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Nervillia jacksoniae

Online Exhibit

An exhibit of noteworthy plants from the University of Guam Herbarium

Nervillia jacksoniaeRinehart & Fosb. ORCHIDACEAE

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This newly discovered species, co-described by Herbarium staff member Agnes Rinehart, is only found on the islands of Guam and Rota. It can be found in shady places on sandy soil or humus. It grows from a small subterranean subglobose tuber that is 1-1.5 cm in diameter. The erect inflorescence emerges in June or July, producing a single flower when 4-7 cm tall. The flower, less than 1 cm across, is borne terminally and points upward. Sepals are green; the fringed lip is pure white with green hairs on the mid-lobe.

The few flowers that have been seen to date did not open wide and were open only about three hours during late morning and early afternoon. As the flower closes, it bends over and backward so the lower side of the lip becomes the top or outside portion of the pendulous closed flower. The old flowers remain attached to the rapidly developing overy. The inflorescence elongates rapidly, almost doubling in height. Within a month, the seed capsule matures and as they are developing, 5 by 3-cm, kidney-shaped leaves emerge, borne singly on short (2 cm) petioles. The top surface of the leaf is covered with small hairs; thee are seven main veins and the leaf marin is angled between the veins. Leaves begin to wither as the dry season progresses; in February or March, the plants become dormant for two or more months.

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Text modified from Raulerson and Rinehart (1992)

Photo credit: A. Rinehart