Epidendrum megalopentadactylum Hágsater & Huayta 2018 GROUP Arbusculum SUBGROUP Incomptum
TYPE Photo © by A. Huayta B./TYPE Drawing © R Jimenez and The AMO Herbario Website
Common Name The Large Five Finger Epidendrum [refers to the calli on the lip]
Flower Size 3.2" [8 cm]
Found in Oxapampa province in central Peru on tall trunks and branches of Cedrela odorata L. trees, up to 20 meters off the ground in well ventilated, wet montane forest, as well as from large boulders, usually with bright light at elevations of 1750 to 1950 meters as a large to giant sized, cool growing pendent epiphyte or lithophyte with branching, strongly laterally compressed, ancipitose, primary stem 40" x .92" [100 x 2.3 cm], secondary stem ca. 8" x .72" [20 x 1.8 cm], produced from a sub-apical internode of the previous stem and carrying numerous on the primary stem, ca. 9 on the secondary stem; distributed throughout the stems, distichous, glaucous green, margins slightly tinged lilac, facing downwards, reclining; leaf sheaths, tubular, ancipitose, somewhat infundibuliform, partially imbricated; green, margins slightly tinged lilac, blade on the primary stem sub-equal in size, except for the basal and apical ones which are smaller, progressively larger on the secondary stem, coriaceous, narrowly lanceolate, sulcate, apex conduplicate, margin entire, spreading leaves that blooms in the summer, fall and winter on a terminal, without a spathe, .2 to .8" [0.5-2 cm] long, pluri-racemose, a short to intermediate rachis, apparently sometimes producing and additional rachis with time, sub-corymbose, 3 to 5 flowered inflorescence produced from within up to 6 diminishing sheaths, the lower ones with much reduced leaves, and with very short, triangular, acute, much shorter than the ovary floral bracts and carrying white flowers with the sepals faintly tinged pink, petals greenish white, lip pure white and column green, clinandrium-hood white; fragrance not registered.
"Epidendrum megalopentadactylum belongs to GROUP Arbusculum SUBGROUP Incomptum which is characterized by the pendent pants, branching, stems laterally compressed to ancipitose, wide, leaves comparatively short, with short, racemose, few-flowered inflorescences, flowers large, lip with very prominent ribs. The new species can be recognized by the large, pendant plants, with ancipitose stems, and reclining, distichous, fleshy, narrowly lanceolate leaves, flowers large, sepals 1.48 to 1.6" [37 to 40 mm] long, star-shaped, white, sepals faintly tinged pink, petals greenish white, lip with a very prominent 5-ribbed callus, reminiscent of a closed fist of 5 bulging fingers. Epidendrum laxicaule D.E.Benn. & Christenson is very similar, but the leaves are linear, semi-terete, and the flowers are smaller and green, sepals 1.04 to 1.28" [26 to 32 mm] long, and lateral ridges of the lip are divided into 3 to 4 ridges on each side of the mid-ridge. The plants at first sight, are reminiscent of a very long stem of the Christmas Cactus, Schlumbergera sp. with complanate stems. There is a third species with similar vegetative habit, but presently only known from a single digital photo provided by Ricardo Fernández in 2014." Hagsater etal 2018
References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ;*Icones Orchidacearum 16 Plate 1683 Hagsater & Sanchez 2018 drawing/photo fide; Icones Orchidacearum 18(1) plate 1837 Hagsater, Santiago and Medina 2020 see recognition section