Scaphosepalum tarantula Baquero & Hirtz 2018 SECTION Leiocaulium Luer 1988
TYPE Photo/TYPE Drawing by © Baquero
Common Name The Taratula Scaphosepalum [Named for the large, hairy spiders of which this orchid flower is reminiscent because of the spiky tails of the sepals and dark color]
Flower Size .6” [1.5 cm]
Found in Pichincha province of Ecuador in cloud forests at elevations around 1800 to 1900 meters as a small sized, cool growing epiphyte with erect, slender ramicauls enveloped 2 to 3 sheaths and carrying a single, apical, erect, green suffused with red-brown to purple stains at the petiole, thinly coriaceous, conduplicate, leaf apex acute, the blade narrowly elliptical attenuate below into a slender, channeled, long petiolate base leaf that blooms in the winter on a loose, distichous, successively several flowered raceme, 2 to 4” [5 to 10 cm] long, each flower borne by a slender, glabrous to faintly verrucose, descending peduncule 1.6 to 23.8” [4 to 7 cm] long, originating from low to medially on the ramicaul, successively single, several flowered inflorescence with thin, acuminate, conduplicate, shorter than the pedicel floral bracts.
”Scaphosepalum tarantula is unique among the species of Scaphosepalum because of a particular combination of characters. The leaves suffused with red-brown to dark purple stains at the petioles, the slender, shortly spiked-apex of the central sepal, the rhomboid petals and the pandurate lip with a shovel-shaped epichile distinguishes it from any other species in the genus. This species has been mistaken as a color variation of S. fimbriatum mainly because of the long densely fimbriated-spiked tails of the lateral sepals. Nevertheless, the different shape of the lip and petals distinguishes both species. The rhomboid versus subquadarate petals and the pandurate lip with the epichile shovelshaped versus the elliptical-subpandurate, trilobed lip, separates S. tarantula from S. fimbriatum. In S. tarantula some other features are different from any of the forms of S. fimbriatum including the slenderer penduncle and pedicels, the much slenderer, spiked apex of the dorsal sepal, and the tails of the lateral sepals more densely fimbriated and commonly projecting to the front instead of projecting to the sides of the flower which is seen frequently in S. fimbriatum. Although S. zieglerae and S. beluosum also have fimbriated or speculated sepaline tails as well, the plants (to 14” [35 cm] and 10” [25 ] respectively) and the flowers are larger than those of S. tarantula. Scaphosepalum beluosum has a pair of lobes near the middle of the lip that are not present in S. tarantula. The lip on S. ziegleriae has an obtuse epichile against the rhomboid epichile in S. tarantula. In S. zieglerae the flower bracts are conspicuous and larger than the pedicel, while in S. tarantula are shorter than the pedicel. Scaphosepalum fimbriatum was found growing in Imbabura and Esmeraldas provinces, north from where S. tarantula is found, in the province of Pichincha. The forms from Esmeraldas are darker in color than those from Imbabura, nevertheless, the color and shape of the lip, the petals, the dorsal tail and the rest of the morphology are the same in the two populations.” Baquero and Hirtz 2018
References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; *Lankesteriana 18: 231-237 Baquero & Hirtz 2018 photo fide