Scientific name: Aerides phongii Aver.English name: Vietnamese name: Dáng hương phongOther name:
Aerides phongii Aver., sp. nov. (Fig. 1) Described from Vietnam (“Southern Vietnam, Ninh Thuan Prov., Bac Ai Distr., in heavily disturbed primary seasonal tropical broad-leaved lowland woodland on silicate rocky slope. Branch epiphyte on old tree. Rare. Plants were collected and offered for sale on local market by local collectors in February – March 2014, type specimen was purchased by Mr. Nguyen Phong at early March 2014”). Type (“Flowered under cultivation in private garden in Hanoi, collected at 12 March 2014 by Nguyen Phong and Phan Ke Loc P 11235”) – HNU (holotype), LE (isotype).
Monopodial perennial herb with short, erect, unbranched stem to 2(2.5) cm tall, 3–5 mm in diameter. Roots many, at the base of stem, light grey to almost white, rigid, wiry and flexuose, creeping and densely adpressed to substrate. Stem covered with loosely adpressed, overlapping, distichous, partially disintegrated, more or less rigid, brown leaf sheaths, leafy and slightly twisted at apex. Leaves 3–5, distichous, rigid, subulate, canaliculate at lower portion, terete toward acute apex, recurved to arcuate or slightly flexuose, (15)20–30(35) cm long, 3.5–4.5 mm wide, articulate at the base, suddenly broadening at the base into a closed sheath enveloping the stem. Inflorescencea raceme; peduncle green, arising from leaf axil near stem base, erect, rigid, 2–5 cm long, 2.5–3 mm in diameter, bearing 1–2(3) short, small, broadly triangular, obtuse sterile bracts 2–4 mm long; rachis rigid (2)3–6 cm long, with (1)5–12(14) distant flowers. Floral bracts small, erect, triangular to broadly ovate, acute, 1.5–2.5 mm long and wide. Pedicel and ovary white or yellowish-green, shallowly ridged, 1.2–1.6 cm long, curved, slightly flexuose to almost straight. Flowers resupinate, shallowly campanulate to widely opened, (1.2)1.4–1.8 cm across; sepals and petals slightly incurved, white to light yellowish, greenish at apex. Dorsal sepal and petalssubsimilar in shape, ovate to broadly elliptic, 6–7 mm long, 4.5– 5 mm wide, round at apex, petals a little smaller, almost flat, dorsal sepal with slightly reflexed lateral margins. Lateral sepals oblique broadly ovate, concave or with reflexed lower margin, (6.5)7–8 mm long, 5.5–6.5 mm wide, blunt to obtuse. Lip firmly attached to the column foot, not mobile, white to light yellowish, 3–lobed, spurred at the base. Lip side lobes triangular, obtuse, straight, erect, 4.5–5.5 mm long, 2–3 mm wide, broadly attached to column foot, white or light yellowish, with 4–5 broad, purple, longitudinal stripes. Median lip lobe narrowly rhomboid obovate, 8.5–10 mm long, 6–7 mm wide, white or light yellowish, curved, concave, with round apex, finely erose along margin, disk verruculose with 2 large gibbous verrucose purple calluses at center. Spur white or pinkish, broadly conical, (3.5)4–4.5 mm long, 1.5–2 mm wide, attenuate into inflated, slightly laterally flattened green apex. Columnpure white, shortly cylindric, 2–2.5 mm tall and broad, truncate, with slightly concave clinandrium and small 2-lobed rostellum, at front with round concave stigma. Column foot prominent, fleshy, rectangular, slightly incurved to almost straight, 4–5 mm long, 2–2.5 mm wide. Operculum white to light yellowish, hemispheric, 1.5–2 mm in diam., 2-chambered inside, smooth, frontally with a short, triangular beak rounded or blunt at apex. Pollinarium consisting of 2 pollinia, caudicles, stipe and viscidium. Polliniasolid, spherical, 0.6 mm in diameter, yellow, smooth, entire but distinctly notched abaxially. Caudicles very short, insignificant. Stipehyaline, saddle shaped. Viscidiuma thin, flat, round disk. Fruitnot seen.
Species is named after its discoverer, Mr. Nguyen Phong.
Miniature branch epiphyte. Primary dry evergreen coastal tropical monsoon forests on silicate rocks at elevations 50–150 m a.s.l. Rare. Flowers in February – March.
Species probably inhabits seasonal tropical broad-leaved lowland coastal woods and woodlands in Ninh Thuan province of southern Vietnam.
Following to IUCN Red List criteria (IUCN. 2013) species status should be tentatively estimated as endangered (EN) or critically endangered (CR) due to the overall reduction of endemic primary lowland forests and woodlands in the area when remained species populations are restricted to extremely small, highly fragmented subpopulations standing on the verge of full extinction. Timely assessment of the species in nature and its introduction into culture are living important actions for salvation of this interesting orchid which has good prospects for cultivation as miniature ornamental plant.