AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Microcoelia moreauae L.Jonss., Symb. Bot. Upsal. 23: 71 (1981).
Description:
A dwarf epiphytic plant. Stem 3—6(—17) x 1—1.5(—2) mm. Scale-leaves ± acute, with 3-5 nerves, up to 1.3 mm long. Roots mostly few, slender, ± radially spreading, densely to loosely crowded, ± tufted, undulating and usually not branched, mostly closely attached to the substrate, ± terete, smooth, up to 12(—22) cm x 0.5—1.0(—1.5) mm. Inflorescence(s) ± erect-spreading, up to 30 mm long, up to 4 simultaneously, sparse, each with up to 8 flowers; peduncle short, up to 8 mm long, light green; rachis ± flexuose, angular, slightly excavated, smooth, light green; bracts not sheathing, ovate, acute to subacute, ± indistinctly 1-nerved, 0.5—1.0(—1.6) mm long. Pedicel short, up to 1.4 mm long; ovary slightly curved, distinctly furrowed, 0.9-1.3X 0.3-0.5 mm, whitish. Flowers ± horizontal, up to 4(—5) mm long including ovary and pedicel; perianth pure white; spur apex greenish, anther bright yellow. Glandular hairs very sparse, mainly scattered on rachis, base of bracts, pedicel and ovary, basal part of the perianth. Tepals ± similar, slightly recurved apically, lateral sepals and petals slightly asymmetric, oblong, subacute, with 1 nerve; dorsal sepal 1.1—2.3 x 0.6-0.9 mm; lateral sepals 1.6-2.4 x 0.6-0.8 mm; petals 1.4-2.1 x 0.5-0.8 mm; lahellum truncate, ± oblong, with 3 nerves, 1.3-2.1 x 0.6-1.0 mm; spur ± perpendicular, mostly geniculately incurved, with a ± conically inflated base, tapering into an obtusely cylindrical apex, (1.3-) 1.5-1.9 mm long, up to 0.3 mm diameter apically. Column short, truncate, outer sides ± convex, 0.3-0.5 mm long, (0.4-)0.5-0.6 mm high; androclinium shallowly excavated, with a central hump; rostellum-lobes ± perpendicular, ± rectangular, 0.2-0.3 mm long. Anther ± hemispherical in side view, slightly bivalvate, tapering into a truncate apex, apical rim ± thickened, 0.4-0.6 mm long and wide. Pollinia subglobose, asymmetric; in side view ± obovate to elliptic, (250-)260-280 x 220-250 µm; in median section ± elliptic, with one side slightly compressed, 160-190 pm thick. Stipes ligulate, ± spathulate apically, slightly sigmoid, (160-)200-270 pm long, 60-80 pm wide at the apex, transparent; viscidium ± rectangular, rounded distally, transparent, 140-190(-270) x 90-160 pm. Capsule small, ± oblong, slightly oblique, 3.5-4.5 x 1.8-2.3 mm; pedicel distinct, up to 2.0 mm long. Seeds ± bottle-shaped to cylindrical or ± fusiform, testa cells narrowly elongate, densely covered with ± club-shaped to hook-shaped processes; anticlinal walls ± sulcate with finer striations, (400-)460-550 x 50-60 µm (20 dry seeds measured).
Habitat:
Mainly in rain forest and riverine forest. Epiphytic on finer twigs of understorey trees and bushes. Altitude. 670-1800 m.
Flowering period:
Mainly during the transition to the early rainy season.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus, warm to cool growing.
Distribution:
Kenya to Zimbabwe
References:
A Monograph of the Genus Microcoelia [Orchidaceae] Jonsson 1981; Flora of Tropical East Africa Orchidaceae Part 3 Cribb 1989; Orchids of Kenya Stewart 1996; Flora Zambesiaca Vol 11 Part 2 Pope 1998; Angraecoid Orchids Stewart, Hermans and Campbell 2006; WCSP (2017). 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. 03.03-2017; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

In culture
Microcoelia moureae 01
Photograph© Lourens Grobler. Image used with kind permission.