VELLOZICOLA: A RECENT DISCRIBED SPECIES
ORCHIDACEAE FROM BAHIA, BRAZIL
VAN DEN BERG1, E. C. SMIDT1 AND
de Sistemática Molecular de Plantas, Universidade
Estadual de Feira de Santana,
BR 116, Km 3, 44031-460, Feira de Santana, Bahia,
2Rua Aníbal Bittencourt, 345,
45615-000, Buerarema, Bahia, Brazil
recent discovered species of Leptotes from
Bahia, Leptotes vellozicolla Van den Berg,
E.C.Smidt & Marçal, is described and
illustrated. It is known only from the Chapada Diamantina,
Bahia, Brazil, growing epiphytically on Vellozia
genus Leptotes was originally described
by Lindley (1853), who coined the name from the
greek leptos, meaning tender or narrow,
based on the thin appearance of the floral parts
and leaves. In the original concept the genus
was characterized by epiphytic, small, caespitose
plants, inconspicous cylindric rhizomes, unifoliate
pseudobulbs smaller than the cylindric, fleshy,
canaliculate leaves. The inflorescence is a small
1-5-flowered raceme, with large flowers in relation
to the plants, and narrow, similar petals and
sepals, and a 3-lobed lip. The pollinaria is rather
unique in Laeliinae, with 3 pairs of pollinia,
being one large and two small. Such a pollinarium
morphology is found only in the monotypic genus
Loefgrenianthus, whose only species was
originally described as a Leptotes. Molecular
data (van den Berg et al. 2000) showed that Loefgrenianthus
is sister to a group with all species of Leptotes,
and could possibly be included in the latter,
as originally described by Löfgren (1918).
Bentham (1881) synonymized Leptotes under
Tetramicra, despite the fact that the latter
bears two pairs of pollinia. Cogniaux (1902) reestablished
Leptotes, and listed then five species
and three varieties. The first standalone revision
of the genus was published by Krackowizer (1954a,b),
in which he listed eleven species, occurring from
Espírito Santo to Rio Grande do Sul States
in Brazil, and extending to eastern Paraguay.
However, in the classic checklist of the Brazilian
orchids included in Pabst & Dungs (1975),
they accepted only three species, and four synonyms.
Withner (1993) accepted five species, but omitted
the other six validly published names in the genus,
leaving unclear whether he considered them synonyms
or obscure species. According to a molecular phylogenetic
analysis based on data from ITS DNA sequences
(van den Berg et al. 2000), Leptotes belongs
to a basal clade in Laeliinae, which includes
Constantia, Isabelia, and Pseudolaelia.
This clade comprises several genera which are
native to Eastern and Southern Brazil, and are
generally small plants, mainly growing on Velloziaceae
or rocks, or small trees, associated mainly with
the “campos rupestres” vegetation.
The new genus Adamantinia also belongs
to this clade (van den Berg, unpublished molecular
data). Unlike other members of this clade, Leptotes
occurs mainly in wet areas in the Atlantic
Dungs (1975) listed only L. bicolor Lindl.
for Bahia State. Recently, two new species were
described, L. bonhkiana Campacci (Campacci
2005) and L.pohlitinocoi V.P.Castro &
Chiron (Castro Neto & Chiron 2004). Both new
species occur in the Atlantic Rainforest near
the shore in Southern Bahia. They present very
similar floral morphology but striking size differences
in vegetative and floral parts, being probably
related to L. unicolor Barb.Rodr. In recent
field work in the central portion of the State,
we found another new species, that appears more
related to L. pauloensis Hoehne than to
the two new coastal species. It occurs in the
Chapada Diamantina region, which is known for
possessing a very particular and diverse flora,
and which has been revealing many new species
(e.g. Smidt & Toscano de Brito 2004) and even
new genera, such as Adamantinia (van den
Berg & Gonçalves 2004).
vellozicola Van den Berg, E.C.Smidt &
1:1-5 Type BRAZIL. Bahia: Chapada Diamantina,
30 Oct 2005, E.C.
Smidt, C. van den Berg, & S. Marçal
650 (Holotype: HUEFS!). Figs. 1, 2.
