Epidendrum pentadactylum Rchb.f. 1854 GROUP Oerstedella SUBGROUP Verrucosum

Photo by © Walter Schug and His MesoAmerican Orchid Page

Flower Closeup

Plant and Inflorescence

Photos by © Daniel Jimenez


Drawing by © Jimenez, Hágsater & E.Santiago and The AMO Herbario Website

Cool to Coldfall to Spring

Common Name The 5 Fingered Epidendrum

Flower Size .15" to .2" [3.5 to 5 mm]

Found in Costa Rica and recently in Chiapas state of Mexico at elevations of 1000 to 2500 meters in wet/dry montane forests as a large to giant sized, cool to cold growing epiphyte with erect, cane-like, terete, very thin, apically branching, branches erect but shorter than the main stems, enveloped basally by tubular, purple spotted, non-leafed sheaths and carrying 5 to 8, all along the apical half of the stems, deciduous, alternate, articulate, linear-lanceolate, acute, minutely apiculate, entire margined leaves that blooms in the fall through spring on an erect, terminal, sessile, racemose, heliconically arranged on the rachis, densely successively 2 to 5 at any one time, 10 to 27 flowered inflorescence with shorter than the ovaries, triangular-ovate, acute floral bracts and carrying somewhat fragrant flowers.

"Epidendrum pentadactylum belongs to the GROUP Oerstedella which is characterized by the sympodial habit, mostly verrucose stems, and the rostellum which is perpendicular to the axis of the column instead of parallel, forming a wide, open sinus, and without a viscidium and the SUBGROUP Verrucosum, recognized by the small to medium sized, membranaceous flowers with sepals and petals immaculate, a bilobed clinandrium-hood slightly surpassing the body of the column, obovoid, subequal pollinia with long granulose caudicles. The species is recognized by the thin stems, profusely branching near the apex, the inflorescence apical, short, compact, flowers small with sepals .172 to .192" [4.3 to 4.8 mm] long, the sepals and petals reflexed, reddish brown, rarely greenish, lip white, with the lateral lobes divlded into 2 or 3 finger-like lobes. The specimen collected in Chiapas state of Mexlco differs in having more lanceolate petals, a prominent midlobe of the lip with the lobes wide and laminar, subquadrate. Epidendrum caligarium Rchb.f. has larger sepals .22 to .24" [5.5 to 6.0 mm] long, pink colored flowers, a longer, ,somewhat inflated ovary .5 to .8" [15 to 20 mm] long), and the lateral lobes of the lip deeply 4 to 5-laciniate. Epidendrum niveocaligarium Hágsater is similar to the latter, but the flowers are snow-white. Epidendrum exasperatum Rchb.f. has large, vigorous, much branched plants, apical and lateral inflorescences, dorsally exasperate, greenish brown sepals and petals .4 to .52" [10 to 13 mm] long, and the lateral lobes of the lip irregularly dentate." Hagsater etal 2006

Synonyms Oerstedella pentadactyla (Rchb.f.) Hágsater 1981

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Bonplandia Rchb.f 1854; Xenia Orchidaceae Rchb.f 1854 drawing; Repert. Sp. Nov. Regni. Veg. Beih. 19: 41. Costa Rica Schlechter 1923; Repert. Sp. Nov. Regni. Veg. Beih. 19: 123. Costa Rica Schlechter 1923; Repert. Sp. Nov. Regni. Veg. Beih. 19: 216. Costa Rica Schlechter 1923; The Genus Epidendrum Ames 1936 as Epidendrum pendactylum; Ceiba Vol 5 No 1 L O Williams 1956; Orquideologia Vol 12 No 1 1977; Icones Planetarum Tropicarum Plate 1461 Mora & Atwood 1992 drawing fide; Field Guide to the Orchids of Costa Rica and Panama Dressler 1993; Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica Vol 3 Hammel, Grayum, Herrera and Zamora 2003 as Oerstedella pentdactyla; Orchids of Mexico Hagsater, Soto, Salazar, Jimenez, Lopez and Dressler 2005; Icones Orchidacearum 8 Plate 869 Hagsater & Sanchez 2006 drawing fide; Orchids of Costa Rica Vol 1 Morales 2009 photo fide; Orchid Genera and Species in Guatemala Archila, Szlachchetko, Chiron, Lipinska, Mystkowska and Bertolini 2018; Vanishing Beauty, Native Costa Rican Orchids Vol 2 Lacaena to Pteroglossa Pupulin 2020 photo fide