Malaxis melanophylla

Malaxis melanophylla (Schltr.) P.F.Hunt, Kew Bull. 24 (1970) 82

Basionym: Microstylis melanophylla

Terrestrial, erect, slender, 25-40 cm high. Rhizome short, stem-like; roots filiform, elongated, flexuose, puberulous. Stem short, densely 6-8-leaved, up to 9 cm long, rather thick, terete, glabrous. Leaves erect-patent, petiolate, blade obliquely elliptic or lanceolate-elliptic, acuminate, at the base more or less cuneate, margins usually undulate, glabrous on both sides, 5-8.5 cm long, near the middle 2-3.2 cm wide. Inflorescence straight or nearly so, slender, with a few small, distant, bract-like scales, angular, glabrous; rachis laxly 15-many-flowered, elongated, up to 13 cm long, c. 1.5 cm diam. across the flowers. Floral bracts pendent or deflexed, lanceolate, acute, shorter than the ovary. Flowers patent, glabrous. Sepals elliptic or ovate-oblong, obtuse, almost 0.3 cm long. Lateral sepals oblique. Petals obliquely linear, obtuse, a little shorter than the sepals. Lip at the base with long auricles, blade in front above the middle 3-lobed, 0.25 cm long, near the middle 0.3 cm wide; lateral lobes tridentate, the teeth becoming smaller outwards, outer tooth very small, subacute, inner ones falcate-triangular, acute; mid-lobe oblong, obtuse, bifid to near the middle, almost twice surpassing the inner teeth of the lateral lobes two almost exceeding, 0.1 cm long, callus inside hollowed out, horseshoe-shaped, extending from the base of the lip to the middle, decumbent, with an additional 2-legged callus, the legs forming a V-shape, diverging from the centre of the mid-lobe to below the middle of the lip and there vanishing; auricles oblong-ligulate, subfalcate, obtuse, subparallel. Anther reniform-cucullate, obtuse. Ovary with pedicel glabrous, cylindrical, 6-ribbed, 0.45 cm long. (After Schlechter, 1911-1914)

Colours: Leaves opaque deep violet. Flowers olive green with violet-red at the tips, lip in the centre reddish.

Habitat: Terrestrial in lower montane forest; 1200 m.

Flowering time in the wild: March, May.

Distribution: Malesia (New Guinea, endemic).

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua New Guinea. See map: 431-254M.JPG.

Cultivation: Intermediate growing terrestrial, requires shaded position.