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Wijewardana, I.H., Priyadarshana, T.S., Arangala, N.S., Atthanagoda, A.G., Samarakoon, R.T.B. & P. Kumar (2016) Podochilus warnagalensis (Orchidaceae), a new species from Sri Lanka. Phytotaxa 266 (2): 151–156.

Authors:
Phytotaxa 266 (2): 151–156
http://www.mapress.com/j/pt/
Copyright © 2016 Magnolia Press Article PHYTOTAXA
ISSN 1179-3155 (print edition)
ISSN 1179-3163 (online edition)
Accepted by Cássio van den Berg: 25 May 2016; published: 22 Jun. 2016
http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.266.2.10
151
Podochilus warnagalensis (Orchidaceae), a new species from Sri Lanka
ISHARA H. WIJEWARDANA1,3 ,THARAKA S. PRIYADARSHANA2,3, NANDUN S. ARANGALA4, ANUSHA G.
ATTHANAGODA5, RAKITHA T.B. SAMARAKOON6 & PANKAJ KUMAR7
1Sri Lanka School of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, Karapincha, Kuruwita, Sri Lanka.
2Department of Natural Resources, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya, 70140, Sri Lanka;
e-mail: tharakas.priyadarshana@gmail.com.
3Nature Explorations and Education Team, No: B-1 / G-6, De Soysapura, Moratuwa 10400, Sri Lanka.
4No: 23, Wekanda road, Homagama, Sri Lanka.
593/5, Anuragoda, Papiliyawala, Kirindiwela, Sri Lanka.
6National Wildlife Research and Training Center (NWRTC), Elahera road, Giritale, Sri Lanka.
7Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, Lam Kam Road, Lam Tsuen, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong.
Abstract
A new species, Podochilus warnagalensis is described from Adam’s Peak Nature Reserve, Sri Lanka. A key to all species of
the genus Podochilus found in Sri Lanka is provided.
Key words: Adam’s peak, biodiversity hotspot, conservation, endemic species, taxonomy
Introduction
Western Ghats and Sri Lanka form the 34th biodiversity hotspot of the world harbouring around 1500 species (38%)
of endemic plants and new species are being added from time to time (Nair & Daniel 1986; CEPF 2007). During a
recent visit in National Wildlife Research and Training Center (NWRTC) laboratory, in Giritale, Sri Lanka, we found
a herbarium specimen identified as Podochilus falcatus Lindley (1833: 234). However, we observed morphological
differences on that specimen with reference to original description of Podochilus falcatus. The specimen had been
collected by fifth author on 16 July 2013. According to his primary details we were able to recollect this species from
the Adam’s Peak Nature Reserve in Kuruwita-Erathna foot path. The area belongs to the lowland-wet zone in Sri
Lanka (Ashton et al. 1997). After a thorough investigation and perusal of the literature (Jayaweera 1981, Fernando
& Ormerod 2008, Govaerts et al. 2009) we finally concluded this to be a new species and named it Podochilus
warnagalensis. Finally, that herbarium sheet was re-deposited at the National Wildlife Research and Training Center
laboratory, Giritale, Sri Lanka (henceforth abbreviated as NWRTC; not in Index Herbariorum’) as the holotype of the
new species. The new species closely related to Podochilus malabaricus Wight and can be easily distinguished from
all other species (FIGURE 3. A–C) of the genus in Sri Lanka on the basis of floral morphology.
Podochilus Blume (1825: 295) is an old world genus of family Orchidaceae (Wilson & Morrison 2000) and is
known as poorly studied orchid genus (Schuiteman 1998). About 62 species are distributed widely from Tropical &
Subtropical Asia to Northeast Australia (Govaerts et al. 2015) and three species are distributed in Sri Lanka including
one endemic; Podochilus falcatus Lindley (1833: 234), P. malabaricus Wight (1851: 1784) and Podochilus saxatilis
Lindley (1833: 235) (endemic to Sri Lanka) (Jayaweera 1981, Fernando & Ormerod 2008, MOE 2012).
Description of the new species
Podochilus warnagalensis Wijewardana, Priyadarshana, Arangala, Atthanagoda, Samarakoon & Kumar, sp. nov.,
FIGURE 1. A–F and FIGURE 2. A–H.
WIJEWARDANA ET AL.
