AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Eulophiella longibracteata Hermans & P.J.Cribb, Kew Bull. 69(2)-9517: 3 (2014).
Description:
Large epiphyte. Rhizome creeping, thick, rooting at the nodes, 15 – 20 mm in diam., roots smooth 3 – 4 mm in diam. Pseudobulbs large, cylindrical with several nodes, base covered by grey-brown sheaths, 8 – 12 cm long, 2 – 3 cm wide. Leaves 4 – 5, plicate, lanceolate, gradually acuminate, 15 – 35 cm long, 2 – 5 cm wide. Inflorescence up to 30 cm long, arising from the base of the pseudobulbs, erect or suberect, racemose, carrying 30 to 50 flowers; peduncle 10 – 15 cm long, 10 – 12 mm in diam., dark reddish-brown, with 3 – 4 peduncle scales 4 – 5 cm long;floral bracts subulate to lanceolate, 22 – 32 mm long, 2.5 – 5 mm long, green. Flowers generally non-resupinate, 18 – 25 mm in diam., not opening completely, white with the exterior of the petals and sepals flushed deep pink, lip with the centre of the mid-lobe yellow, column white, anther dark brown; pedicel and ovary 14 × 3 mm, smooth, dark red becoming darker towards the base of the flower. Dorsal sepal concave, obovate, rounded, 11 – 14 mm long, 5 – 6 mm wide; lateral sepals concave with the margins incurved, elliptic, 11 – 14 mm long, 8 – 9 mm wide. Petals slightly concave, oblong to subspathulate, 12 – 15 mm long, 9 – 10 mm wide. Lip lacking a spur, 3-lobed; basal lobes rounded; mid-lobe rectangular or broadly ovoid; disc with 2 rounded parallel basal crests c. 10 mm long extended by 4 rows of small teeth along the central nerves, mid lobe distinctly papillose, 9 – 11 mm long, 8.5 – 9 mm wide. Column hemicylindrical, slightly concave on the front side with the lip articulate at the base, 7 – 9 mm long, 2 – 2.5 mm long; anther; subconical with a fleshy rounded crest at the front, 1.4 mm long, 0.8 mm wide; pollinia; hemispherical, flattened at the front, 0.7 mm long, 0.6 mm wide.
Etymology:
The name refers to the characteristic long floral bracts.
Habitat:
Endemic to NE Madagascar from where it has been reported only once from Nosy Mangabe in Antongil Bay growing as an epiphyte on unidentified palm trees. The area is in the perhumid climate region of Madagascar. Currently, plants are only know in cultivation in private collections in Madagascar and France.
Notes:
At first sight this species could be confused with Eulophiella perrieri Schltr. which is similar to E. elisabethae but with a thin, upright inflorescence and smaller flowers (Schlechter 1920). On examination of the type in Paris (Perrier 11373 = 126 changed to 136) it is obvious that Bosser & Morat (1969) were correct in reducing it to the synonymy of E. elisabethae. The type also originated from Antongil Bay but it lacks the dense and many-flowered inflorescence of the new species and also has the typical ovate floral bracts of E. elisabethae.
Distribution:
Madagascar
References:
New species and new names in Malagasy orchids (Orchidaceae) by Johan Hermans & Phillip Cribb, KEW BULLETIN (2014) 69: 9517