Stanhopea greerii

Jenny 2000

Native to Peru
Edited 29 June 2007

Image provided by Troy Meyers
Stanhopea greerii, photo by Troy Meyers

Stanhopea greerii Jenny, a new orchid species from Peru.

by Rudolf Jenny
[republished from The Australian Orchid Review 2000 by permission of David P. Banks, Ed.]

For many years, much literature states that Stanhopea wardii also occurs in Peru, in spite of the fact that this species never was collected in Southern Colombia and in Ecuador, that means between Peru and the ‘classic’ distribution area in Northern Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Charles Schweinfurth mentioned and illustrated a species as Stanhopea wardii in his Orchid Flora of Peru (C. Schweinfurth, 1958). He published two different drawings, one of a plant and inflorescence (fig. 118) and a second one only of the lip and column (fig. 160). We don’t know on what material the first drawing (fig. 118) was based and unfortunately the drawing is not clear enough to decide whether the material is the same as Schweinfurth used for the second drawing (fig.160) of the lip, but we know that the drawing of the lip is based on material collected by Klug near Moyobamba in Peru. The lip of this plant is definitely not identical with the concept of Lindleys’s Stanhopea wardii. The hypochile is longer and the angle of the hypochile is 90° and not less as in the true Stanhopea wardii sensu Lindley. Schweinfurth declared Stanhopea anfracta Rolfe and Stanhopea peruviana Rolfe as synonyms of Stanhopea wardii, a decision which is certainly not correct as we have learned since the publication of the Orchid Flora of Peru.

Some years ago I received pickled material and slides of an unknown plant collected in Peru from Roger Kramer in Australia. The flower was very similar to Stanhopea wardii but careful comparison with about 15 different clones of Stanhopea wardii from Costa Rica, Northern Colombia, Venezuela and Nicaragua showed clear differences in the morphology of the lip, although the colour of the flower was not far off from the typical Stanhopea wardii.

Based on a single plant I hesitated to describe a new species but comparison with the material collected by Klug later illustrated by Schweinfurth showed the identity of Kramer’s unknown species and Schweinfurth’s drawings, erroneously determinated by the author as Stanhopea wardii Lindley. Later, Kramer illustrated this undescribed plant in an article about Stanhopea (Kramer, 1996) and also by Barney Greer (Greer, 1998) in his fabulous The Astonishing Stanhopeas in 1998. About five years later I was sent material of another clone from the collection of Dick Hartley in England. Originally, this plant came from the collection of Henry Oakeley and was collected in Peru, unfortunately we don’t have any further information about the locality. It was immediately clear that it was again the same species. Both plants of which we have seen living material show the same unusual (for Stanhopea wardii) long inflorescence with only a few flowers, arranged very loosely and not clustered together as in Stanhopea wardii. Whether the new species is an old segregate from Stanhopea wardii and whether this species has disappeared in Ecuador and Southern Colombia is unknown. Certainly, the following proposed new species, Stanhopea greerii is very closely allied to Stanhopea wardii and Stanhopea inodora. Until now we have no confirmed information about fragrance and pollinator.

Maturing seed capsules after 109 days
[Image provided by Troy Meyers]
Stanhopea greerii pods; photo by Troy Meyers

Stanhopea greerii Jenny spec.nov.

Stanhopea wardii similis, sed hypochilum valde longius, in medium per angulum 90° deflexum, flexus basalis laevigatis, non angulus scaber similisut in Stanhopea wardii; callus distinctus, infra hypochilium protrudens, in mesochilio projectus; hypochilium aurantiaco-luteum, mesochilum et epichilum album; inflöorescentia multo longior ut in Stanhopea wardii, valde laxissima pauciflora.

Type: Peru, sin.loc., ex cult. R.Kramer, Wilton, Australia, 16.3.1995 (Kramer 500), G & Herb. Jenny

Other material: Sin.loc, ex cult. Hartley (Henry Oakeley), England, photos Herb. Jenny
Peru, San Martin, Zepelacio, near Moyobamba, ca.1100 m, mountain forest, col. Klug no.3617 & 3684 (illustrated by Schweinfurth 1958 as Stanhopea wardii)