152 Phytotaxa 266 (2) © 2016 Magnolia Press
FIGURE 1. Podochilus warnagalensis Wijewardana, Priyadarshana, Arangala, Atthanagoda, Samarakoon & Kumar. A. Plant. B. Front
view of inflorescence (purple-white form). C. Lateral view of inflorescence (purple-white form). D. Front view of inflorescence (pink-
white form). E. Lateral view of inflorescence (pink-white form). F. Fruit. G. Type-locality (Kuru Ganga/Stream).
PODOCHILUS WARNAGALENSIS (ORCHIDACEAE) Phytotaxa 266 (2) © 2016 Magnolia Press 153
TYPE:—SRI LANKA. Ratnapura: Adam’s peak, Warnagala, 26 April 2013, Samarakoon 003SS (holotype: NWRTC!).
Diagnosis:—Podochilus warnagalensis is morphologically close to P. malabaricus; however the new species can be differentiated from
the latter on the basis of shorter leaves (0.9–1.0 cm), larger (6–7 mm × 1.2–1.5 mm) completely opened flower, smaller leaves (0.9–
1.1 × 0.4 cm), purple coloured peduncle, longer pedicel with ovary (4–4.5 mm ), longer floral bracts (2–2.5 × c. 1 mm), labellum with
blunt apex, spur longer and narrower (2.5–3 × 0.8–1 mm) with longer fruit (8–10 mm) in the former in comparison with larger leaves
(1.4–1.7 cm), smaller (3.2 x 1.2 mm) incompletely opened flower, longer leaves (1.4–1.7 × 0.5 cm), pale green coloured peduncle,
shorter pedicel with ovary (2.2 mm), shorter floral bracts (1.8–2.2 × 1.3–1.4 mm), labellum with pointed apex, short and broad spur
(1.5 × 1.2 mm) with shorter fruit (5–6 mm) in latter (see TABLE 1).
TABLE 1. Morphological comparison of selected characters between Podochilus malabaricusWight and P. warnagalensis
Wijewardana, Priyadarshana, Arangala, Atthanagoda, Samarakoon & Kumar.
Characters Podochilus malabaricus Wight. Podochilus warnagalensis sp. nov.
Stem 10–20 (30–40) × 0.7–0.75 cm 12–25 × 0.4–0.5 cm
Leaves 1.4–1.7 × 0.5 cm 0.9–1.1 × 0.4 cm
Peduncle color Pale green Purple
Flower Slightly opened, white with purple blotches,
c. 3.2 × 1.2 mm
Fully opened with spreading perianth, white with
purple or pink blotches, 6–7 × 1.2–1.5 mm
Pedicel with ovary 2.2 mm 4–4.5 mm
Floral bracts Comparatively shorter than length, 1.8–2.2
× 1.3–1.4 mm
Deltoid in shape and comparatively narrow and
elongated, 2–2.5 × c. 1 mm
Lip Apex pointed, shape oblong lanceolate, c.
2.8 × 0.7–0.8 mm.
Tip blunted, elongated and slender, shape
lanceolate, lateral lip margin near the apical
narrowly bent inwards (like gouge shape), c. 5–5.5
× 1 mm
Petals Obovate, c. 1.8 × 0.7–0.8 mm Elliptical, 3.1–3.2 × 1–1.2 mm
Dorsal sepal Subulate, 1.8–2 × 1.3–1.7 mm Tongue-like, 4.5–5 × 1.5–2 mm
Lateral sepals Ovate, 2.2 × 1–1.2 mm Lanceolate, 4–4.2 × 1.2–1.5 mm
Column 1.1 mm high, conical ellipsoid 1 mm high, rectangular
Operculum Broadly ovate Rectangular ovate
Spur White, comparatively broad and short, 1.5
× 1.2 mm
White or pale-pink, elongate and narrow, 2.5–3 ×
0.8–1 mm
Mature fruit Light green with purple-colored markings,
5–6 mm long
Dull pinkish-purple, 8–10 mm long
Lithophytic herbs, with fibrous vermiform roots. Stems tufted at base, spreading above, 12–25 cm long, 0.4–0.5 cm
in diameter. Leaves bilaterally flattened, 0.9–1.0 × 0.4–0.5 cm, distichous, alternate, narrowly oblique triangular-
subfalcate, imbricating with their sheathing bases, upper leaves smaller than lower leaves in size. Inflorescences
terminal, peduncle 2–2.5 cm long bearing up to 15 flowers, some in bud stage while some in fruiting. Flowers purple-
white or pink-white with white or pale-pink tinge on spurs of mature flowers, resupinate, 4–5 × 6–7 mm; spur narrow,
