Orchid (Bifrenaria harrisoniae)

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Orchid - Bifrenaria harrisoniae
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Orchid fact file

Orchid description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassLiliopsida
OrderOrchidales
FamilyOrchidaceae
GenusBifrenaria (1)

Like most epiphytic orchids, Bifrenaria harrisoniae has a swollen storage organ known as a ‘pseudobulb’ at its base (2) (3). The prominent pseudobulb is conical to egg-shaped and ranges in colour from yellow to green (2). Arising from the apex of each pseudobulb is a single dark-green, pleated leaf, and a one to three flowered inflorescence (2) (4). The waxy petals and sepals of the sweetly fragrant flowers are generally creamy-white to pale yellow (4) (5), while the hairy lip is reddish pink with a deep yellow centre (2) (4) (5).

Size
Height: 10 - 40 cm (2)
Leaf length: 8 - 38.5 cm (2)
Leaf width: 3 - 7cm (2)
Inflorescence: 2 - 20 cm (2)
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Orchid biology

Bifrenaria harrisoniae tends to grow as an epiphyte in closed forests, but in open areas is often found growing on rocks (2) (4). Its showy flowers can be seen from July to December and are visited by euglossine bees and bumblebees, which almost certainly act as pollinators (2) (6).

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Orchid range

Endemic to Brazil, Bifrenaria harrisoniae occurs in the states of Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina and São Paulo (2).

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Orchid habitat

Found at elevations from 750 to 1,800 metres in wet montane forests, riparian forests and ‘campos rupestres’, a shrubby grassland habitat of eastern Brazil (2).

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Orchid status

This species has not yet been assessed by the IUCN.

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Orchid threats

Bifrenaria harrisoniae is commonly cultivated (4) and there are no known significant threats to wild populations.

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Orchid conservation

There are currently no known conservation measures in place for Bifrenaria harrisoniae.

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Find out more

For further information on the conservation of orchids see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
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Glossary

Epiphyte
A plant that uses another plant, typically a tree, for its physical support, but which does not draw nourishment from it.
Lip
The enlarged third petal of an orchid flower that often acts as a landing platform for pollinators.
Sepals
Part of the flower (collectively comprising the calyx) that forms the protective outer layer of a flower bud.
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References

  1. ITIS (January, 2009)
    http://www.itis.gov
  2. Koehler, S. and Amaral, M.C.E. (2004) A taxonomic study of the South American genus Bifrenaria Lindl. (Orchidaceae). Brittonia, 56(4): 314 - 345.
  3. Hew, C.S. and Yong, J.W.H. (1997) Physiology of tropical orchids in relation to the industry. World Scientific, Singapore.
  4. la Croix, I. (2008) The New Encyclopedia of Orchids: 1500 Species in Cultivation. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.
  5. Cullen, J. (1992) The orchid book: a guide to identification of cultivated orchid species. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  6. Davies, K.L. and Stpiczyńska, M. (2008) Labellar Micromorphology of Two Euglossine-pollinated Orchid Genera; Scuticaria Lindl. and Dichaea Lindl. Annals of Botany, 102(5): 805 - 824.
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Image credit

Orchid - Bifrenaria harrisoniae  
Orchid - Bifrenaria harrisoniae

© John Varigos

John Varigos
Melbourne
Australia
jvarigos@mediclin.com.au
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jvinoz/

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