AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Benthamia bosseri Hervouet, Adansonia, sér. 3, 36: 217 (2014).
Description:
Terrestrial herb with erect cylindrical stems 21-71 cm long, green or purple (on same plant), 2-5 mm in diameter. One or two sheaths at base of the stem, 2 to 3 leaves in the lower part of the stem. Leaves sheathing at their base, thin, flexible, linear, acute, 50-140 × 5-10 mm. Two to three sterile bracts in upper part of stem, linear, acute, 13-25 × 2-3 mm. Inflorescence terminal, arching, 20-50 flowered. Rachis 7-19 cm long. Floral bracts decurrent, acicular, reddish, as long as ovary + flower, 7-12 × 2 mm. Flowers secund, yellow and reddish, not resupinate, drooping downward, seemingly semipeloric. Sepals similar, reddish, linear, concave, 3-3.5 × 1 mm, with a central vein, dorsally slightly keeled. Petals linear, yellow, similar to sepals but slightly narrower, slightly thickened at apex, 3-3.5 × 0.8-1 mm. Lip 3-lobed (a feature hardly visible on rehydrated material), 3-4 × 0.8-1 mm, mid lobe thickened at apex, 1 mm long, side lobes slightly shorter than mid lobe, thickened on fresh material, flat and folded on lip when dried, spur very short (1 mm), somewhat discoid. Ovary greenish or reddish, 3 mm long (fresh flower) to 10 mm (fruit), 1-2 mm in diameter. Column terete, very short (0.9-1 mm). Pollinia 2.
Etymology:
This species is dedicated to Jean Bosser, who collected it in the Andringitra massif and advised us to publish its description. Jean Bosser, from the year 1960 on, described, mostly in this journal, around 120 new species of orchids from the Madagascar Mascarene area and was thus very instrumental in the advancement of our current knowledge of Orchidaceae in this region. Jean Bosser sadly passed away on 6th December 2013, during the review process of this paper.
Habitat:
This species was found growing in the same habitat as B. boiteaui Hervouet, sp. nov. on Ambondrombe massif, but has also been collected in Andringitra National Park (about 60 km from Ambondrombe in the south-west direction) with a similar habitat on large prairies and rocks.
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