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Dracula Luer 1978


Kingdom Plantae

Phylum (Division) Spermatophyta

Subphylum (Subdivision) Magnoliophytina (angiosperms)

Class Liliopsida (monocotyledons)

Subclass Liliidae

Order Orchidales

Family Orchidaceae

Subfamily Epidendroideae

Tribe Epidendreae

Subtribe Pleurothallidinae Lindl. 1830

  
  

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Further Reading

  • Systematics of Dracula - Carlyle Luer

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Genus Dracula Luer 1978b, p. 190

1873 Masdevallia sect. Saccilabiatae Rchb.f., Gard. Chron. p. 1238
1925 Masdevallia sect. Chimaeroidae Krzl., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 34:125
1978b Dracula Luer, p. 190

Type Species: Dracula chimaera (Rchb.f. 1872, p. 463) Luer 1978, p. 194

Habit: Small to large; epiphytic and terrestrial; caespitose to shortly repent or ascending.

Description: Leaves comparatively thin, sometimes plicate, with a sharply defined midrib; glabrous; light to dark green; linear to elliptical; notched with a mucro in the sinus. Ramicauls ascending to erect; non-pseudobulbous; shorter than the leaf; unifoliate; partially or completely enclosed by tubular sheaths. Racemes commonly pendant; arising from the ramicaul with an annulus a considerable distance below the abcission layer. Flowers borne singly or successively. Sepals long tailed. Petals characteristically small, thickened apically, usually verrucose between a pair of valvelike laminae; flanking the column. Lip clearly divided into a cleft hypochile and a more or less rounded, concave epichile; epichile often coursed by lamellate, radiating "veins." The concave base is hinged to the stout column-foot, but in a few species the attachment becomes immobile with adnation of the base to the column-foot. Column well developed, semiterete, with a hooded ventral anther and stigma, and a short thick foot. There are two pollinia.

Discussion: The results of a recent DNA analysis (Pridgeon, Solorzano & Chase 2001) show Dracula as a sister group to a clade comprising Masdevallia plus Porroglossum, the three together forming a sister group to Trisetella (Trisetella + (Dracula + (Masdevallia + Porroglossum))). This grouping of the four genera was consistent in results of two large plastid DNA and one large nuclear DNA segments.

Distribution: Over 80 species are known from Central America and the northwestern Andes. A few are listed below.

Culture: Cultivate in moist, intermediate to cool growing conditions with high humidity. Protect from direct, or bright indirect, sunlight. Species with a descending inflorescence require suspension in open baskets.

Dracula cordobae (3) (30347 bytes)

Fig. 1: Dracula cordobae Luer 1979 – This species is one where the leaves are fairly broad (others, such as D. houtteana, are quite grass-like) and the raceme is produced more or less horizontally, allowing the plant to be flowered successfully in a regular pot rather than an open basket. The pot is approximately 10 cm in diameter.
[Original image.]

A synopsis of the infrageneric taxonomy, with example species, is given below. Three subgenera are defined, one of which is further subdivided into sections and subsections. The largest subsection, Dracula, was divided into three series "for convenience" in Luer 1993 (p.10). These series are defined on rather arbitrary and variable criteria, such as the size of the sepals, so they are not completely mutually exclusive. In his key (ibid, pp.14 to 23) Luer lists several species more than once, as members of different series. For example, D. cordobae occurs twice, as a member of both series Dracula and series Parviflorae. For the most part, however, the series are a useful diagnostic aid and may possibly embody some phylogenetic information as well.

 

Taxon

Species

Subgen. Dracula  
      Section Andreettaea Luer 1978, p.191
Monotypic: Dracula andreettae
      Section Chestertonia Luer 1978, p.191
Two species: Dracula chestertonii, D. cutis-bufonis
      Section Cochliopsida Luer 1979, Orquideología 13:123
Monotypic: Dracula cochliops
      Section Dodsonia Luer 1978, p. 192
Four species: Dracula dodsonii, D. insolita, D. iricolor, D. portillae
      Section Dracula
 
           Subsection Costatae Luer 1991, Thesaurus Dracularum 4:10
e.g. Dracula bella, D. vespertilio
           Subsection Dracula
 
                Series Dracula Luer 1993, I. Pleur. 46:10
e.g. Dracula chimaera, D. tubeana, D. vampira
                Series Grandiflorae-Parvilabiatae Luer 1993, I. Pleur. 46:10
e.g. Dracula gigas, D. platycrater
                Series Parviflorae Luer 1993, I. Pleur. 46:10
e.g. Dracula houtteana, D. lotax
Subgen. Sodiroa (Luer 1978, p. 193) Luer 1989, Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull 58:1000 Monotypic: Dracula sodiroi
Subgen. Xenosia Luer 1989, Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull 58:1001 Monotypic: Dracula xenos

Subgenus Dracula

Type Species: Dracula chimaera (Rchb.f. 1872, p. 463) Luer 1978, p. 194

Description: Plants variable as above. Inflorescence pendent to erect, single-flowered to successively many-flowered; sepals variously connate up to near the middle into a widely expanded or cup-shaped flower; petals thickened at the apex, usually bivalvate; lip variously divided into an epichile and a hypochile.

