Malaxis atrata

Malaxis atrata (Schltr.) C.Schweinf., Bernice P. Bishop Mus. Bull. 141 (1936) 21

Basionym: Microstylis atrata

Terrestrial, erect, c. 50 cm high. Rhizome short; roots filiform, elongated, flexuose, puberulous. Stem short, rather thick, 5-6-leaved, c. 5 cm long. Leaves erect-patent, petiolate, elliptic or ovate-elliptic, acute or acuminate, glabrous; blade 4-6 cm long, at or below the middle 1.8-2.5 cm wide, petiole dilated at the base, sheathing, 2-3 cm long. Inflorescence slender, angular, with a few small, distant, bract-like scales, glabrous; rachis densely many-flowered, elongated, up to 40 cm long, c. 0,7 cm diam. across the flowers. Floral bracts deflexed, narrowly lanceolate, acuminate, longer than the ovary. Flowers patent, glabrous. Median sepal oblong, obtuse, 0.25 cm long. Lateral sepal obliquely ovate, obtuse, a little shorter than the median sepal. Petals narrowly ligulate, obtuse, 0.2 cm long. Lip with conspicuous basal auricles; blade 3-lobed below the middle, 0.2 cm long, below the middle 0.25 cm wide; lateral lobes with 5 teeth, the outer one short, obtuse, the other 4 deltoid, acute, hardly decreasing in size towards the outer margin; mid-lobe in outline semiorbicular, bifid to above the base; basal callus elliptic, extending to the base of the mid-lobed, in the middle with an elliptic pit; auricles triangular, subacute, 0.1 cm long. Column short, rather thick. Anther broadly ovate-cucullate, obtuse. Ovary and pedicel glabrous, 6-ribbed, 0.2 cm long. (After Schlechter, 1911-1914)

Colours: Leaves blackish green above, deep carmine red below. Flowers carmine red.

Habitat: Terrestrial in lower montane forest; 1200 m.

Flowering time in the wild: January.

Distribution: Malesia (New Guinea, endemic).

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua New Guinea. See map: 431-32M.JPG.

Cultivation: Intermediate growing terrestrial, requires shaded position.