FunNature & AnimalThey discover a new species of mini orchid in...

They discover a new species of mini orchid in Peru

It is called Platystele peruviana and if you wonder how it differs from other orchids, it is due to its ovate labellum with a circular glenion and parallel subfalcate and conate lateral sepals.

newly described species

Described in the Phytotaxa journal, Platystele peruviana, found in the Peruvian department of Pasco, was first described in 1910 by the German taxonomist and botanist Friedrich Richard Rudolf Schlechter.

Its extension is distributed from the south of Mexico to Bolivia, including the Antilles, finding up to 140 species of this genus of orchids Orchidaceae (and about 10 located in Peru).

According to scientists, it is considered the smallest orchid in the world, with a flower size of 2.5 mm and a whole plant up to 2.5 cm long.

“Nine Peruvian species of Platystele measure more than 5 cm from the base ”, explained Federico Rizo Patrón, a researcher at the Neotropical Wetland Training Center and co-author of the study. “Only Platystele psix has a plant that is more than 2 cm from the base, and Platystele peruviana is only 1.4 cm from the base.”

In their study, the biologists explain that the small orchid is found only in Oxapampa, which is part of the Oxapampa Ashaninka Yanesha Biosphere Reserve.

“The type specimen was observed during a field trip down a stream in the Gramazú area of Oxapampa, Pasco, Peru. The ecosystem where it was found is a montane forest” , continues Rizo Patrón. “The plant was located on a small branch with a diameter of 3 cm; totally covered with moss, approximately 1 meter from the ground.”

“The area was dimly lit due to proximity to the forest floor and very humid due to the nearby presence of a stream. The temperature range varies between 4 and 28 degrees Celsius. Other orchids of the Pleurothallinidae group were also observed in this place”.

“Unfortunately, in Peru there is no data on the status of the population and that makes it very difficult at this time to make precise assumptions about its conservation status,” concludes the researcher, recalling that in Peru, all orchids are considered threatened by trade issues and are included in the CITES convention.

Reference: Federico L. Curl Pattern. 2022. Platystele peruviana sp nov. (Orchidaceae), the smallest orchid from Peru. Phytotaxa 564(1); doi: 10.11646/phytotaxa.564.1.9

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