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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 1/22/2013)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 1/22/2013)
Genus CRYPTOCENTRUM Benth
PlaceOfPublication Jour. Linn. Soc. 18:325. 1881, nom. nud.
Reference Benth. & Hook. Gen. Pl. 3:557. 1883.
Synonym Pittierella Schltr. in Fedde Rep. Sp. Nov. 3:80. 1906.
Description Small erect, epiphytic herbs with 1 to several short stems, usually without pseudobulbs, the cylindric basal portions of the stems enveloped in the rigid, persistent leaf bases. Leaves approximate, 2-ranked, linear to ligular, coriaceous, usually confined to the upper portions of the stems. Inflorescences few to numerous, slender, erect or arching, 1-flowered scapes produced from the bases of the plants, usually less than (but sometimes exceeding) the leaves, the peduncles enveloped in tubular, acute or acuminate, papery sheaths, the uppermost of which is much the longest, completely covering the ovary, only the perianth segments of the flowers being exserted. Flowers relatively small. Sepals narrow, the free portions widely spreading, the dorsal sepal usually a little shorter than the laterals, the bases of which are connate and produced into a long, narrow spur which is appressed to the ovary and nearly equaling it in length. Petals subequal to the dorsal sepal or smaller. Lip continuous with the base of the column, produced into an elongate tubular projection contained within, and nearly equaling the sepaline spur, the free limb entire or more or less divided into a basal and an apical half, the basal half concave to subsaccate, the erect lateral margins enclosing the column, the apical half usually lanceolate or eliiptic-lanceolate and spreading. Column short, very stout, wingless but with the apex usually with a pair of lateral auricles covering the clinandrium, the base without a foot. Anther terminal, operculate, incumbent, 1-celled; pollinia 2-4, waxy.
Note A small genus of tropical American highland epiphytes, ranging from Costa Rica to Peru. Until more adequate collections are available for study, it would be profitless to speculate on the possible number of valid entities. Although the described species vary considerably in size, the flowers of most seem to be remark- ably constant in structure, so that many of the names may eventually be reduced to synonymy or some perhaps retained as local varieties of a few somewhat poly- morphic species. Four entities are separable in Panama, largely on a basis of size and vegetative habit.
Key a. Plants less than 3 cm. tall. Inflorescences conspicuously exceeding the leaves ..................................... 4. C. STANDLEYI aa. Plants more than 6 cm. tall. Inflorescences less than, or barely equaling the leaves. b. Plants 6-12 cm. tall. Leaves 3.5 mm. wide or less. Spur 1.2-2.0 cm. long .......... 1. C. GRACILIPES bb. Plants more than 12 cm. tall. Leaves 3.5 mm. wide or more. Spur about 3 cm. long. c. Leaves narrowly linear, acuminate . ....................... 2. C. INAEQUISEPALUM cc. Leaves broadly ligular, unequally emarginate .......... 3. C. LATIFOLIUM
 
 
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