Tridactyle thomensis P.J.Cribb & Stévart, Kew Bull. 59: 199 (2004).
Description:
Epiphytic herb; stem up to 100 cm, 4 - 5 mm in diameter, pendulous, covered with old leaf base, few branched; roots 3 - 4 mm in diameter. Leaves thintextured, 4 - 14, 2.3 - 3.2 cm apart, linear, twisted at base to lie in one plane, keeled on the lower face, 7.1 - 13 x 0.6 - 1.1 cm, unequally roundly bilobed, lobes 1 - 9 mm long. Inflorescences up to 6, patent, arising opposite the leaves or on the stem below the old leaf bases, 2.2 - 3.1 cm long, 7 - 10-flowered; rachis in zig-zag, almost quadrangular in section. Flowers distichous, white; pedicel and ovary 2 - 2.5 mm long, twisted at the base, sometimes papillose; bracts triangular, amplexicaul around the twisted base of the pedicel, 1.5 - 2.5 mm long. Dorsal sepal ovate to oblong, acute, 2.2 - 2.5 x 1.5 mm. Lateral sepals obliquely ovate, apiculate, 2.2 x 1.2 mm. Petals linearspathulate, acute, 2.5 x 0.2 mm, bidentate toward the apex. Lip obovate, trilobed in the apical part, 1.7 x 1- 2.2 mm, slightly auriculate at the base; side lobes very short, triangular, erose; midlobe triangular, 0.2- 0.7 mm long, curved upwards; spur straight or sigmoid, compressed, slightly swollen at the apex, apex obtuse, 7.8 - 8.5 x 1.3 mm. Column 1 mm high.
Etymology:
Tridactyle thomensis is named after the island of Sáo Tomé.
Habitat:
Old plantations and secondary forest; 0 - 830 m. Epiphyte on branches and trunks of trees, in particular on Dracaena arborea K. Koch.
Cultivation:
It is easy to grow under shady conditions. Flowering period; January, November, December.
Notes:
Tridactyle thomensis, belonging to a group with short to medium (1- 4 cm long) inflorescences and an usually trilobed lip (Summerhayes 1948), is related to Tridactyle fusifera from which it differs in its straight or sigmoid, longer, terete spur and bidentate petals.
Distribution:
São Tomé
References:
World Checklist of Monocotyledons. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.kew.org/wcsp/monocots/ accessed 21.03.2017
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