Liparis bulbophylloides H.Perrier, Notul. Syst. (Paris) 5: 242 (1936).
Very small epiphytic plant up to 2.5 cm high, caespitose, rhizomatous epiphyte up to 10 – 15 cm long, the growths 5 – 25 mm apart, rhizome 1 – 3 mm diam. covered in brownish papery sheaths, roots 0.3 – 1 mm diam., somewhat hairy, the tips glabrous. Pseudobulbs, small, oval, 8 – 16 mm long, c. 5 mm diam., base covered by a membranous sheath 5 × 4 mm, carrying 2 leaves at the apex. Leaves ovate subsessile, rounded at the base and shortly acute at the apex, 10 – 18 × 8 – 15 mm. Inflorescence erect from the centre of the new growth, 3 – 10 cm tall carrying 3 – 10 flowers and buds. Peduncle with several bract-like sheaths. Rachis somewhat twisted, flowers 4 – 12 mm apart. Floral bracts green, with rounded wings, acute at the tip, single-veined and about 1/3 the length of the pedicellate ovary, 4 – 6 × 3 – 4 mm. Flowers small, overall c. 8 × 5 mm, opening in succession, all segments recurved at the margins, pale yellow-green with the lip darker yellow-green, column white, pollinia yellow, flowers becoming brownish-orange with age, flower buds bulging at the base. Pedicel and ovary ridged, 5.5 – 8 × 0.6 – 1.2 mm. Dorsal sepal folded backwards, lanceolate, slightly acute, 4.2 – 6.8 × 1 – 1.6 mm. Lateral sepals folded underneath the lip, oblong to oval, obtuse 3.1 – 5 × 1.8 – 2.5 mm. Petals linear, single veined, 4 – 6 × 0.4 – 0.8 mm. Lip suborbicular, trisinuate, narrowed and slightly auriculate at the base and incurved from the middle, the blade opaque with a few obscure veins, a distinct (0.5 mm) rounded cylindrical or bilobed callus at the base, 3 – 4.1 × 3.1 – 4 mm. Column arched, the wings strongly expanded at the side of the stigmatic surface into prominent angular membranous lobes, then decurrent lower down, rostellum with a very small central tooth, 3 – 3.8 × 1 mm. Anther extended at the front by a rounded semi-cylindrical beak almost the same size as the cap, 1 – 1.3 × 0.5 – 0.7 mm. Pollinia four, fused together in two pairs, oblong, 0.3 – 0.4 × 0.2 mm.
Refers to the shape of the pseudobulbs and plant habit similar to some species of the orchid genus Bulbophyllum.
Exclusively as an epiphyte in humid evergreen forest, amongst mosses on tree branches. Altitude: 600 – 1100 m.
January to March.
The species is one of the few truly epiphytic Liparis in the region. In habit it resembles species of Bulbophyllum Thouars (1822: t.3) with two small oval apical leaves and a small rounded pseudobulb on a long rhizome. The flowers are small, the lip is suborbicular with a rounded callus at the base, the column has obtuse transparent wings, the anther cap has a semi-cylindrical obtuse beak almost as large as the cap itself; somewhat resembling a baseball cap.
Liparis ambohimangana is similar but has a true stolon rather than a rhizome, a single leaf vs two and the anther is not beaked.
The species was first described by Perrier from a collection made by Henri Humbert in Eastern Madagascar. It has since been found in a wide area along the Eastern mountain range of the Island.
As given for the genus, warm growing epiphyte.
Endemic to Madagascar
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; Orchids of Madagascar Du Puy, Hermans, Cribb & Boser 2007; A Field Guide to the orchids of Madagascar Hermans & Cribb 2009; Malaxideae (Orchidaceae) in Madagascar, the Mascarenes, Seychelles and Comoro Islands Kew Bulletin volume 75, Article number: 1 (2020)
Click on each image to see a larger version.