AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Benthamia boiteaui Hervouet, Adansonia, sér. 3, 36: 213 (2014).
Description:
Terrestrial herb with erect, cylindrical, and green stems 33-38 cm long, 0.2 cm in diameter. One or two sheaths at the stem base, 2 to 3 leaves in the lower ⅔ of the stem length. Leaves sheathing, thin, flexible, linear, acute, 50-130 × 5-8 mm. One or two sterile bracts in upper part of stem, linear, acute, 15-30 × 2-3 mm. Inflorescence terminal, erect, 17-33 flowered. Rachis 5-8 cm long. Bracts acicular, longer than ovary, 6-11 × 2 mm. Flowers white, resupinate. Dorsal sepal elliptic, obtuse with slightly concave rounded apex, 3-5 mm long, 2-3 mm wide. Lateral sepals elliptic, 4-5 × 2-3 mm, with one visible vein, slightly keeled dorsally, slightly ventrally concave, apex rounded or subacute, margin smooth. Petals elliptic, 3-4 × 2 mm, with one visible vein, apex rounded or subacute, margin smooth or slightly irregular. Lip 3-lobed, 3-4 × 2.5-3.0 mm, side lobes acute, 0.5 mm, middle lobe slightly inflated, 1.0-1.3 mm long, spur green, very short and obtuse, touching the ovary. Ovary 6-7 mm long, 2-3 mm in diameter. Pollinia 2.
Etymology:
This species is dedicated to Pierre Boiteau (19111980), collector of the type. He was a professor, botanist and director of the Tsimbazaza botanical and zoological garden in Antananarivo, from 1935 to 1947. As a whole he produced about 700 articles and ten books. During the month of April 1941, he did a 10-day field survey of Betsileo country, Mount Tsitondroina and Mount Ambondrombe. More than 700 herbarium specimens and 250 living plants were brought back to Tsimbazaza.

Habitat:
This species seems restricted to high altitude areas with patches of prairies among granite or gneiss outcrops, interspersed with ericoid shrubs and small trees, or mossy forest. It is known so far only from the higher altitudes of the Ambondrombe Mountain (Haute Matsiatra region) from 1700 to 1900 m, on wet rocks in full sun or in more shaded areas in the mossy forest.
Phenology:
Fowers in March and April, with Benthamia herminioides Schltr. In Ambondrombe in the same area the terrestrial Disa brevicornis (Lindley) Bolus and the epiphytic Eulophiella galbana (Ridley) Bosser & Morat flower in January (Guérin & Hervouet 2013), Jumellea ibityana Schltr. flowers in March (Guérin & Hervouet 2011).
Distribution:
Madagascar
References:
Two new species of the genus Benthamia A. Rich. (Orchidaceae) from Madagascar, B. boiteaui Hervouet, sp. nov. and B. bosseri Hervouet, sp. nov.by Jean-Michel HERVOUET, Pascal DESCOURVIÈRES, Félicitée REJO FIENENA Jaona RANAIVO, ADANSONIA, sér. 3 • 2014