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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Orchidaceae

50. Harrisella Fawcett & Rendle, J. Bot. 47: 265. 1909.

[For William H. Harris, 1860–1920, F.L.S., British botanist and prolific collector of Jamaican plants]

James D. Ackerman

Herbs epiphytic, monopodial, miniature, glabrous. Roots velamentous, slender. Stems very short, inconspicuous. Leaves absent or scalelike. Inflorescences axillary, often sparsely branched. Flowers fewer than 12, not resupinate, minute, globose; sepals and petals similar, distinct and free; lip simple, with basal, saccate spur; column short; anthers terminal, incumbent, operculate; pollinaria 2, each with 1 hard, waxy pollinium attached to stipe; viscidia 2, elongate; ovary subsessile. Fruits capsules, dehiscent, 3 broad valves alternating with 3 linear ribs, all 6 segments separating from distal end and reflexing.

Species 1: subtropical and tropical regions, North America, Mexico, West Indies, Central America.

Harrisella merits careful systematic study. Although L. O. Williams (1965) asserted that the genus has no characteristics by which it can be distinguished from Campylocentrum, among the Caribbean species Harrisella is readily distinguished by several key characteristics: capsules that dehisce from the distal end and separate into 6 parts; relatively long-pedicellate ovaries; and slender, sometimes branched, laxly flowered inflorescences. In addition, Harrisella may be distinguished from Campylocentrum by having two pollinaria instead of one, each possessing only one pollinium. It seems likely that the genus may be more related to the Caribbean Dendrophylax.

Lower Taxon


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