Microcoelia sanfordii L.Jonss., Symb. Bot. Upsal. 23: 129 (1981).
Encheiridion sanfordii (L.Jonss.) Senghas, Schlechter Orchideen 1(16-18): 1066 (1986).
Epiphytic plant. Stem short, up to 5 mm long, 1-2 mm in diameter. Scale-leaves acute to acuminate, with c. 7 nerves, up to c. 3 mm long. Roots relatively few, slender to ± stout, variously spreading, ± twisted and undulating, few branched, ± attached to the substrate, ± flattened, smooth, up to c. 70 cm long, (1.5-) 2-3 (-5) mm in widest diameter. Inflorescence(s) ± erect to pendulous, up to 7 cm long, one at the time (might well be more?), usually ± dense, with up to 10 flowers; peduncle short, up to 15 mm long; rachis straight or indistinctly flexuose, ± terete; bracts sheathing, acute, 1-nerved, 1.0-2.3 mm long. Pedicel short, ± straight to distinctly twisted, up to c. 4 mm long; ovary slightly curved, faintly furrowed, up to c. 1.5 mm long, 0.5-0.7 mm in diameter. Flowers ± horizontal, up to c. 11 mm long including ovary and pedicel, whitish, lateral sepals white with a central greenish band, lip white with a greenish ± triangular spot in the centre, spur apically orange-beige as the anther. Glandular hairs sparse, on the pedicel, ovary and at the base of the perianth. Dorsal sepal distinctly hoodshaped, ± elliptic, acute, apex beak-shaped, 3-nerved, 3.2-5.8 x 1.6-2.0 mm. Lateral sepals distinctly curved, ± ovate, acute, subapiculate, 3-nerved, 3.2-5.7 x 1.0-2.0 mm. Petlas distinctly curved, ± obovate, obtuse to subacute, 1-nerved, occasionally with few branches, 2.5-4.7 x 1.0-2.0 mm. Labellum 3-lobed; mid-lobe distinctly spathulate, in outline ± cordate when outspread or ± crescent-shaped when folded, margin uneven, subacute, 5-nerved, mid-nerve area ± thickened; side-lobes erect, oblong, the inner sides distinctly thickened, the thickenings in plane with the lobes or slightly protruding, wedge-shaped, spur entrance ± narrowed by an U-shaped ridge-like extension from the thickenings, 2.3-4.5 x 1.9-4.7 mm, mid-lobe alone up to 3 mm long; spur long, ± straight in early anthesis, at late anthesis ± incurved apically, tapering to a distinct, ± discoidal apical inflation, 4.4—7.2 mm long. Column short, distinctly recurved, ± truncate, dorsally slightly prolonged into a ± acute beak, 1.3-1.9 mm long, 1.3-1.8 mm high; androclinium shallowly excavated, ± horizontally orientated; rostellum lobes very long, acute, inserted just below androclinium, distinctly bifid at the outermost 1/5 of the total length, variously connate to the base, apically ± pappilose, ± porrect in anthesis, in early anthesis pointing into spur mouth, c. 4.6-5.6 mm long, at the base each lobe c. 0.2 mm wide. Anther hemispherical in side view, distinctly bival-vate dorsally, in back view heart-shaped, tapering to a straight, short, ± acute or subapiculate apex with a ± erose margin, c. 2.5-3.2 x 1.0-2.7 mm. Pollinia asymmetric, in side view ± orbicular to obovate, up to c. 1.2 x 1.0 mm, in median section ± obovate to elliptic, c. 0.8 mm thick. Stipes long, ligulate, ± straight; apical parts free with a distinct conical ± massive head-like apex, channelled; basal part connate with the viscidium to its apex, indistinctly concave, c. 4.8 mm long (total length up to 6 mm); viscidium ensiform, base truncate, c. 2.1 x 0.5 mm. Capsule long, ± narrowly ellipsoid, slightly curved, c. 33 xc. 4 mm,pedicel short, ± straight, c. 4 mm long (one capsule seen). Seeds ± cylindrical, bottle-shaped to fusiform, testa cells narrowly elongate (in a dry state), with club-shaped and more sparsely with hook-shaped processes; anticlinal walls sulcate with few to many finer striations, terminal ends slightly protruding, (270-)330-440-460) x 50-70 µm (25 dry seeds measured).
It was named in honour of the American botanist, William Sanford, who made many contributions to the study of orchids and their ecology in Nigeria and Cameroon.
Epiphyte, mainly on the tips of branches, in riverine forest; 800-1000 m.
Recorded from the beginning of the early rainy season.
As given for the genus.
WCSP (2017). 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. 03.03-2017; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
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