AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Neobathiea comet-halei Hermans & P.J.Cribb, Kew Bull. 69(2)-9517: 7 (2014).
Description:
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.
Etymology:
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.
Habitat:
Epiphyte in remnants of low elevation evergreen humid forest. On small trees covered in lichen and moss, in deep shade.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus.
Notes:
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.
Distribution:
Madagascar
References:
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/
Images:
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