Agrostophyllum spicatum

Agrostophyllum spicatum Schltr. in K.Schum. & Lauterb., Nachtr. Fl. Deutsch. Schutzgeb. Südsee (1905) 129

Type: Schlechter 14528 (holo B, lost); neo: Schlechter 17497 (K, chosen by Weijnen & de Vogel; iso BO)

Plant to c. 124 cm long, usually much shorter. Stems erect or pendulous, flattened, 0.5-1.9 cm wide over the leaf sheaths, from base to apex gradually broadening, widest just below the apex. Leaf sheath more or less inflated, rather loose around the stem or appressed to the stem, reaching to the base of the second one above, (1.3-)2-2.5 cm long; with a (0.6-)1.2-2.5 cm long incision, the lower ones with a tubular basal part; width of margin to midrib (0.3-)0.4-0.9 cm; apical margin at the articulation without projection or drawn out into a triangular to rounded, slender to rather broad, 0-0.2 cm long projection with a sharp to very obtuse tip. Leaf blade erect-patent, ovate-lanceolate to linear-lanceolate,(2.6-)4.7-8.3 by (0.7-)0,8-1.8 cm, index (2.8-)4-8.3; base twisted, upper side of all leaf blades completely turned to one side of the plant; apex acute, more or less gradually tapering, its tip acute to obtuse, sometimes slightly equally bilobed or equally bidentate, rarely with a tiny mucro. Inflorescence 10-53 cm long, flattened, with 11-64 internodes of which the ones at the base of the inflorescence are up to c. 1 cm long; partial inflorescences 1-3 per bract first order. Bracts first order when young overtopping the partial inflorescences, narrowly triangular, those at the base of the inflorescence to 2.8 cm long, 2-3 internodes long, folded along the midrib, persistent, with (sometimes partly) dark coloured margin, when older slit along the midrib, more often almost disintegrated into persistent fibres. Partial inflorescences at the apex laterally emerging from the slit or from between the fibres of the bract first order, tufted; each 1-3-flowered with 4-5 bracts second order of which the lowest (1-)2(-3) are sterile; axis 0.15-0.5 cm long. Bracts second order 0.23-0.65 cm long, the fertile one sometimes completely covering pedicel and ovary. Flowers widely open; mentum absent. Pedicel and ovary 0.5-0.75 cm long. Median sepal concave, ovate, recurved or not, 0.35-0.41 by 0.15-0.25 cm, index 1.8-2.7; apex acute, sometimes slightly acuminate; nerves 3-5, midrib a low rounded keel, pronounced to the apex. Lateral sepals asymmetric, free, not recurved, 0.4-0.55 by 0.15-0.25 cm, index 2-3.3; apex caudate; nerves 3-5, midrib a low rounded keel, pronounced to the apex. Petals symmetric, obspathulate, 0.3-0.4 by 0.08-0.15 cm, index 2.3-4.0; apex long caudate, rarely acute, with an obtuse, acute or acuminate tip; 3-5-nerved. Lip 0.35-0.5 cm long. Hypochile saccate, 0.15-0.2 by 0.09-0.15 by 0.1-0.2 cm, inside with 1, 3 or 5 low rounded keels; base shallowly saccate; lateral lobes low, in front broadly rounded; callus not overtopping the lateral lobes, not papillate, its apex not curved, truncate. Epichile concave, ovate to orbicular, 0.22-0.35 by 0.2-0.4 cm, index 0.8-1.4; margin not curved upwards, erose to irregular, undulate; apex rounded with an acuminate tip, or rarely acute; median at the base with a longitudinal groove, flanked by 2 low, longitudinal thickenings. Column widened around the stigma, excluding the anther 0.23-0.35 by 0.09-0.15 cm; base in front with a broad, deep, longitudinal groove, at c. 1/3 from the apex just below the stigma with a deep cross-groove; column foot absent. Anther reniform, c. 0.12 by 0.09 cm. Pollinia drop- to pear-shaped, 0.04-0.06 by 0.02-0.03 cm. Stigma about reniform, 0.05-0.1 by (0.1-)0.12-0.15 cm; rostellum folded to the front, median notched. Fruit with at least the column persistent on top; body c. 0.7 by 0.2 cm. Seeds fusiform, c. 0.02 cm long. (After Weijnen and De Vogel, unpublished).

Colours: Leaf sheaths with brown margins, blade(dull) dark-(bluish)green above, slightly paler below, or light-(bluish)green on both sides. Flowers white, creamy-yellow or light-yellow. Lip with purple markings, or with two pink spots at the base of the lip blade, or with a purple upper edge. Column with purple markings on hood, or maroon on the edges, or with crimson margins. Fruit greenish-brown, brown when dried.

Habitat: Epiphyte in montane forest in shaded positions. Altitude 450-1700 m.

Flowering time in the wild: March, April, May, December.

Distribution: Malesia (New Guinea, endemic).

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (Indonesia); Papua New Guinea. See map: 24-99M.JPG

Cultivation: Intermediate growing epiphyte, keep in shade.