Discussion: This subgenus contains all the species of the genus except two exceptional species (D. sodiroi and D. xenos) that have been removed to monotypic subgenera. The subgenus is divided into five sections based on variations of the petals and the lip.

(After Luer 1993, p. 8)

 

Section Andreettaea Luer 1978, p.191

Type Species: Dracula andreettae (Luer) Luer.

Description: Plants large, epiphytic, caespitose. Leaves erect, broad. Inflorescence pendent, successively large- flowered; sepals widely spread; petals slender with revolute margins, the apex subclavate, not valvate, the valve vestigial on the lower third; epichile of the lip reniform, convex, coarsely rugose.

Discussion: This section contains one species that is characterized by elongated, subclavate petals and a transverse, convex, rugose lip.

(After Luer 1993, p. 8)

 

Section Chestertonia Luer 1978, p.191

Type Species: Dracula chestertonii (Rchb.f.) Luer.

Description: Plants large, epiphytic, caespitose. Leaves erect, broad. Inflorescence pendent, successively flowered; sepals widely spread; petals stout, the apex more or less hooded and nodular, not bivalvate; epichile of the lip reniform, concave and multiveined.

Discussion: This section contains two species, D. chestertonii and D. cutis-bufonis, that are characterized by the stout petals nodular or hooded at the apex, and a transverse, concave, multiveined lip.

(After Luer 1993, p. 9)

Dracula chestertonii (25204 bytes)

Fig. 2: Dracula chestertonii [Original image.]

Section Cochliopsida Luer 1979, Orquideología 13:123

Type Species: Dracula cochliops Luer & Escobar.

Description: Plants small, epiphytic, caespitose. Leaves erect, slender. Inflorescence erect, successively small- flowered; sepals minutely papillose, free nearly to the base; petals slender, the apex clavate, lightly verrucose, not bivalvate; lip oblong-subpandurate, indistinctly divided into a shallowly concave, tricarinate epichile and a cleft hypochile.

Discussion: This section contains one small species that is characterized by the nearly free sepals and slender, clavate petals that resemble the stalked eyes of a snail. The lip is not unlike that of many seen in section Dracula.

(After Luer 1993, p. 9)

 

Section Dodsonia Luer 1978, p. 192

Type Species: Dracula dodsonii (Luer) Luer.

Description: Plants medium in size, epiphytic, caespitose. Leaves erect, slender. Inflorescence erect, successively flowered; sepals spreading, connate basally into a shallow cup; petals bivalvate at the apex, verrucose between the laminae; lip thick, pyriform, indistinctly divided into a smooth, flat to convex epichile, and a shallowly cleft hypochile.

Discussion: This section contains four species, D. dodsonii, D. insolita, D. iricolor and D. portillae, that are characterized by an erect inflorescence, and a lip with an ill-defined, smooth, flat or convex epichile without veins.

(After Luer 1993, p. 9)

 

Section Dracula

Type Species: Dracula chimaera (Rchb.f. 1872, p. 463) Luer 1978, p. 194

Description: Plants small to large in size, epiphytic, caespitose to shortly repent. Leaves erect, broad to slender. Inflorescence pendent to erect, single-flowered to successively many-flowered; sepals variously connate up to near the middle into a widely expanded or cup-shaped flower; petals bivalvate at the apex, verrucose between the laminae; lip variously divided into an epichile and a hypochile.

Discussion: This section contains all the rest of the species of the subgenus. It is divided into two subsections based on the presence or absence of a ribbed, lamellate or fringed ovary. The petals of all the species are bivalvate with tubercles between the laminae. The lip of various sizes is distinctly or indistinctly divided into a hypochile and an epichile that is variously supplied with veins or lamellae.

(After Luer 1993, p. 9)

 

Subsection Costatae Luer 1991, Thesaurus Dracularum 4:10

Type Species: Dracula bella (Rchb.f.) Luer

Description: This subsection is characterized by the ribbed, lamellate or crested ovary.

(After Luer 1993, p. 9)

 

Subsection Dracula

Type Species: Dracula chimaera (Rchb.f. 1872, p. 463) Luer 1978, p. 194

Description: This subsection is characterized by the ovary round in cross-section, either smooth or verricose. It is divided into three series.

(After Luer 1993, p. 10)

 

Series Dracula Luer 1993, I. Pleur. 46:10

Type Species: Dracula chimaera (Rchb.f. 1872, p. 463) Luer 1978, p. 194

Description: This series contains the large-flowered species with the blades of the sepals more than two centimetres broad or long, and with large lips more than eight millimetres broad.

