Habenaria is one of the largest genera of terrestrial orchids, with approximately 880 species well represented in both the New and Old World tropics and subtropics, with a few species extending into temperate areas, particularly in eastern Asia.
During the field survey in Southeast Yunnan, one unusual species of this genus was discovered by researchers from Xishaungbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG). After undertaking a comprehensive literature and herbarium (especially for Habenaria falcatopetala and H.wolongensis) review, it was identified as the new species. The researchers named it as Habenaria malipoensis after the type locality, Malipo County, Yunnan province, China.
Morphologically, this new species is similar to H. falcatopetala and H. wolongensis by having bilobed petals. However, it can be distinguished from the H. falcatopetala by its small and orange-yellow flowers, flower bracts longer than pedicel and ovary, elliptic sepals with an awn and side lobes of labellum shorter than midlobe (big and pale green flowers, flower bracts slightly shorter than pedicel and ovary, oblong-elliptic sepals with shortly macronate and side lobes of labellum longer than mid-lobe in H. falcatopetala) ; from the H. wolongensis by its cauline and elliptic leaves clustered in the middle of stem, glabrous stem and rachis, narrowly falcate-lanceolate upper lobe of petals and significantly anterior lobe (basal and cordate leaves, pubescent stem and rachis, ovate falcate- lanceolate upper lobe of petals and shortly anterior lobe in H. wolongensis).
The new species has been published in Phytotaxa.
Habenaria malipoensis (Images by Zhang Wenliu)
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
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