AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Stichorkis distichis Thouars, Hist. Orchid.: t. 89 (1822).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Malaxis disticha Thouars, Hist. Orchid.: t. 89 (1822).
Liparis disticha (Thouars) Lindl., Bot. Reg. 11: t. 882 (1825).
Liparis gregaria Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 33 (1830), nom. superfl.
Cestichis disticha (Thouars) Pfitzer in H.G.A.Engler & K.A.E.Prantl (eds.), Nat. Pflanzenfam. 2(6): 131 (1888).
Leptorkis disticha (Thouars) Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 671 (1891).
Stichorkis disticha (Thouars) Pfitzer in H.G.A.Engler & K.A.E.Prantl (eds.), Nat. Pflanzenfam., Nachtr. 1: 103 (1897), nom. superfl.
Disticholiparis disticha (Thouars) Marg. & Szlach., Orchidee (Hamburg) 55: 178 (2004), incorrect basionym cited.
Disticholiparis gregaria Marg. & Szlach., Orchidee (Hamburg) 55: 178 (2004), nom. superfl.
Description:
Medium-sized, erect epiphytic or lithophytic plant up to 20 cm high, on a short, branching rhizome, roots thin, wiry. Pseudobulbs ovoid to pyriform, more or less angular, 8 – 15 × 5 – 12 mm, covered with 3 – 5 lanceolate-acute sheaths, the upper ones longer (up to 25 mm), disintegrating with age, a single leaf at the apex. Leaf linear, bilobulate-acute at the apex, longly attenuate at the base, 12 – 20 × 0.9 – 1.5 cm. Inflorescence terminal, more or less arching, 8 – 18 cm long with up to 20 flowers. Peduncle thin, about 2/3 of the inflorescence, with 1 – 3 amplectant sheaths. Rachis flattened, covered with prominent floral bracts, 1 – 5 cm long. Floral bracts distichous, initially partly overlapping becoming distant with age, some without flower, greenish-yellow, persistent, oval acute, 3 – 6.5 × 1.5 – 1.8 mm. Flowers medium in size, overall av. 12 × 6 mm, 2 to 10, opening in succession, sepal and petals greenish yellow to orange, lip darker yellow to dark orange. Pedicel and ovary cylindrical, recurved at the base, 6 – 9 × 0.8 – 2 mm. Dorsal sepal reclined and almost parallel with the ovary, narrowly oval, acute, 4.5 – 7 × 2 – 2.5 mm. Lateral sepals descending, the margins recurved obliquely oval-acute, 5 – 7 × 2.1 – 3.2 mm. Petals erect, margins recurved, linear obtuse, 3.8 – 7 × 1.1 × 1.5 mm, sometimes a little wider at the tip. Lip pandurate, recurved at the base, the margins forming two rounded lobes, at the angular basal part carrying 2 small calli, the middle inflexed, the terminal part triangular-acute, recurved, 3.6 – 5.5 × 2 – 4.1 mm. Column triangular with the base very broad, wings triangular-acute towards the apex, 2.1 – 3 × 1.1 – 2 mm. Anther oval, with a small lobule at the anterior margin, c. 0.4 × 0.5 mm. Pollinia ovate, in two parts, c. 0.3 × 0.2 mm. Seed capsule ovoid, triangular, 8 – 10 × 4 – 5 mm.
Etymology:
Refers to the distichous habit of the rachis and floral bracts.
Recognition:
Stichorkis disticha is a medium-sized pseudobulbous epiphyte with a single linear leaf, flattened rachis, with large distichous floral bracts, medium-sized, and orange-yellow flowers, with a pandurate lip with two calli at the base, column that is broad at the base, and has triangular wings.
Habitat:
Dense humid forest, evergreen forest, locally forming small populations on tree trunks, main branches or rock in undergrowth. Altitude: 300 – 1400 m.
Flowering time:
Throughout the year but mainly from December to March.
Distribution:
Comoros (Grande Comore, Anjouan), Mauritius and Réunion
References:
Historie Particulier des Plantes Orchidees Recueilles Sur Trois Iles Australes d'Afrique Thouars 1822; Malaxideae (Orchidaceae) in Madagascar, the Mascarenes, Seychelles and Comoro Islands Kew Bulletin volume 75, Article number: 1 (2020)
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ 
liparis disticha 01  liparis disticha 02  liparis disticha 03  liparis disticha 04  liparis disticha 05  liparis disticha 06 
Photograph ©Frederic
Henze. Image used with
kind permission. 
Photograph ©Frederic
Henze. Image used with
kind permission. 
Photograph ©Frederic
Henze. Image used with
kind permission. 
Photograph ©Frederic
Henze. Image used with
kind permission. 
Photograph ©Frederic
Henze. Image used with
kind permission. 
Photograph ©Frederic
Henze. Image used with
kind permission.