Lepanthes marioi Zambrano 2019 SUBGENUS Lepanthes SECTION Lepanthes SUBSECTION Lepanthes SERIES Lepanthes Novon 1993

Photo by © Javier Zambrano Romero

Full Shade Cold Winter Spring Summer Fall

Common Name Mario’s Lepanthes [Mario Aguilar Atiencie, orchid grower from Marcabelí, Ecuador current]

Flower Size .2” [5 mm]

Found in El Oro province of Ecuador in semi-deciduous montane cloud forest on the organic matter and in moss at elevations around 2700 to 2800 meters as a medium to large sized, cold growing terrestrial with an abbreviated cylindrical rhizome giving rise to a terete, slightly curved, slender ramicaul enveloped by 10 to 16 tubular, imbricate, persistent, chartaceous, lepanthiform sheaths with an annulus near the apex carrying a single, apical, fleshy, coriaceous, elliptic-ovate, obtuse, emarginate-mucronate, slightly channeled below into the petiolate base leaf that blooms at most any time of the year on an erect when young, arching when mature, arising from the annulus of the secondary stem, shorter than the leaf, up to 3.4” [8.5 cm] long including the terete peduncle which is .8 to 1.4” [20 to 35 mm] long, rachis flexuous, with the development of new flowers, .08 to .16” [2.0 to 4.0 mm] long enclosed at the base by a spathaceous, conduplicate, persistent, chartaceous bract, successively single many flowered inflorescence with cute, persistent, scarious, as long as the pedicel floral bracts and carrying small, pendulous flowers.

”Lepanthes marioi is similar to L. caudatisepala, L. profusa, L. nanegalensis, L. repens, and L. rhombipetala. The most related species to L. marioi, mainly in form of the flowers, is L. caudatisepala which can be distinguished by its ovate and acute-acuminate leaves (vs. elliptic-ovate and obtuse) erect inflorescence (vs. arching), pale yellow and marginally entire sepals (vs. pale yellow suffused with light purple and marginally ciliate to retrorsely serrate), dorsal sepal with a notorious sinus separating it from the lateral ones (vs. without an apparent sinus), obovatelanceolate petals without a callus (vs. oblanceolate with an elliptic callus along the mid-vein), broadly ovate upper lobe of the petal with an entire apex (vs. obliquely oblong, slightly crenulate), and elliptic, rounded blades of the lip with a glabrous bilobed appendix (vs. oblong-obovate, rounded at the apex and truncate at the base, with a densely pubescent bilobed appendix). The Colombian and Ecuadorean L. profusa, previously considered as synonymous with L. caudatisepala, is also similar in its habit and flowers, but it differs by having shorter and erect inflorescence (2 to 2.4” vs 3.4” [5.0–6.0 cm vs. 8.5 cm] and arching), pale yellow sepals (vs. pale yellow suffused with light purple), denticulate sepals along margins (vs. the dorsal scarcely ciliate near the base, the lateral retrorsely serrate), dorsal sepal with a notorious sinus separating it from the lateral ones (vs. without an apparent sinus), petals without a callus with the upper lobe apex entire and lower lobe notably longer and thinner than the upper one (vs. with an elliptic callus, the upper lobe slightly crenulate and the lower lobe not as long nor as thin as the upper one), and elliptic, rounded blades of the lip with bilobed, microscopically pubescent appendix (vs. oblong-obovate, rounded at the apex and truncate at the base, with bilobed and densely pubescent appendix). On the other hand, L. profusa is distributed along the Eastern Cordillera from Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia, where their populations are located in the wet paramo life zone, it has not been reported for southwestern Ecuador. While populations of L. marioi occur in the semi-deciduous paramo life zone with cloud effect, at the interior of the Amotape-Huancabamba zone. This geographic disjunction, in two distinctive biogeographic areas, suggests different environmental or ecological preferences for both species, so that they can be recognized as separate taxa. Lepanthes nanegalensis, from Ecuador, is very similar in form and color of the flowers, but it can be distinguished by its smaller plants (12” vs 26” [40 cm vs. 65 cm]), acute-acuminate leaves (vs. obtuse), inflorescence erect and longer than the leaf (vs. arching and shorter than the leaf), apiculate petals with subequal lobes and without a callus (vs. not apiculate, lobes different in form and with an elliptic callus), and lip with an oblong, biglandular appendix (vs. shortly oblong, bilobed at the summit, covered by a dense pubescentia). Lepanthes repens, from Colombia and Ecuador is different by its repent habit (vs. caespitose), lanceolate and acute leaves (vs. elliptic-ovate and obtuse), shorter and erect inflorescence (1.6” vs 3.4” [4.0 cm vs. 8.5 cm] and arching), petals without a callus and with the lower lobe notably shorter than the upper one (vs. with an elliptic callus and with the lower lobe as long as the upper one), and blades of the lip trapeziform with a minute, shortly pedunculate, scarsely pubescent appendix (vs. oblong-obovate blades and a shortly oblong, bilobed at the summit and densely pubescent appendix). Finally, L. rhombipetala from southern Colombia and northern Ecuador, is distinguished from L. marioi by its erect inflorescence as long as the leaf (vs. arching and shorter than the leaf), narrowly triangular lateral sepals fussed up to near the apices (vs. ovate-triangular, fussed almost at the middle), subequal lobes of petals and without a callus (vs. lobes different in form and with an elliptic callus), and lanceolate blades of the lip with a slightly pedunculate, biglandular appendix (vs. oblong-obovate with a shortly oblong, bilobed and densely pubescent appendix).” Zambrano 2019

Synonyms *Acianthera pustulata Zambrano & Solano 2019

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; *Phytotaxa 422: 256 Zambrano 2019 drawing/photo fide

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