Mediocalcar agathodaemonis

Mediocalcar agathodaemonis J.J.Sm., Bull. Dép. Agric. Indes Néerl. 39 (1910) 16; Nova Guinea 8, 3 (1911) 543, t. 84

Type: Römer, von 1266 (holo BO; iso L)

Roots densely covered with root hairs, 0.5-1 mm thick. Rhizome creeping, patent or pendulous, laxly to frequently branching, 1.5-3 mm thick. Cataphylls 3-5, closely appressed, glabrous, subacute, keeled near the tip. Pseudobulbs 0-25 mm apart, cylindrical to ovoid, 1.5-3.5 cm long, 2.5-5 mm across; base elongated, enveloping the rhizome; free part prostrate to ascending, much shorter than the basal part, 1-8 mm long. Leaves two, occasionally one, per pseudobulb, sessile to subpetiolate, linear to more frequently elliptic, (index 3-12.5) 2.5-8(-10) cm by (3-)5-15 mm; flat or rarely semiterete; glabrous; margins entire; apex rounded, more or less bilobed, mucronate, with the mucro about as long as the lobules; coriaceous to carnose. Inflorescences solitary, synanthous, at the base with an inconspicuous scale c. 1 mm long. Peduncle 1.5-3.5 cm long, at the apex with a triangular bract 1 mm long. Pedicel and ovary 10-14 mm long. Flowers urceolate-globose, oblique, 10-14 mm long. Synsepalum 10-16 mm long and 16-19 mm wide when cut open and flattened; free tips spreading or less often recurved, 2.5-4 mm long, subacute to acute. Petals linear, lanceolate or narrowly elliptic (index 4.5-8), 8-11 by 1-2 mm; apex acute; 1-3-nerved. Lip 8-11 by 3-3.5 mm in natural position, the blade broadly ovate-subcordate when flattened; claw 4-6 by 1.2-1.8 mm, auricles usually conspicuous, rarely obsolete, recurved; apex acute to acuminate, slightly recurved; margins erect, clasping the column; spur cucullate to saccate, 1.5-2 mm deep. Column broadly clavate, 5.5-6 mm long, 2.5 mm wide at the apex, foot 0.5-1(-2) mm long. Fruit narrowly ellipsoid to clavate, 20-30 by 3-4 mm. (After Schuiteman, 1997)

Colours: Sepals bright red with green or yellowish green tips. Petals and lip pale orange with green or yellowish green tips. Column pale orange. Pollinia pale yellow. Very rarely the entire flower yellow (Brass 4026, AMES). Leaves green, pseudobulbs dull green to dull purple.

Habitat: Epiphyte in mossy forest, often on tree trunks and logs, also terrestrial in moss cushions and on tree-fern trunks in subalpine grassland; 760-3600 m.

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

Distribution: Malesia (New Guinea, endemic).

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (Indonesia); Papua New Guinea. See map: 436-2M.JPG.

Cultivation: Cool growing epiphyte, requires shaded position.

Notes: A common species, often found growing together with the very similar Mediocalcar bifolium. The latter is usually easy to distinguish by the white-tipped flowers, heteranthous inflorescences and the narrower leaves & pseudobulbs. Intermediate specimens, however, are not infrequent; at least in some cases these probably represent hybrids.