AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Gastrodia africana Kraenzl., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 28: 179 (1900).
Type:Cameroon, between Love and Ndiva, Dusén 397 (holotype B†; isotype S!).
Description:
Leafless achlorophyllose erect herb, up to 3 – 4 cm tall, rhizome tuberous, elongated up to 4.5 – 20 × 8.8 – 1.2 cm. Scale leaves 4 – 8, 8 – 12 mm long, truncate with abruptly pointed apex. Inflorescence lax, up to 1.5 – 2 cm long, with 3 – 8 flowers, bracts brown, 6 – 8 mm long. Flowers campanulate, green, up to 12 mm long, sepals and petals fused; pedicel 6 mm long; ovary 3 – 4 mm long. Dorsal sepal 8 – 9 × 4 – 5 mm, ovate-obtuse; lateral sepals 10 – 12 × 5 mm, ovate-lanceolate. Petals 7 – 7.5 × 1.5 – 2 mm, ovate. Lip 3-lobed, ovate, with 2 white calli at base, basal part 4 – 4.5 × 4 – 5 mm, thickened at centre, with 2 glandular calli near the base of the midlobe, midlobe oblong-ovate, obtuse, 2.5 × 2 mm. Column 5.5 mm long. Fruit with pedicel elongating up to 2 cm long, capsule up to 2.5 cm long.
Habitat:
In submontane forest with Allanblackia gabonensis (formerly A. monticola), Carapa grandiflora and Cola sp.; 1100 – 1200 m.
Notes:
Gastrodia africana Kraenzl. was considered locally endemic to the Mt Cameroon area where it is considered to be possibly extinct (Cable & Cheek 1998). It was discovered by Dusén (Dusén 397) on Mt Cameroon between "Love und Ndive" in the month of April. These localities are possibly those known today as Lobe and Ndibe, in a major plantation area immediately to the north of Mt Cameroon (Cable & Cheek 1998). The holotype is believed to have been destroyed in Berlin but an isotype survives in S. A collection from Mt Kala near Yaoundé (Letouzey 9509) was referred to this species by Sanford (see Szlachetko & Olszewski 2001), but this assignment is debatable (Cable & Cheek 1998).
Distribution:
SW. Cameroon