Epidendrum refractoides C.Schweinf. 1943 GROUP Odontospathum

Photo by © Erica Moron de Abad

Common Name The Bentback Epidendrum [refers to the inflorescence]

Flower Size .8" [2 cm]

Found in Peru on the upper slopes of the Cordillera Oriental of the Andes in elfin forest of Polylepis sp., and “pajonal” with bushes and rocks, and riverside forest, on slopes at elevations of 2500 to 3600 meters as a medium sized, cold growing epiphyte with simple, canelike, laterally compressed, erect stems with 3 basal, non-foliaceous, scarious, imbricating sheaths and carrying 6 to 9, sub-erect with respect to the stem, alternate, articulate, coriaceous, somewhat conduplicate at the base, widely elliptic, apex rounded and short-bilobed, with a minute dorsal apicule, margin crenulate leaves that blooms in the fall on a terminal, paniculate, sub-erect, slightly arching, lax-flowered, much surpassing the apical leaf; peduncle 2 to 4.8" [5 to 12 cm] long, wide, laterally compressed, ancipitose; rachis 2.3 to 2.4" [5.5 to 6 cm] long, with 3 short, lax, few-flowered branches 1.6 to 2.32" [4 to 5.8 cm] long, each arising from a bract similar to the spathaceous bract but progressively smaller, 10.4 to 14" [26 to 35 cm] long, successively many to to 30 flowered inflorescence with prominent, gradually much shorter towards the apex of the rachis, shorter than the ovary, triangular-lanceolate, acuminate, amplexicaul floral bracts.

"Epidendrum refractoides belongs to the GROUP Odontospathum which is haracterized by the sympodial, caespitose habit, laterally compressed stems, successive flowers and a generally sub-erect, paniculate inflorescence, the peduncle with up to 10 prominent, conduplicate, ancipitose, bracts covering the lower part of the peduncle. The species is recognized by the wide, laterally compressed stem, wide, apically bilobed leaves, the inflorescence with several large, conduplicate bracts, spaced on an ancipitose peduncle, with branches produced from each bract, flowers green, orange-yellow to brown, and the somewhat pandurate lip. Epidendrum humiloides Hágsater & E.Santiago (syn.: Epidendrum refractoides var. humile C. Schweinf.) has smaller plants, shorter leaves, a racemose inflorescence with 5 to 6 flowers, a clearly 3-lobed lip, and has a single elliptic, acute spathaceous bract. Epidendrum lezliae R.Vásquez & P.L. Ibisch from eastern Bolivia has a somewhat similar inflorescence, with the long, zigzag peduncle bearing prominent conduplicate bracts, non-resupinate flowers, but the margin of the lip irregularly serrate-denticulate; the inflorescence is racemose to paniculate. Epidendrum philippi Rchb.f. does not have any spathaceous bracts, and the infundibuliform leaf-sheaths are reminiscent of E. ardens, with large floral bracts perpendicular to the rachis." Hagsater etal 2014


References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Orchids of Peru Vol 2 Fieldiana Schweinfurth 1959 drawing fide; Icones Orchidacearum 14 Plate 1478 Hagsater & Sanchez 2013 as E humiliodes see recognition section; Icones Orchidacearum 18(2) Plate 1892 Hagsater & Jimenez 2021 see recognition section