AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis harketii Killmann & Eb.Fisch., Orchidee (Hamburg) 58: 738 (2007 publ. 2008).
Description:
Small epiphytic herb with shoots up to 5-8 cm high arising at intervals of 2-5 cm from a slender terete creeping rhizome. Roots slender, arising at base of shoots and at intervals along rhizome. Pseudobulbs fleshy, up to 18 mm high, 2-3 mm in diameter at base, with 2-3 sheathing leaves and usually 4-5 larger leaves. Leaves light green, at base with a narrow and distinct pseudopetiole, 10-15 mm long and 2 mm wide, lamina lanceolate-ovate, with distinctly undulated margin, longly acuminate at apex, 28-30 mm long and 10 mm wide at base, tapering to 6 mm towards apex. Inflorescence with 3-8 flowers, 35-40 mm long, longer or shorter than the leaves, bracts triangular, 3-4 x 1.5 mm. Ovary and pedicel up to 5 mm long. Flowers dark reddish purple. Dorsal sepal up to 5.5 mm long and 1.3 mm wide at the aurlcled base, tapering to an obtuse apex; lateral sepals united almost to apex, 4-4.5 x 2 mm, rounded, curved down beneath lip. Petals linear, up to 4 mm long and 0.5-0.8 mm wide, rounded at apex. Lip with a bilobed callus, distinctly bllobed and flabellate, up to 2-2.2 mm long and 5 mm wide, lobes 3 mm long and 1.8 mm wide, margin coarsely dentate. Column slender, terete, winged at the apex, up to 3-4 mm long.
Etymology:
This species is dedicated to Morten HARKET, Oslo, for his support of nature protection and his orchid enthusiasm.
Habitat:
Liparis harketii is found as an epiphyte growing in moss cushions under very humid conditions. At the type locality in Rwanda, the plant is found in large stands from 1-5 m above soil on trees in a steep valley close to Kamiranzovu River and its rapids. Thus a special humid climate is maintained over most of the year. Due to its small size the species can be confused with ferns when sterile. However, at the end of the dry season (September and October), the leaves are caducous and only the shrinkled pseudobulbs persist. At this state the species may easily be overlooked.
Notes:
Liparis harketii is generally much smaller than Li-paris deistelii, the leaves are distinctly undulate and bear a long and narrow pseudopetiole. The lip is more elongate and only 1,8 mm high, and the lobes bear coarse teeth at the margin. Despite the distinctive characters, a specimen in Meise (BR, Congo, Rwenzori, Lanuri, 1700-1800 m, sur tronc pourri ombragé, 1.VI.1914, BEQUAERT 4629) has been identified by SUMMER-HAYES (1951) as Liparis odontochilos Summerh., which is nowadays considered as a synonym of Liparis deistelii. It was also cited under Liparis deistelii by GEERINCK (1984). However, the specimen shows all the characters mentioned above and represents a typical Liparis harketii.
Distribution:
Rwanda(Liparis harketii is an Albertine Rift Endemic, so far only known from the foot of the Rwenzori Mountains in Eastern Congo and from Nyungwe National Park, both at about 1800 m.)
References:
Liparis harketii, a new epiphytic species from Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda,Die Orchidee 58(6):739,2007, PRIDGEON, A. M„ CRIBB, P. J„ CHASE, M. W. & F. N. RASMUSSEN, (2005): Genera Orchida-cearum, Vol. 4 Epidendroideae (Part One) :1-672.,SUMMERHAYES, V. (1951): New orchids from Africa; Botanical Museum Leaflets, Harvard University 14:215-239