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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Orchidaceae | Ponthieva

2. Ponthieva brittoniae Ames, Torreya. 10: 90. 1910 (as brittonae).

Mrs. Britton’s shadow witch

Ponthieva racemosa (Walter) C. Mohr var. brittoniae (Ames) Luer

Plants 30–50 cm. Roots unknown. Stems subterranean, short. Leaves withering at or during anthesis, 3–12; petiole 1–2.5 cm; blade elliptic to ovate, 4–10 × 1.5–3.5 cm, apex obtuse to acute. Inflorescences: peduncle 26–37 cm, partially enclosed by tubular sheaths, proximalmost larger but not leafy; rachis laxly 20–35-flowered, 10–18 cm; floral bracts lanceolate, clasping base of ovary, 5–10 mm, apex acuminate, pubescent. Flowers: sepals green, adaxially pubescent; dorsal sepal distinct, oblong-lanceolate, 4–5 × 2–3 mm, apex acute to obtuse; lateral sepals obliquely ovate-lanceolate, 4–5 × 2.5 mm, apex acute to obtuse; petals recurved, white, indistinctly clawed, obliquely triangular-ovate, 4–4.5 × 1.5 mm, margins entire, apex acute, pubescent; lip subsessile, white with 2 dark green blotches, obovate, 4.5 × 3.5 mm, apex short-caudate; column white, 2.5 mm; pedicellate ovary 7–9 mm. Capsules 8–13 mm.

Flowering Dec--early Mar. Open rocky pinelands; 0--20 m; Fla.; West Indies (Bahamas).

Most of the original habitat of Ponthieva brittoniae has succumbed to urbanization. Only two locations are known to exist. One consisted of only a single specimen, and plants of the other have not reappeared since 1986 and may have been destroyed by roadwork (C. McCartney 1997).


McCartney, C. 1997. Mrs. Britton’s shadow witch. Palmetto 17: 10–11. Sauleda, R. P. and R. M. Adams. 1980. The taxonomic status of Ponthieva brittoniae Ames (Orchidaceae). Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 107: 544–545.


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