Lepanthes caranqui Tobar & Monteros

Suarez, Francisco Tobar, Lopez, Maria Fernanda, Gavilanes, Maria Jose, Monteros, Marco Federico, Garcia, Tatiana Santander & Graham, Catherine Helen, 2021, Three new endemic species of Lepanthes (Orchidaceae, Pleurothallidinae) from the highlands of Ecuador, PhytoKeys 180, pp. 111-132: 111

publication ID


persistent identifier


treatment provided by

PhytoKeys by Pensoft

scientific name

Lepanthes caranqui Tobar & Monteros

sp. nov.

3. Lepanthes caranqui Tobar & Monteros   sp. nov.

Figs 10 View Figure 10 , 11 View Figure 11 , 12a View Figure 12


Similar to Lepanthes pachychila   Luer & Hirtz, differing in the taller plants up to 40 cm long (vs. less than 20 cm tall), the petals with narrowly triangular-oblong lobes (vs. lobes triangular), the lip with the blades thin, ovate-oblong, the base rounded and apically acute (vs. lip blade thick, broadly ovate with basal and apically rounded ends) and appendix triangular in dorsal view, with two protuberances on the top and a minute tuft of hairs at the base (vs. minutely bilobulate appendix).


Ecuador. Pichincha, Cayambe, Olmedo, El Chalpar , 5 km northwest of the San Marcos Lagoon , 3500 m, 00.15211°N, - 78.00220°W, 20 Jul 2019, Tobar, Jaramillo, Correa & Monteros 3348 (holotype QCA, spirit; isotypes QCNE, HPUSECI) GoogleMaps   .

Terrestrial, caespitose, prolific herbs up to 40 cm in height. Roots flexuous, cylindrical, deep pink. Ramicauls arcuate or pendulous, with 6-12 internodes, 4-22 × 0.2-0.8 cm long, covered completely by lepanthiform sheaths, these light brown, papillose, 0.5-2.5 cm long, the ostium microscopically muricate, acuminate. Leaves arcuate, slightly concave, 3.5-9.0 × 0.8-2.4 cm, blades ovate to oblong, light to dark green, long-attenuate, tridenticulate apically, base cuneate, contracted into a petiole 1-3 mm long. Inflorescence 1.0- 5.6 cm long, shorter than the leaves, racemose, densely flowered, one or six per stem, producing one or two successively opening flowers; peduncle filiform, 1.0- 1.5 mm long, surrounded by a basal bract. Floral bracts 2 mm long, distichous, glabrous, apiculate. Ovary 3 mm long, obpyramidal, with 6 irregular keels. Flowers ca. 13 × 8 mm; sepals minutely denticulate, entirely light yellow; petals pubescent, yellow with proximal part of the upper lobe red to brown, lip minutely pubescent white with yellow, with the base and edges of the blades purple or brown, column pink and yellow, anther white with purple apex. Dorsal sepal 7.0 × 5.0 mm, broadly ovate, shortly acuminate, 3-veined. Lateral sepals 2-veined, 6.0 × 4.0 mm, connate at least on their proximal two-thirds, obliquely ovate with divergent, shortly acuminate apices. Petals 1-veined, ca. 4.5 × 1.5 mm, transversely bilobed, lobes subequal, narrowly triangular-oblong, rounded. Lip with blades ovate-oblong, microscopically pubescent, close to each other in their proximal part and divergent at their apices, not covering the column, base of the blades rounded, apical part acute, incurved, ciliate, ca. 2.0 × 1.6 mm; connective broadly cuneate, minutely pubescent, its body connate with the base of the column, sinus obtuse, with a small, rounded, pubescent appendix, which has two protuberances on the top and a minute tuft of hairs. Column claviform, straight, ca. 2.0 × 0.8 mm; clinandrium covering only the lower half of the anther. Anther dorsal, stigma ventral. Rostellum more or less oblong with the apex rounded, yellow. Capsule not seen.

Other specimens examined.

Paratypes Ecuador. Imbabura, Ibarra, El Sagrario, forest near La Carboneria , 3732 m, 0.310255°N, - 78.066891°W, 15 May 2017, Tobar, Monge & Obando 2498 (HPUCESI, spirit) GoogleMaps   .

Distribution and ecology.

This species was collected in the buffer zone of the Cayambe-Coca National Park on the eastern Imbabura and Pichincha provinces (Fig. 4 View Figure 4 ). The population from Imbabura (Fig. 13 View Figure 13 ) grows in páramo (AsSn01) according to Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador (2013) as small groups or isolated individuals that grow on roadside embankments along with other members of Pleurothallidinae   like Draconanthes aberrans   (Schltr.) Luer, Stelis pusilla   , S. lamellata   Lindl., Pleurothallis bivalvis   Lindl. and P. apopsis   Luer. The specimens collected in Pichincha grew in evergreen montane forest (BsAn01)(Fig. 13 View Figure 13 ) according to Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador (2013), and unlike the Imbabura population, the plants grow epiphytically at the base of the trunks or on the lower branches of the trees, where they also share their habitat with Stelis pusilla   , S. lamellata   , Pleurothallis bivalvis   and P. apopsis   .


The species has been found in flowers and with fruits at different stages of maturity from May to July, suggesting that reproduction takes place all year round.


The specific epithet honors the Caranqui culture that historically occupied the same areas where this species is distributed.

Preliminary conservation status.

Lepanthes caranqui   is known from two localities within an extent of occurrence of 575 km2. It inhabits both paramo and montane forest where it is more abundant, forming small colonies on tree trunks. Its habitat is not considered to be under pressure since it is located in the buffer zone of a protected area but a potential threat would be the advance of the agricultural frontier. However, it has been observed that this orchid can adapt to moderately disturbed areas and is able to colonize different types of vegetation. Considering the abundant number of mature individuals observed in the field we estimate an approximate number of 500 mature individual and giving that its area of occupancy, habitat quality and the number of mature individuals are not declining we suggest the Least Concern (LC) category following the IUCN (2012) Red List Categories and Criteria.


Lepanthes caranqui   is morphologically most similar to L. pachychila   (Fig. 12b View Figure 12 ) from the southwest of Ecuador, it differs in having taller plants, petals narrowly triangular-oblong, the lip blade thick, broadly ovate with rounded ends, appendix triangular in the dorsal view, with two protuberances on the top and a minute tuft of hairs at the base. The new species also resembles L. ballatrix   (Fig. 12c View Figure 12 ) which is widespread in Ecuador and Colombia and L. chrysina   (Fig. 12d View Figure 12 ) endemic from the southwest of Ecuador. Both species have a triangular, acute dorsal sepal (vs. broadly-ovate, narrowly acuminate). The petal lobes in L. ballatrix   are suborbicular to broadly elliptical, and in L. chrysina   the upper lobe is oblong, obtuse and the lower obliquely triangular (vs. petals equal, narrowly triangular-oblong in L. caranqui   ), the lip blades is glabrous in L. chrysina   and minutely pubescent in L. ballatrix   and L. caranqui   , and are oblong lunate in L. ballatrix   and ovate-oblong in L. chrysina   and L. caranqui   . The appendix in L. caranqui   is triangular pubescent with two protuberances on the top, and in L. ballatrix   is triangular, minutely pubescent, thickened at the end, with a pair of minute finger like process.