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A princess in the forest

May 16, 2011

The book Orchid Genera of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam by Schuiteman & de Vogel is eminent also in that it shows colour photographs of representatives of almost all genera treated. Since it was published eleven years ago, some new genera have been resurrected, based on molecular analyses. Indeed anyone acquainted with the Southeast Asian orchids would agree with Gunnar Seidenfaden’s quotation (1982) “…this genus as circumscribed by Lindley and as understood by later authors, has had so many heterogeneous elements included that considerations must be given to possible separations into more genera” (Opera Botanica 62:1-157). Yesterday Dr Alec Pridgeon at Kew Gardens sent us more data on the resurrected genus Pinalia (see comment on ‘The Last Days of the Orchids‘).

Apparently there is a need to publish photographs of representatives of these ‘new’ genera. Previously I have shown Eria pannea & Eria tomentosa as examples of Eria sensu stricto, and Callostylis rigida, so today I show Pinalia acervata.

It has the classical Eria sensu lato character: 8 pollinia, spur-less lip and a cavity in the stem from which the inflorescence arises, but unlike the hairy flowers of Eria and Callostylis, Pinalia acervata is glabrous and delicate. It has slightly nodding flowers on thin flower stalks, making it a slender and delicate lady compared to the more robust Neanderthal Eria and pubescent Callostylis with its characteristic arching column. Pinalia acervata is white, and this fairness makes me think of John Bauer’s Princess Tuvstarr.

Pinalia acervata is included in the Orchid Ark and can be seen at Dokmai Garden in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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