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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Identifying our Acineta

Great news: we have a name on our mystery Acineta. And it's not erythroxantha, the name that was on the label when we received it from a Panamanian grower. In order to make the determination, it was necessary to dissect a couple of flowers and send photographs to Dr. Günter Gerlach at Münich Botanical Garden. He was very specific about which floral parts he needed to see. Here is what I sent him.

Shown above, I've removed two lateral sepals and one of the lateral petals in order to show the lip in side view. Each side of the lip has two deep incisions, creating a side lobe. The column is white and partly hidden by the lip.

Next, I made a longitudinal cut through the lip to show it in cross section. The interior has blood red spots. You can see the callus, chair-shaped and white in cross section.

Then, I removed a second flower and cut off everything but the the lip and the ovary. Above, you can see the lip, face up. It is shaped like a shallow scoop. Just above the broadly U-shaped edge of the lip is the callus, which is wide and thin seen from above. The lip and callus are important diagnostic features.

The underside of the lip.

The pollinarium, including two pollinia and a sticky orange viscidium.

This must have been an easy call for Dr. Gerlach, who described this species, Acineta mireyae, in 2003. Additonal photos appear on his amazing Stanhopeinae image data base, where you can compare A. mireyae with some closely related Central American species, Acineta sulcata and Acineta sella-tucica. In fairness to the grower from whom we purchased our plant, I should mention that it was shipped to us in 2002, before publication of the epithet mireyae. Our thanks to Dr. Gerlach for solving this mystery!


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