Luisia tristis

Luisia tristis (G.Forst.) Hook.f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 6 (1890) 25

Basionym: Epidendrum triste

Roots few at the base of the stem, rarely from higher up the stem, very long, 0.1-0.3 cm diam. Stem erect, eventually pendent with ascending tip, not or sparsely branching at the base, up to 100 cm long but usually less, 0.3-0.4 cm diam., 3-6-leaved, tough, almost woody, covered by the leaf-sheaths; internodes 1.2-3.5 cm long. Leaf sheaths as long as or a little shorter than the internodes, fleshy, rough-textured. Leaves terete, sometimes slightly curved, 5-15 by 0.2-0.35 cm, sometimes channelled dorsally, apex sharp pointed. Inflorescences arising laterally near the lowest leaves, racemose, up to 0.8-1 cm long; peduncle very short, peduncle-scales 3, basal; rachis broader than peduncle, 0.3-0.5 cm diam., cylindrical to clavate, 8- to 10-flowered (1-3 opening simultaneously). Floral bracts deltoid, 0.1 cm long, apex acute. Pedicel and ovary 0.6-0.8 cm long, narrowly conical, decurved near the apex. Flowers nodding, 1-1.2 cm diam. Median sepal suberect, cucullate, oblong-elliptic, 0.6 cm long, apex obtuse. Lateral sepals ovate, not wide-spreading, 0.8 cm long, with inrolled margins, concave, mid-rib prominent outside, apex apiculate. Petals ringent, oblong-subspathulate, 0.9 cm long. Lip 3-lobed at the base, 0.7 by 0.6 cm, fleshy, inside densely covered with minute brown hairs; hypochile oblong at the base, lateral lobes small, erect, triangular; epichile cordate, 0.4 by 0.6 cm, obtuse. Column stout, 0.4 cm long. Anther transversely elliptic. Fruit linear in outline, sharply 3-angled with a flat keel on each side, 5-6 cm by 0.5 cm. (After O'Byrne, 1994)

Colours: Sepals and petals green to yellow green, lip velvety dark maroon.

Habitat: Epiphyte in lowland and montane forest, old plantations and on solitary trees; 0-1700 m.

Flowering time in the wild: January, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, December.

Distribution: Malesia (New Guinea), tropical Asia, Australia, New Caledonia, east to Samoa.

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (Indonesia); Papua New Guinea. See map: 422-69M.JPG.

Cultivation: Warm to intermediate growing epiphyte, requires light position.

Notes: O'Byrne (1994: 506) reports a deviating form which may represent a different taxon. A quite different species was recently collected by Howcroft (pers. comm.) on New Britain, which appears to be very similar to Luisia curtisii Seidenf. This has petals which are much longer than the sepals.