How to Cite

Chase, M. W. (1987). OBLIGATE TWIG EPIPHYTISM IN THE ONCIDIINAE AND OTHER NEOTROPICAL ORCHIDS. Selbyana, 10(1), 24–30. Retrieved from https://ojs.test.flvc.org/selbyana/article/view/120818


Orchid twig epiphytes are diminutive plants that occur on the smallest axes oftheir hosts. In the neotropics, many ofthese species are not restricted to twigs and exhibit vegetative features indistinguishable from related taxa that occur on the larger axes, but a small subset ofneotropical twig epiphytes have a series oftraits unusual in the Orchidaceae. These features probably not only adapt them for the harsh and ephemeral conditions present on the outermost twigs in the canopy but also appear to be responsible for restricting them to these sites. These characteristics include shortened life cycles, psygmoid or leafless habits, seeds with testa extensions, and modified root velamen cells. Although each of these features exists in other orchid groups, they characterize a distinct subset oftwig epiphytes, here termed obligate twig epiphytes, in reference to their restricted distribution on a host. Obligate twig epiphytes are a distinct evolutionary phenomenon in the Orchidaceae and are most abundant and diverse outside the center offamilial diversity in the Andes ofnorthwestern South America.


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