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51. Vanilla Plumier ex P. Miller, Gard. Dict. Abr., ed. 4. 1754.

香荚兰属 xiang jia lan shu

Authors: Xinqi Chen & Phillip J. Cribb

Vines, climbing, herbaceous, to several meters long. Stem with an aerial root and a leaf at each node. Leaves large, fleshy, shortly petiolate [sometimes reduced to scales outside Flora area]. Racemes axillary, several to many flowered. Flowers resupinate, often large, often with an abscission layer between ovary and perianth. Sepals and petals similar, free, spreading. Lip often joined to sides of column with its basal margin, sometimes almost to top of column and ± trumpet-shaped, free part often dilated, spurless, sometimes 3-lobed, disk often with hairy appendages adaxially. Column long, slender, slightly curved near top; anther inserted pointing downward; pollinia 2 or 4, granular-farinaceous or loosely granular, without caudicle or viscidium; rostellum often broad, below anther. Fruit cylindric, fleshy, often indehiscent. Seeds with stout testa, often black, wingless.

About 70 species: throughout the tropics; four species (two endemic) in China; one additional species (endemic) is incompletely known.

Incompletely known species

Vanilla taiwaniana S. S. Ying, Quart. J. Chin. Forest. 20: 55. 1987.

宝岛香荚兰 bao dao xiang jia lan

Stem scandent, elongate, with long internodes, with a leaf at each node. Leaves alternate; blade narrowly ovate-elliptic or elliptic-lanceolate, 10-15 × 5-7 cm, apex acute or acuminate; petiole 1-1.5 cm, ± amplexicaul. Inflorescence terminal, racemose, 15-30 cm, many flowered; floral bracts reddish or brownish, ovate, 5-6 mm; pedicel and ovary 1-1.8 cm, glabrous. Flowers reddish or brownish, glabrous. Sepals oblanceolate, 25-30 × 6-8 mm, base contracted, apex obtuse. Petals linear, 25-28 × 3-4 mm, apex obtuse; lip narrowly elliptic or elliptic, adaxially villous at center, 3-lobed, margin indistinctly serrate; disk with 2 thickened ridges. Column 2-2.5 cm. Fl. unknown.

● Thickets; 800-1600 m. C Taiwan.

No specimen of this species has been seen. According to the original description and the color photograph provided by the author (Coloured Ill. Indig. Orchids Taiwan 2: photo: 109. 1990), this taxon seems to be a member of Galeola rather than Vanilla.

1 Inflorescence very short, usually 2-flowered.   2 V. somae
+ Inflorescence 3-20 cm, many flowered   (2)
2 (1) Sepals and petals 14-20 × 4-6 mm, white tinged with greenish.   4 V. annamica
+ Sepals and petals 38-48 × 10-28 mm, yellowish green, sometimes with purple-red lip   (3)
3 (2) Sepals and petals 10-13 mm wide; lip not purple-red.   1 V. siamensis
+ Sepals and petals 16-28 mm wide; lip purple-red.   3 V. shenzhenica

Lower Taxa


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