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Phreatia listeri facts for kids

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Phreatia listeri
Scientific classification
Genus:
Phreatia
Species:
listeri
Synonyms

Plexaure listeri (Rolfe) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones

Phreatia listeri, commonly known as the Christmas Island caterpillar orchid, is a plant in the orchid family and is an epiphyte with four to six flat, blunt leaves in a fan-like arrangement. A large number of tiny, greenish white flowers are arranged along a thin flowering stem. It is endemic to Christmas Island.

Description

Phreatia listeri is a clump-forming epiphytic herb with a short stem, thin roots and between four and six flat, blunt, dark green leaves 40–110 mm (1.6–4.3 in) long and about 2–5 mm (0.079–0.20 in) wide in a fan-like arrangement. A large number of greenish white non-resupinate flowers 1–1.5 mm (0.039–0.059 in) long and wide are arranged along a thin flowering stem 40–80 mm (1.6–3.1 in) long. The sepals and petals are about 0.8 mm (0.031 in) long and do not spread widely. The labellum is about 1 mm (0.039 in) long and wide. Flowering occurs between September and October.

Taxonomy and naming

Phreatia listeri was first formally described in 1890 by Robert Allen Rolfe who published the description in the Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany. The specific epithet (listeri) honours Joseph Jackson Lister who, with John Maclear and the officers of H.M.S. Egeria collected the type specimen.

Distribution and habitat

Found only on Christmas Island, the orchid is common on rainforest trees.

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