What are the species of phorophytes of Vanilla palmarum (Orchidaceae) in Brazil? An assessment of emblematic specificity with palm tree species
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Abstract Vanilla palmarum is an obligately epiphytic orchid distributed widely throughout South America with emblematic specificity for species of palms. This epiphyte-phorophyte association was examined through the analysis of specimens available via the database of Centro de Referência em Informação Ambiental and from Brazilian herbaria. We recognized nine species as hosts of V. palmarum in Brazil: Acrocomia aculeata, Attalea phalerata, Attalea speciosa, Elaeis guineensis, Mauritia flexuosa, Syagrus cearensis, S. coronata, S. schizophylla, and S. vagans. The most important phorophytes of V. palmarum were found to be A. speciosa (Cerrado), A. phalerata (Pantanal), M. flexuosa (Amazon Forest) and S. coronata (Caatinga). Future management actions must consider the association between V. palmarum and its phorophyte palm species in order to ensure the protection of this ecological interaction.