Vanilla utteridgei

Vanilla utteridgei J.J.Wood, Orchid Rev. 110 (2002) 232

Type: Utteridge 456 (holo K)

Stout vine climbing to c. 9 m high. Aerial roots produced from each node, flexuous, unbranched, c 8-20cm long, 0.2-0.4cm in diam., greyish. Upper stems fleshy, c. l cm in diam. (0.5-0.6 cm in dried material), internodes 7-9 cm long, exuding a copious white sap when cut; lower stems not collected. Leaves produced from each node; petiole fleshy, u- to v-shaped in cross-section, 1-1.5 by 0.5 0.8 cm; blade oblong to broadly elliptic, gradually tapering to an acuminate apex, margin gently undulate, texture thickly coriaceous, 20-25 by 4.5-5.5 cm. Inflorescences axillary, fleshy, laxly c. 10-to 15-flowered; peduncle 6-8 cm long; non-floriferous bracts 2-4, ovate, obtuse, 0.4-0.5 by 0.6 cm, persistent; rachis c. 7-10 cm long. Floral bracts ovate, obtuse, 0.4-0.5 by 0.6 cm, persistent. Flowers resupinate, fleshy, c. 6 cm across, strongly fragrant, post-anthesis the sepals and petals remain on the ovary and close around the column. Pedicel with ovary gently curving upward, narrowly cylindrical, 4.5-5 by 0.3-0.4 cm, irregularly very shallowly grooved. Sepals and petals 11-nerved, pendent. Dorsal sepal oblanceolate, subacute, 3.5-3.6 by 1.1 cm. Lateral sepals oblanceolate, subacute, 3.5-3.6 by 1.3 cm. Petals narrowly elliptic, subacute, mid-nerve on abaxial surface raised and thickened, forming a low, blunt keel, 3.5-3.6 by 1.2 cm. Lip flabellate in outline when flattened, lower half fused with column to form a funnel, free margin irregular, undulate, reflexed, 2.7-2.8 by 2.5-2.6 cm, many-nerved, nerves simply branching distally; disc with a versatile, brush-like central boss of fimbriate plates measuring 3.5 by 4.5 mm, and c. 3 mm thick, to either side of which is an additional free flmbriate-lacerate, antenna-like division, in the basal part of which is a slightly raised, sometimes laciniate area furnished with two narrow, linear basal projections c. l mm long; apical portion of disc with a patch of a few to many fleshy papillae, each c 1-2 mm long. Column 1.9-2 cm long, c. 2 mm wide at base, narrowing to c. 1-l.2 mm at middle, 3.5 mm wide at apex, gently curving distally, ventral surface hirsute for a short distance in the basal part in the middle, otherwise glabrous; rostellum broad, truncate. Anther-cap incumbent, quadrangular, somewhat retuse, glabrous, 3 by 3.1 mm; pollinia soft and mealy, as monads. Fruit cylindrical, fleshy, pendulous, 18-20 by 1.4-1.5 cm. (After Wood, 2002)

Colours: Pedicel with ovary pure white when young and contrasting with the green buds, later pale green; mature sepals and petals pale green, lip white, stained pale lilac-pink along either side of white central boss of fimbriate plates, flushed deeper lilac-pink in front of central boss, apical papillae tipped lilac-pink, column white.

Habitat: Climber in lowland rainforest; 50 m.

Flowering time in the wild: November.

Distribution: Malesia (New Guinea).

Distribution in New Guinea: Indonesia (Papua). See map: 719-34M.JPG.