Monographs Details: Renealmia helenae Maas
Authority: Maas, Paulus J. M. 1977. Renealmia (Zingiberaceae--Zingiberoideae), Costoideae (Additions) (Zingiberaceae). Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 18: 1-218. (Published by NYBG Press)
Scientific Name:Renealmia helenae Maas
Description:Description - Plants 40-80(-100) cm tall. Rhizomes 3-6 mm thick, sometimes supported on slender stilt-roots to 10 cm above the ground. Sheaths striate, 3-5 mm wide, sparsely to rather densely covered with stellate scales (less than 0.02 mm in diameter). Ligule 1- 2 mm long, hairy like the sheaths. Petiole 0-10 mm long, hairy like the sheaths. Lamina linear to narrowly elliptic, lower side pale purple with dark purple veins, acute at the apex, cuneate at the base, 6-20 cm long, 1.5-3.5 cm wide, glabrous on both sides. Inflorescence a terminal, spiciform thyrse 2-5 cm long and 1.5-2 cm wide, with 2-flowered cincinni, rhachis green, 1-1.5 mm thick. Indument of inflorescence: sheaths, rhachis, bracts, peduncles, bracteoles, pedicels, calyx, ovary, and capsule densely to rather densely covered with sessile, furcate to plurifurcate hairs (ca 0.1 mm long), the branches of the hairs ascending or horizontally deflexed (the hairs then of the compass-needle type); corolla slightly hairy towards the apex. Bracts green, herbaceous, persistent, narrowly triangular-ovate to triangular-ovate, acute, 5-16 mm long, 3-6 mm wide. Peduncles less than 0.5 mm long. Bracteole 4-5 mm long. Pedicels 1-2 mm long. Calyx green to orange, tubular, 3-6 mm long, 2-3 mm wide, the lobes shallowly triangular-ovate, ca 1 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide. Corolla pale yellow to white, 8 mm long, the tube 5 mm long, the lobes 3 mm long, 2 mm wide. Labellum white with a yellow centre and reddish near the insertion of the stamen, 5 mm long and 4 mm wide when spread out, basal part opposite anther densely covered with simple hairs (0.2-0.3 mm long), the limb horizontally spreading, ca 2.5 mm long and 4 mm wide, lateral lobes rounded, middle lobe slightly bidentate at the apex, basal claw 2.5 mm long, 1 mm wide, lateral staminodes ca 1 mm long. Anther red, 2.5 mm long, 1 mm wide, glabrous. Style 8 mm long. Nectarial glands partly surrounding the style base, 1.5 mm long. Ovary green, ellipsoid. Capsule greenish-orange, maturing black-purple, globose, 4-10 mm in diameter, its wall ca 0.1 mm thick when dry (ca 0.5 mm in living material), 3-4-seeded, seeds dark brown, 3 X 4 mm, aril orange-yellow.

Discussion:This new species is characterized by its very small, terminal, spiciform inflorescence and its linear leaves. It is also peculiar because of its rhizomes which are sometimes slightly raised above the ground by slender stilt-roots. Although I am not quite sure about its relationship it is probably closest to R. concinna.

The species is named after Helen Kennedy, eminent specialist in the related family Marantaceae.
Distribution:Panama Central America| Panamá Panama Central America|