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Bryophytes
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Lepanthes are often found in areas of trees with increased bryophyte cover (Dressler 1981). Crain (2012) suggested that epiphytic Lepanthes grow in accordance with bryophytes to avoid desiccation. Substantially more moss cover was found on trees with Lepanthes than on trees where no Lepanthes were growing. This indicates that a commensalism occurs between bryophytes and Lepanthes and the orchids may be significantly affected as bryophyte cover decreases due to climate change.

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Mycorrhizae
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Plants in the family Orchidaceae typically form endomycorrhizal relationships necessary for seed germination and the initial growth of a new plant. Seeds depend on mycorrhizae for nutrients and energy because of their very small size and inability to photosynthesize until furthered developed (Dressler 1981). In miniature epiphytic orchids such as Lepanthes, mycorrhizal relationships may be even more crucial to seed germination and seedling survival since germination often occurs on bare surfaces with limited nutritional content. Orchid seeds rely on mycorrhizae not only for assistance obtaining water and phosphorous but also for carbohydrates, since the seeds do not have sufficient endosperm to support growth (Hadley and Williamson 1972). However, once the seedling is able to photosynthesize, some of the necessity of the mycorrhizae is lost since the plant is able to obtain food without the assistance of the fungus (Dressler 1981).

Bayman et al. (2002) found that Lepanthes rupestris had significantly lower mortality of seedlings when treated with the fungicide Benomyl, but significantly higher mortality when treated with the fungicide Propiconazole. This suggests that different types of fungi may have both negative and positive effects on Lepanthes plants during development.

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Pollination
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Lepanthes glicensteinii are pollinated by male fungus gnats (Bradysia floribunda; Diptera; Sciaridae) through deceptive pollination (Blanco and Barboza 2005). The gnats are attracted to the flower by olfactory means upon perceiving the flower as a female gnat. The gnat approaches the plant and searches for an open flower. When an open flower is found he proceeds to position his abdomen around the labellum of the flower, clasping the labellum with his gonostili (genetic claspers). He then rotates 180° to face the opposite direction. This movement typically allows pollinia to be deposited on the abdomen of the gnat while the male proceeds to spend anywhere from 30 seconds to 20 minutes in this position until ejaculation occurs. After this process the male flies away without visiting any other flowers, however some gnats are seen copulating with a flower while pollinia is already attached to their abdomen indicating that second visits do occur. This method of pollination is called genitalic pseudocopulatory and is likely to be the mode of pollination for the Lepanthes genus, since the shape of the flower is similar across the genus.

Low reproductive success is common in orchids, including many species of Lepanthes, due to low levels of pollinator visitation (Tremblay et al. 1998). Lepanthes may have even less reproductive success because of host tree specificity and long distances between patches (Tremblay 1997). Genetic drift, the random success of some individuals above others, is therefore important to sustain Lepanthes populations and genetic diversity (Tremblay and Ackerman 2001).

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Brief Summary
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Lepanthes is a genus of miniature orchids in the subtribe Pleurothallidinae in the family Orchidaceae. There are 800-1000 species of Lepanthes, distributed in forests from Mexico to Bolivia. The orchids are epiphytic and typically found on trees in exposed areas at various levels of the forest (Crain 2012, Dressler 1993). They are characterized by sheaths along the length of the stem, wide rounded leaves that come to a point at the tip, and an inflorescence with small butterfly-shaped flowers (Dressler 1993). Pollination of the genus occurs by genitalic pseudocopulatory with fungus gnats (Blanco and Barboza 2005). The seeds are dispersed by wind and many species in the genus have low reproductive success (Tremblay et al. 1998). Lepanthes are dependent on mycorrhizal fungi for initial germination and for continued growth (Bayman et al. 2002). The genus is also found in abundance where there is significant bryophyte cover, which may cause changes in the Lepanthes populations as bryophyte cover decreases due to climate change (Crain 2012).

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Brief Summary
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Lepanthes are distributed from Mexico to Bolivia in a variety of habitats (Dressler 1981). Over 50 species have been described in Costa Rica and Panama and there are likely many more to be described (Dressler 1993).

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Diagnostic Description
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The stems are long and contain multiple sheaths along the length of the stem (Dressler 1993). The leaves are wide to elongated and rounded in shape with a distinctive point at the tip. The inflorescence appears at the base of the leaf and contains one flower at a time. The old inflorescence with no flowers resembles a fish backbone. The flowers are small and butterfly-shaped with 2 or 3 lobes per petal and a small lip. Lepanthes are small in size and epiphytic, growing on the trunks of trees in exposed areas (Crain 2012). The mean death rate per year in Lepanthes ranges from 9.58% to 28.82% per year, with L. rubripetala having a higher variance in lifespan and L. caritensis having a lower variance (Tremblay 2000). Higher variance may result in decreased genetic variation and the potential for extinction.

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Dispersal
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Pollinia are contained in green dehiscent pods and dispersed by wind. The dispersal distance of Lepanthes is limited so the plants usually grow in patches of approximately 7-50 Lepanthes individuals. Tremblay (1997) found that patches of Lepanthes were typically <50 m apart.

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Lepanthes
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Lepanthes (from Greek "scaled-flower") is a large genus of orchids with about 800–1000 species, distributed in the Antilles and from Mexico through Bolivia (with very few species in Brazil).[1] The genus is abbreviated in horticultural trade as Lths. Almost all the species in the genus are small and live in cloud forests.[2] Babyboot orchid is a common name.[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ William Cullina (2004). "Lepanthes (Lths)". Understanding Orchids: an Uncomplicated Guide to Growing the World's Most Exotic Plants. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 188–189. ISBN 978-0-618-26326-4..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  3. ^ "Lepanthes". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  • Swartz, O. (1799) Nova Acta Regiae Societatis Scientiarum Upsaliensis 6: 85, f. 6.
  • Pridgeon, A.M., Cribb, P.J., Chase, M.C. & Rasmussen, F.N. (2006) Epidendroideae (Part One). Genera Orchidacearum 4: 362 ff. Oxford University Press.
  • Luer, C.A. (2009) Icones Pleurothallidinarum XXX. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 115: 1-265.

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Lepanthes: Brief Summary
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Lepanthes (from Greek "scaled-flower") is a large genus of orchids with about 800–1000 species, distributed in the Antilles and from Mexico through Bolivia (with very few species in Brazil). The genus is abbreviated in horticultural trade as Lths. Almost all the species in the genus are small and live in cloud forests. Babyboot orchid is a common name.

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