Epidendrum polystachyum Kunth GROUP Blepharistes

LCDP by © R. Jiménez M and The AMO Herbario Website

Drawing Drawing by © Bennett & Christenson and The Swiss Orchid Foundation at the Jany Renz Herbaria Website

Common Name The Rich Blooming Epidendrum

Flower Size 3/4" [1.85 cm]

Found in Ecuador and Peru in seasonally dry montane forests in ants nests at elevations of 1300 to 2000 meters as a small to medium sized, cool growing epiphyte or terrestrial with fusiform, long-tapered, sulcate, obtuse angled pseudobulbs with 4 nodes, and carrying 2 to 3, ligulate, acute to obtuse, subcoriaceous, carinate below, abruptly short petiolate base leaves that blooms in the spring on an erect, terminal, 6" [15 cm] long, shortly paniculate, each branch few flowered, several flowered inflorescence holding the pale apricot colored flowers at the apex

"Epidendrum polystachyum Kunth is part of the GROUP Blepharistes characterized by the base of the stems thickened, forming fusiform pseudobulbs, narrow, linear-lanceolate to linear-oblong leaves, an elongate inflorescence with few-flowered racemes of lilac-pink to white flowers. The species is vegetatively very similar to E blepharistes but E polystachyum plants are apically bi- or trifoliate, the flowers yellowish, the petals acuminate with the margin slightly dentate, and the lateral lobes of the lip subquadrate, with the margin minutely dentate and the midlobe very small, only slightly bilobed. E bleparistes has plants up to 48" [120 cm] tall, with 4 to 10 linear-oblong leaves, small creamy white or lilac-pink flowers with sepals .2 to .32" [5 to 8 mm] long, cuneate-spatulate petals with the margin erose-denticulate, the apical margin of the lobes of the lip deeply dentate. Epidendrum pseudopolystachum D.E.Benn. & Christenson has short plants, to 8.8" [22 cm] tall, bifoliate with oblong-elliptic leaves and greenish flowers, the petals and the lip with entire margins. Epidendrum flexuosum G.Mey. has somewhat similar, narrow leaves, but the stems are not thickened-fusiform, the flowers are larger, with the sepals .6 to .76" [15 to 19 mm] long, lilac-pink to magenta, and the lip is entire, oblong-rectangular. Other species in Mesoamerica like Epidendrum radicans Pavón ex Lindl., Epidendrum apatotylosum Hágsater, Epidendrum baumannianum Schltr. and Epidendrum hawkesii Heller are vegetatively and florally very different, with elliptic leaves, and larger, reddish orange flowers. Epidendrum morochoi Hágsater has erect pseudobulbs, 1 to 2 leaves, has a very long inflorescence, flowers cream with disc of the lip and base of column pale green to yellow, sepals.32 to .36" x .12" [8 to 9 x 3 mm], apically acute, petals .332" x .08" [8.3 x 2 mm], oblanceolate , apex obtuse to rounded, and lip .24 x .6" [6 x 15 mm], 3-lobed, mid-lobe with 2 little lobes with margin crenulate, wider than long." Adapted from E blepharistes Icones Plate 1105 Hagsater etal 2008


References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Orchids of Peru Vol 2 Fieldiana Schweinfurth 1959; Die Orchideen #8 29-32 tafel 8 Rudolph Schlechter 1971 photo ok; Icones Planetarum Tropicarum Plate 430 Dodson 1982 drawing fide; Native Ecuadorian Orchids Vol 2 Dodson 2001 drawing fide; Icones Orchidacearum Peruviarum Plate 647 Bennett & Christenson 2001 drawing fide; Icones Orchidacearum Vol 11 Plate 1105 Hagsater & Sanchez 2008 see recognition section; Icones Orchidacearum 17(1) Plate 1743 Hagsater & Jimenez 2019 see recognition section; Icones Orchidacearum 17(1) Plate 1790 Hagsater & Jimenez 2019 see recognition section