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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 1/4/2013)

Flora Data (Last Modified On 1/4/2013)
Genus BLETIA Ruiz & Pavon
PlaceOfPublication Fl. Peruv. & Chil. Prodr. 119, t. 26. 1794
Reference Benth. & Hook. Gen. Pl. 3:513. 1883.
Synonym Gyas Salisb. in Trans. Hort. Soc. Lond. 1:299. 1812. Bletiana Raf. in Amer. Monthly Mag. 42:268. 1818, nomen. Thiebautia Colla, Hort. Ripul. 139. 1824. Jimensia Raf. Fl. Tellur. 4:38. 1836. Regnellia Barb. Rodr. Gen. et Spec. Orch. Nov. 1:81. 1877. Bletilla Rchb. f. in Fl. des Serres 8:246. 1853.
Description Erect terrestrial herbs, with a few long, lanceolate, plicate, ultimately deciduous leaves which are contracted at the base into a sheathing petiole arising from the apex of a subglobose or sometimes more or less flattened, corm-like pseudobulb considerably resembling that of a Gladiolus. Inflorescences slender, erect, leafless scapes, equaling or exceeding the leaves in length, the basal portion either pro- LSince all measurements have been taken from dried material, it is to be expected that fresh flowers will exceed these figures by at least a third. duced from the sides of the corm or enveloped in the sheathing leaf bases, the upper portion racemose or sometimes paniculate. Flowers of moderate size or small. Sepals free, subequal, spreading. Petals subequal to the sepals but usually broader. Lip entire or 3-lobed; the lateral lobes broad, usually rounded, erect, in natural position parallel to the column, or sometimes with lobulate, spreading apices; mid-lobe of the lip spreading, with or without an isthmus, the apex often crisped and reflexed, retuse or 2-lobed; the disk with 5-7 more or less fleshy, longitudinal crests or keels. Column elongate, semi-terete, arcuate, the apex winged and the base auriculate. Anther operculate, incumbent, 2-celled; pollinia 8, waxy, flattened, obovate or roughly triangular in outline.
Note A seemingly natural but perplexing genus in need of revision, now embracing about 50 species distributed from Florida and the West Indies to Mexico and Central and South America as far as Argentina, with three or four species described from the Old World tropics. It seems probable that careful comparison of available material would reduce this list to about a dozen valid species, some of which evidently are widely distributed.
Key a. Inflorescence enveloped by the sheathing leaf bases. Flowers about 3 cm. long, produced during the rainy season (summer). Highland species ...................................2. B. REFLEXA aa. Inflorescence not enveloped by the sheathing leaf bases. Flowers about 1.5 cm. long, produced during the dry season (winter). Lowland species.......................................1. B. PURPUREA
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