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Nervilia Comm. ex Gaud.


Description from Flora of China

Aplostellis Thouars; Bolborchis Zollinger & Moritzi; Cordyla Blume (1825), not Loureiro (1790); Roptrostemon Blume; Stellorkis Thouars.

Herbs, terrestrial. Tubers globose or ovoid, cormlike, fleshy, few to several noded, with a few short roots at nodes or rootless. Stem arising from apex of tuber and giving rise to an inflorescence and a leaf in succession, bearing 1 to several lateral, subterranean runners during leafing period. Runners producing new tubers at apex. Leaf solitary, usually emerging after anthesis, usually horizontal, cordate, orbicular, reniform, or elliptic, palmately veined, often plicate, membranous or fleshy, glabrous or pubescent, base cordate, apex acute, obtuse, or rounded, borne on an elongate, erect or prostrate petiole-like stalk. Inflorescence erect, terminal, slender or slightly stout, usually slightly fleshy, glabrous; peduncle with 1 to several tubular sheaths, elongating in fruit in 1-flowered species; rachis 1-, 2-, or several flowered; floral bracts usually small, lanceolate. Flowers erect or nodding, resupinate or not, medium-sized, opening widely or not; pedicel becoming erect and elongating in fruit in 1-flowered species. Sepals and petals similar, narrowly ovate or elliptic; lip 3-lobed or occasionally simple, base spurless or spurred, apex entire or fimbriate. Column elongate, clavate, slender, not winged; anther terminal, incumbent, usually ovoid, 2-locular; pollinia 2, cleft, granular-farinaceous, sectile; caudicle absent; viscidium reduced or prominent; rostellum broad, entire, sometimes absent; stigmatic surface shield-shaped to orbicular, lying below rostellum.

This is a taxonomically problematic genus that remains poorly understood, primarily because the solitary inflorescence and solitary leaf usually emerge and are present aboveground at different times in the growing season, frequently leading to incomplete herbarium collections and species circumscriptions. Some of the widespread taxa may represent species complexes and are in need of critical re-examination.

Incompletely known species

Nervilia taitoensis (Hayata) Schlechter, Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 10: 6. 1911.

台东芋兰 tai dong yu lan

Pogonia taitoensis Hayata, J. Coll. Sci. Imp. Univ. Tokyo 30(1): 346. 1911.

Tuber subglobose, 6-8 mm in diam. Leaf not known. Inflorescence ca. 11 cm, 2-flowered; peduncle with 2 tubular sheaths; floral bracts linear, ca. 10 × 1 mm. Flowers resupinate; pedicel and ovary ca. 5 mm. Sepals narrowly linear-elliptic, 15-20 × 1-2 mm, apex acuminate. Petals narrowly linear-elliptic, 15-19 × 1.2-1.5 mm, apex acuminate; lip purple, obovate, ca. 18 × 6-10 mm, base cuneate, spurless, 3-lobed above middle, apex acute; lateral lobes small, apices truncate; mid-lobe ovate, margin slightly undulate; disk hirsute. Column ca. 7 mm.

● S Taiwan.

Nervilia taitoensis is known only from the type collection, which consists of a single inflorescence.

About 65 species: tropical and subtropical Africa, Madagascar, and parts of the Arabian Peninsula, across India, Nepal, and Bhutan to Japan, SE Asia, New Guinea, N Australia, and the SW Pacific islands; nine species (three endemic) in China; one additional species (endemic) is incompletely known.

(Authors: Chen Xinqi (陈心启 Chen Sing-chi); Stephan W. Gale)

Lower Taxa


Related Objects  

Flora of China  
  • Nervilia.pdf
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