Agrostophyllum superpositum

Agrostophyllum superpositum Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1 (1912) 278

Type: Schlechter 19534 (holo B, lost; iso AMES, BO, K)

Plant to c. 135 cm long, pendulous or straggling. Rhizome rather to strongly elongated, 0.4-0.8 cm diam. Bract-like scales close together, overlapping, distichous, narrowly triangular, to 5.9 by 0.7 cm, without or with a small tubular basal part. Stems up to 50 per rhizome, rather wide to wide apart, appressed to or with a sharp angle to the rhizome, to 9 cm long, 0.6-1.8 cm wide over the leaf sheaths, flattened, from base to top gradually widening, with 2-7 leaves and one terminal capitulum. Leaf sheaths rather loose around the stem, hardly overlapping each-other, with a 0.8-3.6 cm long incision, without or with a tubular basal part, the lowest one reaching to or beyond the base of the highest one, 0.8-3.6 cm long, width of margin to midrib 0.3-0.7 cm; margin dark-coloured; top margin at the articulation without projection or drawn out into a slender, 0.1-1.1 cm long, tooth-like projection. Leaf blade in an acute angle to the stem, linear-lanceolate to linear, 2.7-16.0 by 0.4-0.9 cm, index 4.8-20; base sometimes twisted and then upper side of the leaf blades turned to one side of the stem; top acute to very slender acute; its tip mostly acute, often with a tiny mucro, sometimes equally or unequally bilobed or bidentate; many-nerved. Inflorescence a dense, more-flowered capitulum terminal on a stem, 1-30 (- 40) per plant, 0.9-3.0 by 0.4-1.5 cm. Bracts first order at anthesis persistent, to 3.6 cm long. Partial inflorescences 1 to many per capitula, with 4(-5) bracts second order of which the lowest 3(-4) are sterile; axis 0.1-0.3 cm long. Bracts second order transparent, tubular to c. halfway, at anthesis persistent, soon weathering, lower ones smaller than upper ones, the fertile one completely covering pedicel and ovary, 0.65-1.3 cm long; top acute; nerves many, fine, inconspicuous. Pedicel and ovary straight, not twisted, strongly ribbed, 0.5-0.9 cm long. Flowers not resupinate, hidden between the fibres of the bracts second order, widely open, (0.3-)0.60-0.90 cm diam.; mentum pronounced, obtuse, 0.1-0.26 cm long. Median sepal broadly attached, concave, ovate, sometimes recurved,0.5-0.7 by 0.28-0.4 cm, index 1.5-2.1; top acute to slightly acuminate; nerves 5-6, midrib a low rounded keel, pronounced to the top, the nerves next to the midrib often thickened towards the top. Lateral sepals broadly attached, mostly connate at the base, sometimes clasped in a groove in the saccate base of the hypochile, concave, ovate, sometimes recurved, 0.60-1.05 by 0.28-0.45 cm, index 2.1-3.0; top acute to acuminate; nerves 3-7, midrib a low rounded keel, pronounced to the top. Petals narrowly attached, ovate-ligulate, 0.4-0.67 by 0.15-0.21(-0.24) cm, index 2.5-4.0; top acute with obtuse to acuminate tip; margin irregular; nerves 3-5. Lip sessile, immobile, 0.67-1.03 cm long, at the backside from the base of the hypochile to c. middle of epichile with one or more longitudinal grooves. Hypochile 0.2-0.4 by 0.12-0.2 by 0.1-0.25 cm, inside with 3 swollen, longitudinal ribs; base more or less deeply saccate; lateral lobes low, in front broadly rounded; on junction with the Epichile with a transverse, plate-like, rather high callus which overtops the lateral lobes, its top margin truncate with 2-3(-4) more or less distinct teeth. Epichile broadly sessile, concave, ovate to orbicular, 0.47-0.77 by 0.4-0.65 cm, index 0.8-1.4; margin curved upwards, slightly indented or almost entire, undulate; base median just below the callus with 2-3, rarely more, often irregular longitudinal calli; top (broadly) rounded or acuminate, rarely saccate, with an apiculum or a thickened, irregular winding ridge at the backside of the epichile near the top; sometimes with longitudinal grooves towards the top. Column club-shaped, widened around the stigma, excluding column-foot and anther 0.25-0.4 by 0.15-0.23 cm; often just below the stigma at the depression with an elevated band of tissue; laterally on either side with a ridge which is next to the stigma drawn out into a not distinct, broadly rounded to triangular, wing-like lobe; sometimes on the junction with the column-foot with 2 ovoid calli; column-foot short, median with a broad, shallow to rather deep, longitudinal groove, 0.1-0.15 by 0.07-0.1 cm; clinandrium terminal with low erect margins clasping the anther which in front continue in the rostellum. Anther 2-locular, about globose to broadly ovoid, c. 0.17-0.2 by c. 0.2 cm. Pollinia 8, on a common caudicle, obovoid, 0.1-0.16 by 0.04-0.07 cm, often unequal in size. Stigma in outline quadrangular to rectangular, 0.1-0.24 by 0.1-0.18 cm; rostellum folded to the front, median deeply notched and there parted in two, or median notched and apiculate. Fruit a fusiform capsule with perianth and/or column on top persistent; body 0.4-1.3 by 0.15-0.4 cm; 3 valves with a low rounded keel. Seeds not seen. (After Weijnen and De Vogel, unpublished).

Colours: Leaves dull to dark (olive) green. Floral bracts brown. Flowers cream colour to pure white, sometimes on the base of the mid-lobe of the lip with a yellow to orange-yellow spot. Anther pale to dark brown with paler margins.Colours: Flower pure white.

Habitat: Epiphyte in montane forest in shaded positions. Altitude 1000-2930 m.

Flowering time in the wild: April, May, June, July, December.

Distribution: Malesia (New Guinea), Solomon Islands.

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (Indonesia); Papua New Guinea. See map: 24-104M.JPG

Cultivation: Intermediate growing epiphyte, keep in shade.

Note: Easily recognised by the pendulous, stem-like rhizomes.