 
Dracula vampira (33778 bytes)

Fig. 3: Dracula vampira [Original image.]

Dracula chimaera (Rchb.f. 1872, p. 463) Luer 1978, p. 194

1872 *Masdevallia chimaera Rchb.f., Gard. Chron., p. 463
1879 Masdevallia backhousiana Rchb.f., Gard. Chron., 1:716
1885 Masdevallia wallisii var. stupenda Rchb.f., Gard. Chron. 1:270
1885 Masdevallia senilis Rchb.f., Gard. Chron., 2:489
1889 Masdevallia chimaera var. backhousiana (Rchb.f. 1879) Veitch, Man. Orchid. Pl. 5:30
1889 Masdevallia chimaera var. senilis (Rchb.f. 1885) Veitch, Man. Orchid. Pl. 5:31
1978 Dracula senilis (Rchb.f. 1885) Luer, Selbyana 2:197

Description: Plants large and densely caespitose. Sepals basic colour white, yellow, green, purple, brown; diffusely or irregularly spotted to blotched with purple or brown; coarsely pubescent within; connate; with very long tails. Petals and lip white.

 

Series Grandiflorae-Parvilabiatae Luer 1993, I. Pleur. 46:10

Type Species: Dracula platycrater (Rchb.f.) Luer.

Original Diagnosis: Flores grandes; labella parva.

Description: This series contains the large-flowered species with the blades of the sepals more than two centimeters broad or long, and with small lips less than eight millimeters broad.

(After Luer 1993, p. 10)

Dracula gigas (15973 bytes)

Fig. 4: Dracula gigas [Original image.]

Series Parviflorae Luer 1993, I. Pleur. 46:10

1978a Dracula sect. Microglossa Luer, Selbyana 2: 192
1993 Series Parviflorae Luer 1993, I. Pleur. 46:10

Type Species: Dracula lotax (Luer 1978b) Luer.

Original Diagnosis: Flores parvi; labella parva.

Description: This series contains the small-flowered species with the blades of the sepals less than two centimeters broad or long.

(After Luer 1993, p. 10)

Discussion: Something strange about the nomenclature here; Microglossa should have priority.

Dracula houtteana (30628 bytes)

Fig. 5: Dracula houtteana [Original image.]

Subgenus Sodiroa (Luer 1978, p. 193) Luer 1989, Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull 58:1000

Type Species: Dracula sodiroi (Schltr.) Luer.

Description: Plants terrestrial, caespitose. Leaves narrow, erect. Inflorescence erect, the raceme laxly simultaneously few-flowered; flowers nutant; sepals deeply connate into a bell-Iike tube; petals thin, spathulate, the apex narrowly obtuse with a thin, minutely erose margin, and with a layer of small verrucosities inside the margin; lip narrowly oblong, indistinctly divided into a shallowly concave epichile with a small irregular carina, and a hypochile with a pair of erect lamellae.

Discussion: This subgenus contains one species that is unique in the genus. It is characterized by the erect, simultaneously flowered raceme of nutant, tubular flowers. The petals are membranous. The indistinct epichile of the lip is shallowly rugose and the hypochile contains a pair of tall lamellae.

(After Luer 1993, p. 10)

Dracula sodiroi (11939 bytes)

Fig. 6: Dracula sodiroi [Original image.]

?Subgenus Xenosia Luer 1989, Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull 58:1001

Type Species: Dracula xenos Luer & Escobar, Amer. Orchid Soc, Bull. 58: 1011, 1989.

Description: Plants small, epiphytic, caespitose. Leaves narrow, erect. Inflorescence erect with the raceme congested, successively few-flowered; ovary costate; sepals widely spread, the dorsal sepal free, the laterals connate at the base; petals oblong, longitudinally carinate, the apex acute, minutely verrucose inside the margin; lip obovate, indistinctly divided into a shallowly concave, few-veined epichile and a simple, cleft hypochile. (After Luer 1993, p. 10)

Discussion: This subgenus contains one species that is unique in the genus, It is characterized by the essentially free sepals; carinate, pointed petals; and a lip with an indistinct transition between the epichile and the hypochile. The flowers are noteably Masdevallia-like and a recent analysis of three different, large DNA segments by Pridgeon, Solorzano & Chase 2001 implies that "Dracula" xenos is, indeed, a sister- or stem-group Masdevallia rather than a Dracula or Porroglossum.

References

Luer, Carlyle A. 1978a. Phytologia 39.

Luer, Carlyle A. 1978b: Dracula, a New Genus in the Pleurothallidinae. Selbyana 2: 190-198.

Luer, Carlyle A. 1993: Icones Pleurothallidinarum X - Systematics of Dracula. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 46.

Pridgeon, Solorzano & Chase 2001


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