Catling, Paul M.; Salazar, Gerardo A.
September 1994
Acta Botanica Mexicana;1994, Issue 28, p41
Academic Journal
The terminal shape of the leaf was found to be correlated with other morphological features and with flower colour in the group of Lepanthes with black sheaths from Mexico and northern Central America. Plants with rounded-acute leaf tips, and the appendix inconspicuous and either with a solid portion less than 0.1 mm long or reduced to a tuft of hairs include Lepanthes nigriscapa R. E. Schult. & G. W. Dillon, L. quetzalensis Luer & Béhar and L. scopula Schltr.; L. inaequiloba Ames & C. Schweinf. has similar leaves but lacks entirely an appendix. Lepanthes nigriscapa is known only from the type material and is distinguished by a total absence of a solid appendix as well as by its divergent lateral sepals. Plants with acuminate leaves and prominent hairy appendix were first described by A. Richard and Galeotti as Pleurothallis disticha and later tranferred to Lepanthes by Garay and R. E. Schultes. Lepanthes oestlundiana R. E. Schult. & G. W. Dillon and L. pristidis Rchb. f. are best treated as synonyms of L. disticha. Material reported as Lepanthes inaequiloba Ames & C. Schweinf. from Belize and as L. turialvae Rchb.f. from Guatemala is all referable to L. disticha. Another species with acuminate leaves and black sheaths, Lepanthes hondurensis Ames, apparently endemic to Honduras, is closely related to L. disticha, but differs in having the lobes of the petals subequal, broadly elliptic or rounded, and a glabrous appendix. Typification, synonymy and a key to the species are included. It was realized that Pleurothallis disticha A. Rich. & Galeotti was actually a species of Lepanthes by Garay and Schultes, who published a new combination in the latter genus in a synopsis of the Mexican Lepanthes (Schultes and Dillon, 1959). However, this synopsis did little more than to apply the name to a plant and include the concept in a key. Nothing was added to the scanty original description and there was no indication of examination of type material making it unclear on what basis the name was applied. Furthermore the key provided by Schultes and Dillon did not place with L. disticha some plants that appeared to belong there. The work reported here was designed to establish the correct identity of Lepanthes disticha, to determine synonymy, and to compare L. disticha with some similar species with blackened sheaths, short inflorescences and ovate leaves, found in Mexico and northern Central America. While the latter is an instructive grouping it is not necessarily a natural group.


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