AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis vulturiceps Hermans & P.J.Cribb, Kew Bull. 69(2)-9517: 4 (2014).
Description:
Medium-sized erect terrestrial or epiphytic plant, up to 20 cm, with a short rhizome; roots 2 – 3 mm diam., woolly. Pseudobulbs 8 – 18 cm long, 5 – 7 mm diam., caespitose, 2 – 3-leaved, largely covered by thin overlapping greenish-brown sheaths, 20 – 25 mm long. Leaves ovate, 2 – 8.2 × 1.5 – 4 cm, glossy, dark green with a short 5 – 10 mm petiole. Inflorescence terminal from the centre of the leaves of the new growth, 50 – 65 mm long, with 2 – 6 flowers. Peduncle ridged, 2 – 3 mm diam., pale green, with a scale 8 × 2 – 3 mm. Rachis 3 – 5 cm long. Floral bracts lanceolate 5 – 6 × 2 – 2.5 mm. Flowers medium in size, 14 × 9 mm, pale green becoming ochre with age, petals and column paler, main callus on lip dark green, the anther white, pollinia yellow. Pedicel and ovary twisted, smooth, pale green, 13 – 16 × 1 – 1.5 mm. Dorsal sepal strongly recurved against the ovary, linear, acuminate, 12 – 15 × 2 – 2.5 mm. Lateral sepals auriculate, the outer margin distinctly recurved, 10 – 13 × 5.5 – 6 mm. Petals folded against the back of the flower, linear, acuminate, 12 – 14 × 1 – 1.2 mm, margins recurved. Lip pandurate, 11 – 13 × 7 – 8 mm; lateral lobes rounded, small; mid-lobe flabellate, large with the anterior margin distinctly undulate; callus basal, large, 3-lobed, 3 – 5 mm long, its basal lobes rounded, erect, the mid-lobe clavate. Column erect, incurved in the apical half, wings expanded over the upper third becoming distinctly falcate at the tip, 4.5 × 2.3 mm. Anther oblanceolate, strongly ridged, with a short beak, 2 × 0.7 mm. Pollinia 2, pyriform, elongate, 0.9 × 0.3 mm.
Etymology:
Refers to the vulture-like appearance of the flower.
Recognition:
This is a medium-sized plant with a long thin pseudobulb and two (rarely three) fleshy leaves at the top, around five medium flowers with strongly recurved petals and dorsal sepals, petals auriculate and parallel with the lip, lip pandurate with a long rounded callus at the base, column with falcate wings.
Habitat:
Found in Eastern Madagascar, in degraded humid evergreen forest in leaf litter in dense shade. In leaf litter or on moss-covered tree-trunk. Altitude: around 1000 m.
Flowering time.
November to March.
Notes:
This new species is very different from any other Liparis; its strongly recurved petals and dorsal sepal, auriculate petals parallel with the lip, the shape and callus of its lip and its falcate column being quite distinct. The habit of the plant is somewhat similar to other bifoliate Madagascan Liparis, including Liparis listeroides Schltr. and Liparis longicaulis Ridl. but its pseudobulbs are generally shorter and the leaves thicker. The lip shows some similarity to those of Liparis ochracea Ridl., Liparis longicaulis Ridl. and Liparis puncticulata Ridl. but the plant, flower habit, lip calli and falcate column wings are all very different.
Distribution:
Endemic to Madagascar
References:
New species and new names in Malagasy orchids (Orchidaceae) by Johan Hermans & Phillip Cribb, KEW BULLETIN (2014) 69: 9517; Malaxideae (Orchidaceae) in Madagascar, the Mascarenes, Seychelles and Comoro Islands Kew Bulletin volume 75, Article number: 1 (2020)
Images:
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