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Taxonomic description and pollination ecology of Cyrtorchis okuensis (Orchidaceae, Angraecinae), a new species endemic to the Cameroon Volcanic Line

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

Background and aims – A recent taxonomic and molecular study of the genus Cyrtorchis revealed three new species. Here, we describe one of these new species, endemic to the Cameroon Volcanic Line (CVL), and compare it to its closest relatives. Its conservation status is provided along with detailed information on its ecology and reproductive biology.

Material and methods – A detailed examination of 21 herbarium specimens was performed using standard practices of herbarium taxonomy. The conservation status of the new species was assessed using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Furthermore, we investigated the reproductive biology of the new species in an easily accessible subpopulation in Cameroon and tested the hypothesis of hawkmoth pollination in the genus Cyrtorchis.

Key results – The newly discovered species, here named C. okuensis, is restricted to the montane forest (1600 to 2500 m elevation) of the CVL and is currently assessed as Near Threatened (NT). Among angraecoid orchids in which hawkmoth pollination is recorded (∼16 species), C. okuensis has the shortest nectar spur (19–40 mm). In situ observations revealed hawkmoths with short proboscis of the genus Hippotion (H. celerio, H. eson, and H. osiris) as the main pollinators. The rate of pollination and fruiting under natural conditions was low and among the 448 surveyed flowers only 38.8% (174/448 flowers) had their pollinia removed, 19% produced fruits (87/448 flowers), and 16% (70/448 flowers) set mature fruits.

Conclusion – Cyrtorchis okuensis is clearly differentiated from C. submontana by its longer and wider floral bracts, longer anther caps, and wider triangular dorsal sepal.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Ecology and Evolution
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)483-496
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2021
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