Barkeria skinneri Bateman ex. Lindl
Epidendrum skinneri (1836)
Dothilophis purpurea (1838)
Barkeria skinneri var. major (1838)
Epidendrum fuchsii (1850)
Barkeria skinneri var. superbum (1865)
Epidendrum skinneri var. superbum (1865)
A subcaespitose, slender, deciduous herb with an epiphytic or lithophytic growth habit that grows to 65 cm in height. Roots: thickened, flattened, long, fleshy, gray in color with green tips. Stems: grayish-white, thickened, slightly compressed laterally with 3-9 internodes, 3-14.5 cm. in length. Older stems are covered with scarious, papery bracts. Leaves: 3-7 narrowly elliptic to elliptic-lanceolate, acute to obtuse, dorsally carinate, distichous, reddish-green in coloration, coriaceous to subsucculent present only on the newly developing growth and appressed to the stem via an articulated joint. Inflorescence: terminal, sublax, simple raceme with 3-25 flowers, from the new growth, on an elongated peduncle covered by tubular bracts (scarious at anthesis) 8-60 cm. in length. Flowers: Attractive, inodorous, 3.2-4.0 cm diameter spread, most commonly seen in intense magenta but can also be lilac-purple or pink-purple. The dorsal sepal is erect, narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, acute to subapiculate, flat to slightly concave and sometimes carinate at the apex. Lateral sepals are descending to reflexed, narrowly elliptic to lanceolate, apiculate, flat to slightly concave, somewhat oblique and with prominent carinate ridges at the apex. Petals are extended, broadly elliptic to ovate, slightly concave, acute to abruptly acuminate, unguiculate at the base, and spreading in a plane at 180° but perpendicular to the column. The lip is concolorous except for the presence of 3-5 brightly colored yellow keels, entire, ovate, abruptly acute to shortly acuminate, unguiculate at the base and adnate to the entire column. The exterior keels are thickened and raised as they join with the column to form a v-shaped callus in the center of the disc. The central keel is more prominent and twice the length of the external ones. The dorsal surface of the straight, clavate column is creamy-white and suffused with pink shading near the apex. The column is subtrigonous in cross-section with rounded wings, somewhat compressed dorsiventrally, and ventrally sulcate so as to form a dry nectary with the lip.