Herbarium Digital Library


Category: Plants and Orchids
Date Posted: 2006-10-18

POMATOCALPA IS A GENUS CLOSELY RELATED TO ROBIQUETIA and Sarcanthus and on occasions has been called Cleisostoma. About thirty species are distributed throughout the Asiatic Pacific area from Ceylon to Samoa and four representatives are indigenous to the Philippines. This is a group of strong growing epiphytic plants with more or less elongated stem and small flowers. The flowers are' similar to the other two genera and have a saclike globular or almost quadrangular spur. The closely related Robiquetia can be distinguished from it by the long middle lobe of the labellum, while Sarcanthus has a pointed spur.

Generally the flowers of Pomatocalpa are small, thick and fleshy in texture, with spreading sepals and petals. The lip usually points upward and has a wide saclike spur with a narrow entrance. The side lobes are vertical or erect, almost rectangular and grown together with the backward margin of the base of the column. The generic name is derived from the Greek poMa, meaning "a cover or lip," and kalpe, "a jar or pitcher"-a reference to the shape of the labellum.

The most common species of this genus in the Philippines is Pomatocalpa bicolor, a plant which often disappoints orchid growers because it is a large plant that seemingly should produce larger flowers. Instead, it produces small inconspicuous ones. The plant is an epiphyte and has a habit similar to some Trichoglottis. The leaves are about five inches long and an inch wide, and the long aerial roots grow from the opposite side of the stem from the axil of the leaves. The flowering scape, which arises laterally, is about ten inches long and supports ten to fifteen flowers on a terminal raceme. Each flower is about half an inch in diameter and yellowish-green in color. Sepals and petals are sickle-shaped, unsymmetrical and the lower sepals often have two purplish spots. The flowers are slightly fragrant and the flowering period extends for about two months, during the period of April through August

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