Leporella A.S.George
Nuytsia 1(4):183 (1971)

Name Status: Current
Browse to the list of specimens for Leporella A.S.George

Scientific Description
H.R. Coleman, Thursday 8 September 2016

Family Orchidaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Herbs (forming extensive colonies). Perennial. Leaves basal (with prominent red stripes). Tuberous (tubers ovoid; new tubers produced well away from the parent plant on long rhizome-like droppers). Helophytic, or mesophytic. Leaves small to medium-sized; ‘herbaceous’, or leathery; petiolate; simple. Leaf blades entire; flat; ovate; parallel-veined; cross-venulate, or without cross-venules. Leaf blade margins entire. Vernation conduplicate. Leaf anatomy. Hairs absent. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Entomophilous (male flying ants). Pollination mechanism conspicuously specialized (the ants depositing or removing pollen while attempting to mate with the labellum).

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’. Inflorescence few-flowered. Flowers in racemes (loose). The terminal inflorescence unit racemose. Inflorescences scapiflorous, or not scapiflorous; terminal; stem bracts 1 or 2. Flowers small to medium-sized; odourless; very irregular; zygomorphic; resupinate. The floral asymmetry involving the perianth and involving the androecium. Flowers 3 merous; cyclic; supposedly basically pentacyclic. Perigone tube absent. Perianth of ‘tepals’, or with distinct calyx and corolla; 6; 2 -whorled; isomerous (but zygomorphic); free; green to yellow (with reddish brown or purplish markings). Calyx (if the outer whorl be so designated) 3 (the median member ostensibly posterior); 1 -whorled; polysepalous. Corolla (i.e. the members of the inner whorl) 3; polypetalous; imbricate. Androecium 3, or 1 (by misinterpretation). Androecial members free of the perianth; united with the gynoecium (fused with the style to form a column or ‘gynostemium’; column without an apical point); coherent (via the gynostemium); 1 - adelphous; theoretically 2 -whorled. Androecium including staminodes, or exclusively of fertile stamens (by misinterpretation). Staminodes 2 (these anterior (ostensibly posterior), supposedly the abaxial pair of the inner whorl). Stamens 1 (this across the flower from the labellum, i.e. anterior but ostensibly posterior, supposedly representing the outer whorl); reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth; alterniperianthial (i.e. with reference to the single stamen, across the flower from the labellum); filantherous, or with sessile anthers. Anthers dorsifixed to basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate; appendaged, or unappendaged. Pollen shed in aggregates; in the form of pollinia (pollinia 4). Gynoecium 3 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; inferior. Ovary unilocular; 1 locular. The ‘odd’ carpel anterior (away from the labellum). Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1 (inflexed); apical. Stigmas 1; 3 - lobed (but becoming much modified in form, the apex of the median lobe forming the ‘rostellum’); wet type; papillate; Group III type. Placentation parietal. Ovules not differentiated; in the single cavity 30–100 (i.e. very numerous); non-arillate; anatropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules septicidal, or loculicidal. Fruit 30–500 seeded (i.e. seeds usually very numerous). Seeds endospermic (endosperm development arrested very early), or non-endospermic; minute; without starch. Embryo rudimentary at the time of seed release, or weakly differentiated. Seedling. Seedling collar not conspicuous. Primary root ephemeral.

Geography, cytology, number of species. Native of Australia. Endemic to Australia. Australian states and territories: Western Australia, South Australia, and Victoria. South-West Botanical Province.

Additional characters Perianth of 5 dissimilar members and the median inner member modified into the labellum (adaxial sepal broad, erect, column-embracing; lateral sepals strongly reflexed, narrow, clavate; lateral petals held obliquely erect, longer than sepals, narrow, clavate, the club covered with black, glandular hairs; labellum much shorter than other perianth segments, broad, 3-lobed, fringed; lamina smooth or with a few short calli, on a short, movable claw). Leaves solitary, or not solitary (then sometimes 2). Column prominently winged (in upper half). Labellum insect-like. Labellum motile. Perianth not glossy.

Taxonomic Literature

  • Wheeler, Judy; Marchant, Neville; Lewington, Margaret; Graham, Lorraine (2002). Flora of the south west, Bunbury, Augusta, Denmark. Volume 1, introduction, keys, ferns to monocotyledons. Australian Biological Resources Study. Canberra.
  • Hopper, Stephen D.; Brown, Andrew P. (2001). Contributions to Western Australian orchidology. 1, history of early collections, taxonomic concepts and key to genera [electronic resource].
  • Brown, Andrew; Hoffman, Noel (1995). Orchids of south-west Australia. University of W.A. Press. Nedlands, W.A.