Lepanthes sp. nov. LJ 2951

 

Front and side views of this new Lepanthes species.

 

 

   I discovered this species in the year 2000 while exploring with noted orchid expert Stig Dalstrom. He was looking for his favorite genus, Masdevallia, and he had just found a new Masdevallia which was later named Masdevallia stigii. I was focussing on my genus, Lepanthes. On a fallen branch I found this small species. Both the plant and the flower closely resembled Lepanthes benzingii, a common species in the area. I thought it really was L. benzingii, but I collected it anyway as part of my research on geographic variation in Lepanthes. I kept it alive, and weeks later I finally looked at a flower under a microscope. It was totally different in structure than L. benzingii!!! The flower color and plant habit had fooled me completely. This is one of several species I discovered by blind luck.

      In January 2003 I explored the Galeras mountains some distance to the north of the Upper Pastaza Watershed. To my surprise I found this species growing there, so it now is no longer an endemic to my area, and I really shouldn't have it in here. I include it anyway because I discovered it here first. It is worth remembering that our knowledge of the flora of the eastern Andes is very poor, and I expect a few other species in this book will eventually be found outside of the Upper Pastaza Watershed.

 

Here is my botanical drawing of this new species.