Neobathiea comet-halei Hermans & P.J.Cribb, Kew Bull. 69(2)-9517: 7 (2014).
Small semi-erect,epiphytic herb.Stem unbranched, short, ﬂattened, 5 mm long, 3 mm in diam., covered in persistent scarious, heavily ridged leaf-sheaths below; roots round, smooth 2 – 3 mm in diam. Leaves coriaceous, oblong-spatulate or elliptic, obscurely unequally2-lobedattheapex,32–46 mm long,12–14mm broad, smooth. Inﬂorescence single-ﬂowered, axillary; peduncle up to 40 mm long, 1 mm in diam., with a small brown triangular 3 mm long, 2 mm wide bract; pedicel32mmlong,with a small 3 mm long,2 mm wide embryonic ﬂower and bract at the end. Flowers 21 mm long,17 mm wide not including the spur, the sepals and petals greenish-yellow becoming darker toward the base, the lip and spur a paler greenish yellow, all segments turning yellower with age, the column wings white, slightly glossy; pedicel and ovary 22 mm long, round, slightly ridged. Dorsal sepal lanceolate, 11 mm long, 3 mm wide; lateral sepals spathulate-lanceolate, 8.8 mm long, 2.8 mm wide. Petals lanceolate, 10 mmlong, 4 mm wide. Lip entire, ovate-lanceolate, 15 mm long, 9 mm wide, with a broad trumpet-shaped mouth to the spur; spur 60 mm long, parallel with the column. Column short, ﬂeshy, 2 mm long, 4 mm wide, auriculate at the apex; rostellum short and ﬂeshy; pollinia 2, globose, 3 mm in diam.
In reference to the shape of the ﬂower and to the comet Hale-Bopp which was visible during the year the new species was discovered.
Epiphyte in remnants of low elevation evergreen humid forest. On small trees covered in lichen and moss, in deep shade.
As given for the genus.
This species is easily distinguished from Neobathiea grandidieriana (Rchb. f.) Garay and N. keraudrenae Toill.-Gen. & Bosser, the other species in the genus with an entire lip. Both of them have larger ﬂowers and a much longer spur (N. keraudrenae up to 13 cm long, N. grandidieriana up to 14 cm long) and their sepals and petals are reﬂexed and of a different shape.
New species and new names in Malagasy orchids (Orchidaceae) by Johan Hermans & Phillip Cribb, KEW BULLETIN (2014) 69: 9517; WCSP (2017). 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. 09.03-2017; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
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