2.5–3 × 0.8–1 mm. Floral bracts narrow, elongate, 2–2.5 × 1 mm, deltoid, purple. Dorsal sepal longer than petals,
tongue shaped, 4.5–5 × 1.5–2 mm, apex purple and other surrounded area white in purple-white from whereas in
pinkish-white form the dorsal sepal is pink in color. Lateral sepals lanceolate, 4–4.2 × 1.2–1.5 mm, with broad purple
line on mid-vein in purple-white form whereas in pinkish-white form the lateral sepals are pink, well opened. Petals
slender, elliptic, 3.1–3.2 × 1–1.2 mm, white or pale-pink in color, sometimes comprise with a narrow pink or purple
median line. Labellum 5–5.5 × 1 mm, elongate, slender, lateral margin near the apex slightly incurved, margin and
adjoining areas marked with purple colour in purple-white floral form where as in pinkish-white form the marking is
in the form of a pink median line; labellum apex blunt. Operculum rectangular-ovate. Pollinia clavate, 0.8 × 0.3–0.2
mm. Column rectangular, 1 mm high. Mature fruit dull pinkish–purple, 8–10 mm long, ellipsoid.
Flowering:—Flowers almost throughout the year.
Habitat and Ecology:—Plants grow on lichen and moss covered granite rocks and boulders in streams. Plants
are loosely attached on substrate, expose to almost 100% sunlight. We observed the species only between Warnagala
(6.8269°N, 80.4424°E, 765 m) and Seethagagula (6.8217°N, 80.4575°E, 1061 m) on Adam’s peak, Kuruwita-Erathna
foot path, Ratnapura district, Sabaragamuwa province, Sri Lanka (FIGURE 1. G).
WIJEWARDANA ET AL.
154 Phytotaxa 266 (2) © 2016 Magnolia Press
FIGURE 2. Podochilus warnagalensis Wijewardana, Priyadarshana, Arangala, Atthanagoda, Samarakoon & Kumar (pink-white form).
A. Bract. B. Dorsal sepal. C. Petals. D. Lateral sepals. E. Lip. F. Column. G. Pollinia. H. Operculum.
PODOCHILUS WARNAGALENSIS (ORCHIDACEAE) Phytotaxa 266 (2) © 2016 Magnolia Press 155
FIGURE 3. Apical part of inflorescence of other Podochilus species recorded in Sri Lanka. A. Podochilus saxatilis Lindl. B. Podochilus
falcatus Lindl. C. Podochilus malabaricus Wight.
Conservation status:—At present, the new species is known only from the Adam’s peak, Kuruwita-Erathna foot
path. We believe further observation is needed to find out other locality of the species and therefore, yet we suggest
the species to be assessed as Data Deficient (DD; IUCN 2012) and endemic to Sri Lanka.
Etymology:—The specific epithet is based on name of the type locality, Warnagala in Sri Lanka.
Specimens examined:—SRI LANKA. Warnagala: Adam’s peak, Kuruvita-Erathna, 16 July 2013, 890 m,
Samarakoon 003SS (NWRTC—Holotype); Warnagala: Adam’s peak, Kuruvita-Erathna, 16 July 2013, 1,200 m,
Samarakoon 002SS (NWRTC); Warnagala: Adam’s peak, Kuruvita-Erathna, 2 June 2014, 890 m, Wijewardana 005SS
(NWRTC); Warnagala: Adam’s peak, Kuruvita-Erathna, 26 October 2014, 890 m, Atthanagoda & Arangala 006SS
(NWRTC); Warnagala: Adam’s peak, Kuruvita-Erathna, 28 April 2015, 890 m, Priyadarshana & Wijewardana 007SS
(NWRTC!); Warnagala: Adam’s peak, Kuruvita-Erathna, 24 May 2015, 890 m, Arangala & Atthanagoda 008SS
(NWRTC); Warnagala: Adam’s peak, Kuruvita-Erathna, 17 July 2015, 890 m, Priyadarshana & Wijewardana 009SS
(NWRTC); Warnagala: Adam’s peak, Kuruvita-Erathna, 21 July 2015, 765 m, Priyadarshana & Arangala 010SS
(NWRTC!); Geththampana: Adam’s peak, Kuruvita-Erathna, 16 July 2013, 1,190 m, Samarakoon 001SS (NWRTC);
Seethagagula: Adam’s peak, Kuruvita-Erathna, 10 December 2013, 1,061 m, Wijewardana 004SS (NWRTC);
Seethagagula: Adam’s peak, Kuruvita-Erathna, 28 October 2015, 1,060 m, Priyadarshana & Wijewardana 011SS
(NWRTC).
