Vanilla poitaei

Vanilla poitaei Rchb. F.

Synonym: Vanilla correllii

Family: Orchidaceae

Habit: Vanilla poitaei grows as an epiphytic or epilithic vine to 1 cm in diameter, fleshy, photosynthetic producing aerial roots and leaves at the nodes.  The sessile leaves are arranged alternately, recurved, fleshy, non-deciduous, to 19 in length and 4 cm wide, with an entire margin and acute/acuminate leaf apex.

The complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers are arranged in axillary racemes. The calyx has 3 greenish yellow unfused sepals.  The corolla has 3 petals of which 2 are sepal like and the third enlarged to form the labellum that is white with red vein fringe.  The margins of the labellum are enrolled to cover the column. The white column is formed from a fusion of the stamens and ovary into a single structure and is fused along 2/3 of its length to the labellum.  The ovary is inferior and becomes a capsule at maturity up to 8 cm in length.

Habitat: Vanilla poitaei grows around wet areas (sinkholes) in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation – Forest (coppice).

Distribution: Vanilla poitaei occurs in the Lucayan Archipelago on Abaco, as well as on Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Vanilla poitaei is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.