Lepanthes variabilis C.M.Sm., Pupulin & D.Jiménez 2013 SECTION Lepanthes SUBSECTION Lepanthes SERIES Elongatae 1993

Plant and Flowers

Photos by © Wiel Driessen and his Faceboook Page

Another Flower


TYPE Drawing Photos/TYPE Drawing by © C.M.Sm., Pupulin & D.Jiménez , Used under permission of The Epidendra Website

Common Name The Variable Lepanthes

Flower Size .12 to .2" [3 to 5 mm]

Found in Cartago province of Costa Rica on the Cordillera de Talamanca’s northernmost range in lower montane rain forest, in secondary mature vegetation with remnants of primary vegetation at elevations around 2750 to 2850 meters as a mini-miniature sized, cold growing, caespitose epiphyte with suberect to pendent ramicauls enveloped by 5 to 8, pale brown, micro-papillose along the ribs lepanthiform sheaths with oblique, dilated, papillose-subciliate ostia thickened along the margins and carrying a single, apical, erect, coriaceous, dark green, suffused with purple beneath, elliptic, subacute, emarginate, with an abaxial apiculae, cuneate below into the petiolate base leaf that blooms in the fall on 1 to 3, above or beneath the leaf, longer than the leaf, peduncle, .16 to 1.2" [4 to 30 mm] long, rachis fractiflex, lax, to .12 to 2.4" [.3 to 6 cm] long, succvessively single, to 13 flowered inflorescence with ovate, acute to subacuminate, glabrous, pale brown, shorter than the pedicel floral bracts.

"Lepanthes variabilis has been misidentified as L. minutilabia in herbaria and living collections. Although sharing some characteristics such as the reduced lip, they differ in that L. variabilis is larger, being almost twice the height of L. minutilabia. Lepanthes variabilis can also be distinguished by the larger, subacute (vs. broadly obtuse to rounded) leaves suffused with purple on the underside (vs. all dark green), and the successively many flowered (to 13 vs. to 9), lax (vs. congested) inflorescences to 3.6" [9 cm] long (vs. to 1.52" [3.9 cm] long). The flowers of L. variabilis are pale brown to pale yellowish-orange, with pinkish veins on the sepals, the petals always with pink markings, and the lateral petals suffused with pink (vs. pale yellow to pail reddish green in L. minutilabia, the petals only sometimes with pink markings). Also, in L. variabilis the sepals are irregularly denticulate and acuminate (vs. entire and acute), and the petals are irregular, unequal to each other, and with acute lobes separated by a deep sinus (vs. subtrapezoidal, the sinus shallow). The shape of the lip is also very irregular in L. variabilis. Lepanthes variabilis has only been collected in the Talamanca Mountains in Costa Rica."


References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; * Lepanthes variabilis (Orchidaceae: Pleurothallidinae), a new endemic species from Costa Rica Smith, Jimenez, & Pupulin 2013 drawing fide; Vanishing Beauty, Native Costa Rican Orchids Vol 2 Lacaena to Pteroglossa Pupulin 2020 photo fide