Plant a caespitose terrestrial, apparently not
forming elongate rhizomes.
Roots thick, to 4 mm in diameter.
Leaves 3 or more basal distichous, lacking articulations,
blades ligulate, according to collector notes to 64 x 4 cm, but
mostly much smaller, rather thick and coriaceous, keeled beneath,
Inflorescence ca. 23~25 cm tall, pubescent, purple, with
a single green scape bract 7~9 cm long; ovary ca. 8 cm long,
brown pubescent, subtended by an acute floral bract 4~5.5 cm
Flower single per scape on the present specimen
(2 possible according to the collector) 11 cm across (to 15 cm
according to verbal reports); sepals greenish flushed and lined
with reddish purple, petals reddish purple within, reddish purple
without and white centrally; lip reddish purple, lighter within,
with yellow margins; staminode purple with white apex.
Sepals somewhat concave, densely golden-brown-pubescent
without; dorsal 4.5 x 3 cm, broadly elliptic, obtuse; synsepal
5 x 3.7 cm, broadly elliptic to suborbicular, obtuse.
Petals 6 x 4.8 cm, broadly elliptic, with somewhat
labellum 5.5Š7.5 x 3.5Š4 cm, saccate with the apex
turned up in front and the margin infolded, pubescent within
at the base.
Staminode 1.3 x 2 cm, convex, triangular to rhombic,
anthers nearly touching the stigmas; stigmas three, the median
stigma particularly large, ca. 1 cm long. Mature fruit unknown.
Etymology. Named for Michael Kovach of Goldvein, Virginia,
discoverer of this species.
Phragmipedium kovachii is a member of section Micropetalum
Hallier and differs from all other species in the genus by the
huge flowers that range in color from pinkish to dark purple
and that are apparently borne singly in a non-successively flowered
inflorescence. The suborbicular petals are proportionally wide,
and the lip is inflated with an incurved apex.
The authors thank the collector for the color photographs
and the technical data, and the staff at the Marie Selby Botanical
Gardens for their support.