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A New Species of Orchids Discovered in Sichuan, China

2022-01-04

During the special investigation of wild orchid resources in Sichuan Province (the second National Key Protected Wild Plant Resources Survey), researchers from the East African Flora and Taxonomy Research Group of Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the staff of Wolong National Nature Reserve jointly named a new orchid species: Ponerorchis wolongensis G.W. Hu, Yue H. Cheng & Q. F. Wang, discovered in Wolong, Sichuan province. After Corallorhiza sinensis G.W. Hu & Q. F. Wang, this is the second new orchid species that has been named and published by this research group in Sichuan this year.  

The article was published on the international botanical academic journal Nordic Journal of Botany with the title of Ponerorchis wolongensis (Orchidaceae, Orchidinae), a new species with variable labellum from Hengduan Mountains, western Sichuan, China.  

Ponerorchis wolongensis is a weak herb with a height of 4.5-10.5 cm. Leaves 3-5, cauline, long lanceolate to linear, 8-22 × 1.5-2.5 mm. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, peduncle purplish red, 3-6-flowered. Flowers white, dorsal sepal free, ovate, ca. 2 × 1.5 mm, lateral sepals spreading to reflexed, ovate-elliptic, slightly oblique, ca. 3 × 2 mm. Petals small, erect, forming a hood, obliquely triangular-ovate, ca. 1.8 × 1.5 mm, labellum broad-obovate, white, greenish yellow at base, ca. 5-7.5 × 6 mm, concave at base, 3-lobed near middle, lateral lobes longer than mid-lobe (rarely equal), elliptic to oblong, ca. 2-3 × 1.5-2 mm, apex obtuse, mid-lobe elliptic to short ligulate, 1-2.5 × 1-1.5 mm, various, apex undulate; shallowly notched, sinus with a small acute tooth; sometimes deeply bifid, equally or unequally bi-lobulate; spur cylindric, greenish yellow, 1-1.5 mm long, apex rounded. Column short, inconspicuous. Flowering from August to September, and fruiting from September to early October. 

The specific epithet ‘wolongensis’ refers to the locality of the type specimen, Wolong National Nature Reserve. It grows on mossy stones, under mixed coniferous broad-leaved forest, at an elevation of ca. 2680 m. 

Morphologically, Ponerorchis wolongensis is similar to P. capitata in having a terminal raceme, short rachis, white flowers, and also in shape of sepals and petals. However, the new species can be easily distinguished from the latter by its long lanceolate to linear, 3-5-leaved blade, 8-22 × 1.5-2.5 mm; 3-6-flowered inflorescence, triangular-obovate or broad-obovate labellum, ca. 5-7.5 × 6 mm; and elliptic to short ligulate, mid-lobe, 1-2.5 × 1-1.5 mm, apex various (undulate; shallowly notched, sinus with a small acute tooth; sometimes deeply bifid, equally or unequally bi-lobulate). 

 

Ponerorchis wolongensis G.W. Hu, Yue H. Cheng & Q. F. Wang (Image by PENG Shuai)

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