Epidendrum vesicicaule L.O.Williams 1940 GROUP Megalospathum SUBGROUP Vesicicaule


Photo by M. Rincon-Gonzalez/ Drawing by © Jimenez and The AMO Herbaria Website


Common Name The Inflated Leaf Sheath Epidendrum

Flower Size 1" [2.5 cm]

Found in Colombia on the Nevado de Tolima on the Cordillera central and the inter-Andean valley of northern Ecuador in elfin forests and at the edge of paramos at elevations of 3300 to 3800 meters as a small to medium sized, cold growing epiphyte with branching, new branches arise from the basal internodes of the previous stem, cane-like, terete, thin stems carrying 9 to 11, all along the stem, unequal in size, basally smaller, articulate, sub-pendent, somewhat fleshy, narrowly lanceolate, falcate, acuminate, margin entire leaves that blooms in the mid fall through mid spring on a terminal, arising through a conduplicate, obliquely lanceolate in natural position, ovate when spread, acuminate spathe, peduncle and rachis totally enveloped by the spathe, .8" [2 cm] long overall, racemose, occuring only once, laxly, simultaneously 4 flowered inflorescence with much shorter than the ovary, narrowly triangular, clasping, generally hidden within the spathe floral bracts and carrying resupinate, green, non-fragrant flowers.

This species is in a group of about 12 species that have often in the past been considered synomonous and are spread from Colombia to Bolivia. The separated species include E. cardiomorphum, Epidendrum calyptratoides, Epidendrum calyptratum, Epidendrum calyptrectylosum, Epidendrum chaparense, Epidendrum falcivesicicaule, Epidendrum lagotis, Epidendrum pachyclinium and Epidendrum platypetalum.

"Epidendrum vesicicaule belongs to GROUP Megalospathum characterized by the caespitose but branching habit, many leaved stem, fleshy, oblique leaves, a short, few flowered, raceme subtended by large semi-ovate spathaceous bracts, resupinate flowers, the column more or less united to the lip, and the GROUP Megalospathum SUBGROUP Vesicicaule which has a sympodial habit, numerous leaves throughout the stems, the leaves concolor, green, and a cordiform, bicallose lip. The species is recognized by the sub-caespitose, pendent plants, leaves narrowly lanceolate, 1.4 to 2.4" x .16 to .32" [3.5 to 6.0 x 0.4 to 0.8 cm], inflorescence 4-flowered, sepals .48 to .52" [12 to 13 mm] long, petals straight, neither falcate nor oblique, lip cordiform with a pair of fleshy, green calli, with the disc prominently fleshy; column slightly upturned along the basal half, apex truncate, clinandrium hood fleshy; found at 3300 to 3800 meters altitude. Epidendrum cardiomorphum Hágsater & E.Santiago is vegetatively very similar but the leaves are 1.6 to 3.44" x .2 to .4" [4.0 to 8.6 x 0.5 to 1.0 cm], inflorescence 2-flowered, sepals .56 to .72" [14 to 18 mm] long, petals slightly falcate, lip triangular-cordiform with a pair of small, laterally compressed, small, parallel calli, the disc not fleshy thickened, with three very thin, low, parallel ribs which disappear before the middle of the lip, and with multiple radiating thickened veins; clinandrium-hood slightly surpassing the body of the column, fleshy, straight; growing at 1500 to 2000 m altitude. Epidendrum falcivesicicaule Hágsater & E.Santiago has been confused with this species, but has a two flowered inflorescence with 2 semicircular, oblique imbricating spathes, the cordiform lip with a pair of calli, elongate, prominent, on a thickened, rounded platform, white, spongy ¿has?; clinandrium-hood prominent, truncate and slightly incurved; it is also found at lower altitudes, 1900 to 2700 meters. Epidendrum calyptrectylosum Hágsater & E.Santiago has linear-lanceolate, falcate leaves, the 6 to 17 flowered sub-umbelliform inflorescence, with one or two ovate, acuminate spathaceous bracts, the minutely striated ovary which is not inflated, sepals .312 to .36" [7.8 to 9 mm] long, the lanceolate to oblong, acute lip with the base slightly cordate, ecallose, and the very prominent clinandrium-hood with the margin entire. Epidendrum platypetalum Hágsater has narrowly ovate leaves .2 to 1.84" x .12 to .44" [0.5 to 4.6 x 0.3 to .1 cm] long, 2 flowered inflorescence, sepals .72 to .8" [ 18 to 20 mm] long; petals elliptic-obovate, lip cordiform with two small calli and a short, narrow mid-rib. Epidendrum pachyclinium Hágsater & E.Santiago has obliquely lanceolate leaves 1.12 to 3.32" x .24 to .44" [2.8 to 8.3 x 0.6 to 1.1 cm], a 2 flowered inflorescence, sepals .68" [17 mm] long, petals linear-oblanceolate, slightly oblique, lip orbicular-cordiform, with a pair of small, short, laminar white, calli, clinandrium-hood prominent, straight, it occurs at an altitude of 1600 to 2000 meters. Epidendrum lagotis Rchb.f. has ovate-elliptic leaves .8 to 2.4" x .4 to .92" [2 to 6 x 1.0 to 2.3 cm], sepals .68 to 1" [17 to 25 mm] long, petals widely spatulate, -84 x .32" [21 x 8 mm], and the lip orbicular, a pair of small spherical calli, and the disc with a short, narrow mid-rib." Hagsater etal 2016


References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Orchids of Peru Vol 2 Schweinfurth 1959; Native Ecuadorian Orchids vol 2 Dodson 2001 photo fide; Orquideas Nativas del Tachira Fernandez 2003 photo not; Icones Orchidacearum 8 Plate 816 Hagsater and Sanchez 2006 see recognition section; Icones Orchidacearum Vol 8 Plate 861 Hagsater & Sanchez 2006 see recognition section; Icones Orchidacearum 15[2] Plate 1599 Hagsater & Santiago 2016 drawing/photo fide; Icones Orchidacearum 15 [2] Plate 1574 Hagsater & Sanchez 2016 see recognition section; Icones Orchidacearum 15 [2] Plate 1581 Hagsater & Sanchez 2016 see recognition section; Icones Orchidacearum 15 [2] Plate 1590 Hagsater & Sanchez 2016 see recognition section; Orquideas, Tesoro de Colombia Vol 2 Ortiz & Uribe 2017 photo fide; Icones Orchidacearum 18(1) plate 1805 2020 See recognition section