Epidendrum meracryptanthum Hágsater & E.Santiago 2019 GROUP Polychlamys SUBGROUP Polychlamys

TYPE Drawing R. Jiménez M.and The AMO Herbario Website


Common Name The Mera E cryptanthum Epidendrum [A town where the orchid originates and the fact that it is most similar to E cryptanthum]

Flower Size .5" [1.25 cm]

Found in central Ecuador from the foot of the eastern slopes of the Andes at elevations ca. 1100 meters as a small sized, warm growing epiphyte with simple, cane-like, terete, thin, sub-erect, covered nearly totally by tubular sheaths, the sheaths somewhat dilated and laterally compressed towards the apex, scarious, becoming fibrous with time and carrying 4 to 5, aggregated towards the apex of the stems, alternate, articulate, coriaceous; sheaths tubular, laterally compressed, slightly inflated towards the apex, minutely striated; blade elliptic, acute, with a low dorsal keel, margin entire, spreading leaves that blooms in the fall on a terminal, erect, without a spathe 1.2" [3 cm long ovarall, apical, arcuate, racemose, distichous, flowering only once, short, compact, nearly totally hidden within the floral bracts, successively single, to 5 flowered inflorescence with much longer than the ovary (nearly as long as the flower), ovate to ovate-oblong, subacute, conduplicate, pellucid, pale brown, apical margin somewhat erose floral bracts and carrying flower that are nearly totally hidden by the floral bracts, and the sepals and petals ivory white.

"Epidendrum meracryptanthum belongs to the GROUP Polychlamys SUBGROUP Polychlamys which is characterized by the successive lateral growths, the distichous, apical inflorescence with prominent, conduplicate, acute, glumaceous floral bracts. The species is distinguished by the short, compact inflorescence, bracts pale brown, flowers ivory white, sepals .536 to .568" [13.4 to 14.2 mm] long, petals .24" [6 mm] wide, obovoid, base cuneate, apex rounded, slightly emarginate, lip entire, sub-oblong, base deeply cordate, apex minutely emarginate. Epidendrum cryptanthum L.O.Williams also has short, compact, inflorescence, but paniculate, composed of 1 to 3 racemes (a feature which is not evident from the compact inflorescence, especially in pressed specimens), flowers creamy white totally hidden within the imbricating glumaceous bracts, sepals free, .36 to .442" [9.0 to 11.5 mm] long, petals spatulate, rounded .12 to .16" [3 to 4 mm] wide, lip obovate-pandurate with the lateral margins involute, and the thin ovary, not inflated. It has been confused with Epidendrum salpichlamys Hágsater & E.Santiago which has narrower leaves (less than .68" [17 mm] wide, a simple, sessile, compact, racemose inflorescence, imbricating floral bracts, the trumpet-shaped, greenish yellow flowers, with the sepals basally connate and abruptly reflexed above the middle, an oblong lip, and a thin non-inflated ovary. Epidendrum estrellense Ames has an elongate inflorescence 2" [5 cm] long with 7 imbricating bracts covering the peduncle, greenish yellow to green flowers of similar size, sepals .4" [10 mm] long; the lip is suborbicular-cordate, conduplicate in natural position, and the ovary does not form a vesicle." Hagsater etal 2019


References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; * Icones Orchidacearum 17(1) Plate 1740 Hagsater & Jimenez 2019 Drawing fide