L. tenui et praesertim L. pauloensi similis propter
labelli cum lobis latis et lobo terminali bilobato
fimbriis brevissimis instructo, sed ab ambobus
speciebus labello cum lamellis latis basalibus
et callo conspicuo in apicem differt.
caespitose herb, 2-3 cm high. Rhizome
rather short, inconspicuous. Pseudobulbs
cyllindric, 3-5 × 3-4 mm, 1leaved, vinaceous,
covered by papery sheaths. Leaf cylindric,
15-20 × c. 4 mm, fleshy, canaliculate, vinaceous,
leaf surface verrucose, apex acuminate. Inflorescence
a 1-flowered raceme, c. 2 cm long. Flowers
light lavender to white, lip with pinkish
dash in the mid portion between the lateral lobes,
and apex with a yellow callus, sepals lanceolate,
c. 9 × 4 mm, lateral sepal free, slightly
falciform, petals linear-lanceolate, c. 8 ×
3 mm, lip trilobed, c. 7 × 7 mm, lateral
lobes triangular, obtuse, c. 7 mm diam., midlobe
lanceolate-ovate, c. 5 mm diam., disk 2-lamellate
in the base, lamellae lanceolate, c. 4 mm., white,
basally thickened, convergent, apex acute; apical
callus linear, c. 1.5 mm long, yellow, column
c. 2 mm long; stigma broad, entire. Fruit
purplish vinaceous, lanceolate, c. 3 cm long.
Named in reference to Vellozia sp., on
which this species grows in the natural habitat.
BRAZIL, Bahia: Chapada Diamantina, 30 OCT 2005
(in fruit). E.C. Smidt, C. van den Berg &
S. Marçal 652 (HUEFS).
Known only from a single location in the Chapada
Epiphyte on shaded positions on Vellozia
sp. stems, in a rather open scrubland on rocky
Leptotes vellozicolla grows exclusively
on Velloziaceae, in the "campos rupestres"
vegetation, at ca. 900 m above sea level. Flower
morphology is similar to L. tenuis Rchb.f.
and L. pauloensis, considering the shape
of the lip with broad lateral lobes, and a terminal
lobe bilobed with a shortly fimbriate apex. However,
it can be differentiated from both by the two
basal lamellae and a callus in the lip apex. Leptotes
pauloensis has pink flowers, and lateral lobes
narrower than the midlobe, narrow basal lamellae
and does not bear a callus in the lip apex, whereas
L. tenuis bears whitish-cream flower with
a purple zone near the base, short, narrow lammellae
and callus absent. This species is the only in
the genus known to grow on Vellozia sp.,
which in itself is a very interesting link, considering
that this pattern is very similar to that of Constantia
and Pseudolaelia. Th is might
suggest that this species is a rather relictual,
basal species in the genus, in addition to L.
blancheamesiae Loefgr. The fimbriate bilobed
lip also suggests a relationship among the latter,
the new species, L. pauloensis and L.
tenuis. The species phylogeny within Leptotes
needs to be reevaluated to examine in detail these
hypotheses. The exact locality is not revealed
for protecting the species from illegal collection,
since the only population known is not in a protected
area. CONSERVATION STATUS: Vulnerable (IUCN criterion
Vu D2). Leptotes vellozicola has been found
so far in the Southern portion of the Chapada
Diamantina, in a restricted area that justifies
the criterion D2 of the IUCN. The area is subject
to frequent fires, at the same time that the destruction
of the species of Vellozia in which this
species grow are a clear threat to the only population
1. Leptotes vellozicolla Van den Berg,
E.C.Smidt & Marçal.
A. Plant in flower. B. Floral analysis.C. Column,
adaxial view. D. Lip, lateral view. (Illustration
voucher: Smidt et al. 650, holotype). Drawn
by C. de Lima.
2. Leptotes vellozicolla Van den Berg,
E.C.Smidt & Marçal.
A. Plant growing epiphytically on Vellozia
sp. B. Flower. C. Flower close-up.
1) Bentham, G. 1881. Notes on orchideae. Journal
of the Linnaean Society, Botany 18:281-360.
Campacci, M. 2005. Leptotes bohnkiana
Boletim CAOB 53:18-20. Castro Neto, V.P.
& Chiron, G.R. 2004.
3) Contribution à la conaissance des orchidées
I. Une nouvelle espèce de Maxillaria
de Espirito Santo. II. Une nouvelle espèce
de Leptotes de Bahia. Richardiana
A. 1902. Leptotes. In: Martius, C.F. Flora
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species of Sarcoglottis (Orchidaceae -Spiranthinae),
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den Berg, C. & Gonçalves, C.N. 2004.
Adamantinia, a showy new genus of Laeliinae
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den Berg, C.; Higgins, W.E.; Dressler, R.L.; Whitten,
W.M.; Soto Arenas, M.A.; Culham, A.; Chase, M.W.
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by the authors
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