Description: Plant epiphytic with creeping rhizome and clustered growths. Pseudobulbs oval, strongly ribbed when aged and furrowed, 4-6cm high and 3-4cm wide, always unifoliate. Leaves coarse and leathery, petiolate, lanceolate, plicate and acute, 30-40cm long and 12-15 cm wide, petiole round and one-sided notched, 10-12cm long.
Inflorescence directed downwards from the base of the bulb, up to 15cm long and with 2-5 loosely arranged flowers. Entire inflorescence covered by large, spread out broadly triangular and acute bracts. Ovarium up to 5cm long and 0.5-0.6cm in diameter, very finely black pilose.
Flowers 6-7cm large in all, sepals and petals yellow to golden yellow with fine red dots. Hypochile orange-yellow without markings, with sharply deliminated, almost black eyespots, mesochile and epichile white without spots. Column white.
Dorsal sepal oval, concave, acute, 4-4.5cm long and 2-3cm wide in the middle. Lateral sepals lightly asymmetric, broadly lanceolate, acute, 4-5cm long and 2.5-3cm wide at the broadest part in the basic third, folded backwards. Petals oblanceolate, acute, undulate, 4-4.5cm long and 2cm wide in the middle, folded backwards between dorsal and lateral sepals.
Lip 5cm long in all and 2 cm wide, hypochile distinctly narrower than epichile, saccate, flat at bottom, only slightly dented, protruding toward mesochile, on top with distinct knee of 90°, opening ovate, bridge at base narrow wide and towards front lightly triangularly widened, with sharp edge. Transition to mesochile on top with a sharp edge running all round, with a small tridentate, flat callus in the centre. Horns narrow at base and widening towards front, acute, ovate in diameter. Epichile broadly ovate with sharp apex towards front.
Column slender, slightly curved, in the front two thirds rounded and winged, then again getting narrower. At apex lightly widened and ending both sides of the anther in two blunt, somewhat protruding small horns, 4-4.2cm long and 1.2-1.5cm wide at the broadest part. Pollinia 2, narrow, club-shaped on narrow stipes and ovate to cordate, one-sidedly extended viscidium, pollinia 0.4 cm long, entire pollinarium 0.7cm long.

Variability: Not known because we have seen only two clones.

Distribution: Stanhopea greerii was collected by Klug near Moyomamba in the San Marcos region, we don’t know where exactly in Peru the plant used as type from the collection of Kramer was collected and we have no origin of the plant from the Hartley collection. Probably Stanhopea greerii is endemic for Peru.< br>

Image provided by David P. Banks

Etymology: It gives me great pleasure to name this new species after John Bernard (Barney) Greer, of Sydney, Australia. Barney is the author of The Astonishing Stanhopeas and has been instrumental in promoting interest in the genus Stanhopea in Australia.

Literature Cited: [by Jenny]

DODSON, C.H. (1967b), El Genero Stanhopea en Colombia; Orquideologia; 2:7-27.

DODSON, C.H. (1975a), Clarification of some nomenclature in the genus Stanhopea; Selbyana: 1:46-55.

DUNSTERVILLE, G.C.K. & L.A. GARAY (1959), Stanhopea eburnea Lindl., Stanhopea wardii Lodd. ex Lindl.; Venezuelan Orchids Illustrated; 1:408-409.

GREER, B. (1998), The Astonishing Stanhopeas p.65.

KRAMER, R. (1996), Ghost, Goblins and Dragons, part 6 - Update; Orchids Australia; 8(3):34 – 37.

MORA de RETANA, D.E. & J.T.ATWOOD (1993), Orchids of Costa Rica part 3; Icones Plantarum Tropicarum; 16: t.1589 - t.1595.

SCHWEINFURTH, Ch. (1958), Orchids of Peru; Fieldiana Botany; 30:606 – 612, fig.118 & 160.

Rudolf Jenny
Moosweg 9, 3112 Allmendingen, Switzerland.

Additional literature:

Stanhopea greeri R. Jenny in Austral. Orchid Rev. 65(3): 6, as 'greerii', contrary to Art. 37.5 ICBN (1994). [Index Kewensis considers this an invalid name, citing the Intl Code of Botanical Nomenclature]

Rod Rice (200?) "Stanhopea greerii nom inval.," Oasis The Journal, 1(4).

José Roque and Blanca León (December 2006) "Orchidaceae endemicas del Perú," in: Rev. Peru. Biol., 13(2): 759s-878s. Link: [Stanhopea deltoidea, greeri, haseloviana, manriquei, marizaiana, moliana, naurayi, nigripes, peruviana]

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