Monographs Details: Auliza ciliaris (L.) Salisb.
Authority: Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.
Description:Species Description - An attrartive, white-flowered orchid, occasionally found growing on trees, and on shaded rocks in both dry and moist parts of Porto Rico, ascending to about 750 meters elevation, in the western mountains, observed also on Vieques and Culebra. Like some of the other native orchids with conspicuous flowers, it has been reduced in abundance by orchid collectors. The range of this species is eastward through the Virgin Islands, in the Lesser Antilles from St. Matin to Trinidad; in Jamaica, and from Mexico to Colombia and Brazil. It is the only species of its genus in Porto Rico.
Auliza (Greek, perching), a genus established by the English botanist Salisbury, consists of a few species, natives of tropical and subtropical America, the one here illustrated typical. They are epiphytic, or terrestrial orchids, mostly growing in clumps, with elongated pseudobulbs, the leaf-bearing stems with stalkless, rather thick leaves, the stalked flowers borne on leafless but scale-bearing stems (scapes). The sepals are mostly elongated, the petals narrow, often spatulate; the column of the flower is attached to the lip; the anther contains 4, unappendaged, pollen-masses. The capsular fruit contains many minute seeds.
Auliza ciliaris (fringed, referring to the lip of the flower) has slender, usually clustered pseudobulbs from 8 to 20 centimeters long. The stems bear from 1 to 3, usually 2, narrowly oblong, blunt leaves from 10 to 20 centimeters long. The rather stout scapes, about 30 centimeters long, or shorter, bear large, narrowly lance-shaped, overlapping scales near the base, and few or several, bracted flowers at the top, the lance-shaped bracts from 2.5 to 5 centimeters long; the flower-stalks are 1 or 2 centimeters long; the narrowly lanceolate, long-pointed, yellowish-green sepals are from 4 to 5 centimeters long, the petals similar; the deeply 3-cleft, white lip is 3 or 4 centimeters long, its outer segments fringed, the middle one awl-shaped. The very slender ovary is from 4 to 6 centimeters long, the ellipsoid capsule 2 or 3 centimeters long.
Discussion:Fringed Tree Orchid
Epidendrum ciliare Linnaeus, Systema Naturae, edition 10, 1246. 1759.
Auliza ciliaris Salisbury, Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London 1: 294. 1812.
Epidendrum cuspidatum Loddiges, Botanical Cabinet 1818: plate 10. 1818.