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The commune of Uchucay, located in the Luis Cordero parish, is one of the most visited areas in the canton of Gualaceo for its many attractions, among them, the "Collay Protected Forest and Vegetation Area", where an important number of unique species are located, both in flora and fauna.

In this natural paradise a new orchid was discovered, whose name pays homage to the commune. It is Andinia uchucayensis, belonging to the subtribe Pleurothallidinae.

The new species was described by ECUAGENERA, with the collaboration of the Botanical Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Technicians collected this specimen through the permit "Rescue, conservation, reproduction and ex-situ management of the flora of Ecuador", granted by the Ministry of Environment, authorization N° 004-2016-IC-FLO-FLO-DNB/MA.

In an effort to document Ecuador's orchid species and promote their ex situ conservation, José Portilla, executive president of ECUAGENERA, presented researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with composite dissection plates (LCDP) and photographs of this unidentified species, discovered in the province of Azuay.

After careful analysis, the experts determined that the species is very similar to Andinia schizopogon (described by Luer), but differs in the size of the dorsal sepal, notably smaller (12 mm vs. 20-30 mm); also, in the lateral sepals that are not connate beyond the middle and lack a dense and disordered pubescence.

The new species was published by researchers Alfonso Doucette, José Portilla and Kenneth M. Cameron in January 2017, in the American Orchid Society's scientific journal, "Lindleyana".

It is a cool-climate plant, requiring high ambient humidity and intermediate light levels. It is of epiphytic growth, with an ascending rhizome, roots of 1 mm in diameter. The stems are unifoliate, 4.6 - 8.6 x 1.0 mm, wrapped by papillose tubular sheaths (2 to 3). The leaves are erect, coriaceous, narrowly elliptic, with a sulcate petiole and an obtuse, tridenticulate apex.

The inflorescence is presented with a flexuous raceme that produces up to three successive flowers. Dorsal sepal ovate, acuminate, purple, measuring 11.0 x 2.9 mm; lateral sepals connate from base to before middle; sepals lanceolate, tan, with purple spots. Petals are linear, flexuous, purple (measuring 9.3 x 0.4 mm).

The lip is characterized as bronze-greenish, with purple margins and concave base held against the column ending in an expanded, deflexed, verrucose, trilobed lamina; measuring 1.5 x 1.1 mm.

The genus Andinia was proposed by Luer in 2000, with the purpose of accommodating species previously attributed to Sapistele (described by Dressler), which differ in their growth habit. Phylogenetic analyses revealed Sapistele to be part of the genus Stelis, despite the unusual floral morphology.

The known species come exclusively from the Andes, from which the genus name derives. They grow at an altitude of 1,800 to 3,300 m asl. The plants are generally epiphytic, but have also adapted to terrestrial growth (I).
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