 cm petiole. Medium sized flowers with the lip rounded and generally subcrenulate at the front, distinct wings at the base and an angular callus at the base. Anther slightly beaked. The seed capsules are often semi-erect and persistent.
It is similar to Liparis nephrocardia Schltr. (Schlechter 1924: 145) both in habit, inflorescence and flower but L. andringitrana is generally larger and taller, the lip shape is slightly different (broadly oval vs obcordate) and the callus is much less obvious and not ‘V’-shaped, the anther beak is angular vs obtuse. Similar to L. flavescens but differs by the more elongate pseudobulb and leaf petiole, slightly larger flowers and lip callus.
Notes:
Schlechter’s descriptions of Liparis andringitrana, L. henrici, L. latilabris and L. verecunda are just a few pages apart and could easily apply to all four species; strangely he does not compare them with each other but does so with other species. In the descriptions there are differences in the shape of the lip callus and curvature of the column which are never very clear in dried material. Liparis andringitrana, L. henrici and L. latilabris were collected by Perrier in the Andringitra mountains, presumably from almost the same spot with only one number difference in collecting code. Schlechter also illustrated all four species in 1932. Perrier in his revision of Liparis from Madagascar (1936: 242) made L. latilabris and L. verecunda synonyms of L. henrici, he did not explain the reasons. He first mentioned them under ‘species not satisfactorily known’ and then listed them as synonyms of L. henrici further in the text. In addition Schlechter was unaware that the name L. latilabris had previously been used by Rolfe (1903: 6) for an Indochina/Vietnam species.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus.
Distribution
SE. 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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