Key to Podochilus species recorded in Sri Lanka:
1. Small plant (4–5.5cm long); leaves 0.4 mm–0.5 mm long; yellowish-white flower ........................................................ P. saxatilis
- Large plant (12–30 cm); leaves 0.9–2 cm long; flowers white, flowers pink or pinkish-white in color ..........................................2
2. Lip spatulate, lip-apex rounded; sepals and petals are ovate or rounded; column long (2 mm) ........................................ P. falcatus
- Lip lanceolate or oblong lanceolate, lip-apex pointed or angular; sepals and petals are lanceolate or oblong lanceolate; column
short (0.6–1.1mm) .............................................................................................................................................................................3
3. Flowers partially opened; peduncle light green; lip oblong-lanceolate, apex pointed; sepals and petals oblong-lanceolate; column
ellipsoid; pollinia 0.5 mm long ....................................................................................................................................P. malabaricus
- Flowers well opened; peduncle purple; lip slender, lanceolate, apex blunt; sepals and petals narrow and elongated; column rectan-
gular; pollinia 0.8 mm long ..................................................................................................................................... P. warnagalensis
Acknowledgements
We wish to thank W.M.K.S. Chandratathne [Assistant Director of the National Wildlife Research and Training Center
(NWRTC)], Sri Lanka and the Staff of the NWRTC for issuing the necessary permit and support given. We also
thank Madhava Meegaskumbura (University of Peradeniya), Lahiru S. Wijedasa (National University of Singapore),
Kanishka Ukuwela (Rajarata University of Sri Lanka), Sandun J. Perera (Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka) and
Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna (Nature Explorations and Education Team) for the given support.
WIJEWARDANA ET AL.
156 Phytotaxa 266 (2) © 2016 Magnolia Press
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Ministry of Environment (2012) The National Red List 2012 of Sri Lanka; Conservation Status of the Fauna and Flora. In: Weerakoon,
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... The newly identified Podochilus warnagalensis Wijew., Priyad., Arang., Atthan., Samar. & Kumar (Wijewardana et al., 2016) and Oberonia meegaskumburae Priyad., Wijew. & Kumar (Priyadarshana et al., 2017) are restricted to this zone. ...
... On the other hand, Podochilus warnagalensis grows on lichen and moss covered granite rocks and boulders in streams. The plants, loosely attached to the substrate, are exposed to almost 100% sunlight (Wijewardana et al., 2016). These findings are highlighted to conduct proper ecological studies to find out the factors effecting the restricted distribution of threatened species. ...
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5cm long); leaves 0.4 mm–0.5 mm long P. saxatilis - Large plant (12–30 cm); leaves 0.9–2 cm long; flowers white, flowers pink or pinkish-white in color
  • Flower............................................................................................... Yellowish-White
Key to Podochilus species recorded in Sri Lanka: 1. Small plant (4–5.5cm long); leaves 0.4 mm–0.5 mm long; yellowish-white flower........................................................ P. saxatilis - Large plant (12–30 cm); leaves 0.9–2 cm long; flowers white, flowers pink or pinkish-white in color..........................................2
1840) The genera and species of orchidaceous plants
  • J Lindley
Lindley, J. (1840) The genera and species of orchidaceous plants. Ridgways, London, 554 pp.
Adam's peak, Kuruvita-Erathna
  • Seethagagula
Seethagagula: Adam's peak, Kuruvita-Erathna, 10 December 2013, 1,061 m, Wijewardana 004SS (NWRTC);
The National Red List 2012 of Sri Lanka; Conservation Status of the Fauna and Flora
  • Ministry
  • Environment
Ministry of Environment (2012) The National Red List 2012 of Sri Lanka; Conservation Status of the Fauna and Flora. In: Weerakoon, D.K. & Wijesundara, S. (Ed.) Present Status of family orchidaceous in Sri Lanka. Colombo, Sri Lanka, pp. 293-301.