Robiquetia ascendens

Robiquetia ascendens Gaudich. in Freyc., Voy. Uranie, Bot. (1826) 426, t. 34

Type: Gaudichaud s.n. (holo P; iso L)

Robust epiphyte; stems more or less horizontal in younger plants or becoming pendent with age, with ascending apex, up to 70 cm long, leafy in upper part, usually unbranched. Leaves 8-20 by 1.8-3 cm, linear-oblong, thick, leathery, apex unequally bilobed. Inflorescence arising near the lowest leaves, usually pendulous, sometimes almost horizontal, 11-20 cm long, a densely many-flowered raceme; rachis occupying apical third. Flowers only slightly opening, up to 2 cm long including the spur. Median sepal 0.5-0.6 by 0.2-0.25 cm, lanceolate-obovate, apex swollen, subacute. Lateral sepals 0.45-0.52 by 0.15-0.2 cm, oblong-obovate, apex swollen, subacute. Petals 0.48-0.55 by 0.3 cm, broadly elliptic, apex swollen, acute. Lip spurred, weakly 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect, with swollen margins; mid-lobe 0.3 cm long, porrect, wedge-shaped, very thick, pointed at apex; spur 0.7-1.5 cm long, straight or strongly incurved, funnel-shaped at the base, constricted in the middle part, apical half clavate-oblongoid, strongly laterally flattened. Column 0.2 cm long, thick. (After O’Byrne, 1994)

Colours: Flower deep red to rose-red or salmon-pink with green tips, sometimes with a white spur, rarely whole flower white.

Habitat: Epiphyte in lowland and lower montane forest; 26 to 1000 m.

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

Distribution: Malesia (Moluccas, New Guinea).

Distribution in New Guinea: Papua (Indonesia); Papua New Guinea. See map: 617-4M.JPG.

Note: This common and attractive lowland orchid is better known as Robiquetia mooreana (Rolfe) J.J.Sm.; it may be recognised by the swollen, often green, tips of the sepals and petals.