AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis rufina (Ridl.) Rchb.f. ex Rolfe in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 7: 19 (1897).
Homotypic Names:
Liparis elata var. rufina Ridl., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 22: 260 (1886).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Liparis bicornis Ridl., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 21: 458 (1885).
Leptorkis bicornis (Ridl.) Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 671 (1891).
Liparis nyassana Schltr., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 53: 560 (1915).
Description:
Medium to small erect terrestrial or lithophyte plant 10 – 22 cm tall, normally consisting of a single new growth and a disintegrating short rhizome, pseudobulb and sheaths from the previous season, roots thin and soft. Pseudobulbs elongate-conical, 8 – 15 × 6 – 8 mm, covered by brownish-grey fibrous sheaths, generally carrying 3 leaves (rarely 2 or 4) with the base overlapping and without a distinct petiole. Leaves lanceolate, fairly rigid, erect, a little attenuate, plicate, contracted, acute, 6 – 12 × 1.5 – 5.2 cm. Inflorescence up to 28 cm long, carrying 10 – 25 flowers. Peduncle extending above the leaves, carrying 2 – 3 peduncle sheaths, 3 – 5 × 1.5 mm. Rachis1/3 to ¼ of the inflorescence, densely to sub-densely flowered. Floral bracts linear-lanceolate acute, a little shorter than the ovary, 2 – 6 × 0.8 – 1.5 mm. Flowers small, overall c. 7 × 6 mm, greenish becoming reddish on wilting, petals and sepals somewhat transparent, lip reddish-brown. Pedicel and ovary 6 – 9 × 1 – 1.2 mm, obscurely winged. Dorsal sepal oblong-lanceolate obtuse recurved at the tip, 4.2 – 6.5 × 1.2 – 2 mm. Lateral sepals oval-lanceolate obtuse, 3.9 – 4.2 × 2 – 2.7 mm. Petals linear-obtuse folded backwards, 4.5 – 5.3 × 0.5 – 0.8 mm. Lip ovate-obcuneate, emarginate, somewhat depressed in the centre and the margins thickened and rounded, with three distinct central veins, slightly auriculate at the base, carrying a distinct 2-horned callus near the base, flanking the column, 3.4 – 4 × 2.9 × 41 mm, the horn-like calli c. 0.8 mm long. Column thick, very slightly curved, broadened at the apex, slightly winged, 2 – 2.8 × 0.7 – 1 mm. Anther ovate-obtuse c. 1 × 1 mm. Pollinia c. 0.5 mm.
Etymology:
The name refers to the two distinct horns at the base of the lip.
Habitat:
Wet marshy slopes, rocky outcrops. Altitude: 1300 – 1500 m
Phenology:
January to June.
Recognition:
Liparis rufina is distinguished by having a single flowering growth with the previous year’s growth disintegrated, erect leaves, a tall inflorescence with many small flowers, with an obcuneate emarginated lip with two small but distinct calli at the base and an anther with a rounded margin.
In habit it is similar to Liparis densa but that differs in its lip shape (ovate-obcuneate vs obovate-oblong) and lack of distinct calli at the base of its lip. Its lip is similar to that of Liparis perrieri but the anterior lip margin in that species is dentate rather than rounded.
Notes:
The species was first found on wet mountain slopes by the German collector Johann Hildebrandt in 1881, a few months before he died in Madagascar. The type locality of the ‘Imerina’ area normally refers to the Madagascan Highlands around the capital Antananarivo. Henry Ridley acquired some of Hildebrandt’s herbarium and described the new species four years later and is clearly based on the BM specimen. In line with much of Hildebrandt’s herbarium the collections were widely sold or distributed around Europe, in this instance G, K, M, P, W and WU.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus.
Distribution:
Endemic to Madagascar
References:
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; Malaxideae (Orchidaceae) in Madagascar, the Mascarenes, Seychelles and Comoro Islands Kew Bulletin volume 75, Article number: 1 (2020)
Images:
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