Anathallis nanifolia

Family : Orchidaceae

Text © Pietro Puccio


English translation by Mario Beltramini


Anathallis nanifolia, Orchidaceae

Native to eastern Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela, where it grows up to about 500 m of altitude, the Anathallis nanifolia is an epiphyte with creeping rhizome, even more than 10 cm long, forming in the time a thick carpet © Giuseppe Mazza

The species is native to eastern Bolivia, Ecuador, and southern Venezuela where it grows on the trees from the sea level up to about 500 m of altitude.

The name of the genus is the combination of the Greek preposition “ἀνά” (aná) = up, upwards and of the substantive “θαλλός” (thallόs) = stem; the specific name is the combination of the Latin substantives “nanus, i” = dwarf and “folium, ii” = leaf, with obvious reference.

The Anathallis nanifolia (Foldats) Luer (2009 is an epiphyte species with creeping rhizome, up to more than 10 cm long, forming a thick carpet with unifoliate stems, spaced about 2 mm, covered by a tubular sheath, prostrate or ascending, about 1mm long. Ovate to sub-circular leaves more or less prostrate and overlapping, coriaceous, thick, 4-8 mm long and 4-5 mm broad, of dark green colour. Inflorescence, on a 2-4 mm long peduncle, from the apex of the stem, 6-8 mm long, with 1-4 flowers opening in succession, with pedicel and ovary about 3 mm long. Almost equal free sepals, oblong-ovate with acute apex, membranaceous, of purple colour, about 3,5 mm long and 1-1,5 mm broad. Oblong-elliptic petals with obtuse apex, translucent, of purple red colour, about 2,5 mm long and 2 mm broad, trilobate labellum with short and round lateral lobes and oblong-linear median lobe with obtuse apex, about 2 mm long and 0,5 mm broad, of dark purple colour, and column about 1,5 mm long.

It reproduces by seed, in vitro, but usually and easily by division.

Mini orchid rare in cultivation, requires a semi-shady position, medium-high temperatures, 60-70% of humidity and constant ventilation. It is preferably mounted on branches, pieces of bark, or cork rafts or roots of arborescent ferns covered by a layer of sphagnum. The watering must be regular, utilizing rain water, demineralized or by reverse osmosis, but allowing the substratum to dry up partially, being particularly subject to rottenness due to stagnant humidity.

Anathallis nanifolia, Orchidaceae

Mini orchid rare in cultivation. The leaves, ovate or sub-circular, are only 4-8 mm long. Tiny flowers with 3,5 mm sepals and 2,5 mm petals © Giuseppe Mazza

The species is inscribed in the appendix II of the CITES (species whose trade is internationally ruled).

Synonyms: Pleurothallis nanifolia Foldats (1961); Specklinia nanifolia (Foldats) Luer (2004); Panmorphia nanifolia (Foldats) Luer (2006).



→ For general notions about ORCHIDACEAE please click here.

→ To appreciate the biodiversity within the family ORCHIDACEAE and find other species, please click here.