Mystacidium braybonae Summerh., Kew Bull. 4: 442 (1949).
A small, up to 5 in. (12 cm) wide monopodial epiphyte with short stems which produce numerous stout roots that are up to 0.2 in. (0.6 cm) in diameter and are gray-green with white streaks. Plants are said to resemble Mystacidium venustum when not in flower. Pseudobulb/stem: 0.1-0.2 in. (0.3-0.4 cm) long. The stem is very short and is enclosed by the bases of the leaves. Leaves: 0.8-2.4 in. (2-6 cm) long by 0.4-0.6 in. (1.0-1.5 cm) wide. 2-5 elliptic to strap-shaped, dark green leaves that are uneven at the apex with one side slightly longer than the other. Inflorescence: 1-2 in. (2.5-5.0 cm) long. 1-2 pendent flower spikes emerge from the stem below the leaves. Flowers: 5-10 per inflorescence. The white, slightly cup-shaped blossoms are up to 0.8 in. (2 cm) in diameter. The dorsal sepal and petals are lanceolate, have sharply pointed tips, and are 0.2 in. (0.6 cm) long by 0.08 in. (0.2 cm) wide. The longer lateral sepals are up to 0.3 in. (0.8 cm) long. The 3-lobed lip has small lateral lobes near the base and measures 0.2-0.3 in. (0.6-0.7 cm) long by about 0.2 in. (0.4 cm) wide across the lateral lobes. The midlobe is somewhat triangular to egg-shaped and has a bluntly pointed tip. There is a long, straight spur at the base of the lip that is 0.6-0.9 in. (1.4-2.2 cm) long and tapers gradually from a fairly wide mouth to a bluntly pointed tip. Flowers are carried on a pedicellate ovary that is about half as long as the spur.
Plants typically are found on fig trees growing on south-facing slopes where morning mists are common, but they also occur on thorn trees together with Mystacidium venosum. Habitat elevation for Mystacidium braybonae was not reported, but Mystacidium venosum is found at elevations from near sea level up to about 4900 ft. (1500 m).
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This species is known only from the Soutspansberg Mountains in Northern Province. Van Ede (1990) reported two races of this species, with one race characterized by smaller plants found in the western parts of the soutpansberg while the larger plants of the other race inhabit the more eastern parts of the region.
Limpopo (Zoutpansberg Mts.)
Kew Bulletin 442. 1949. Ball, J. 1978. Southern African epiphytic orchids. Conservation Press Ltd., Johannesburg. la Croix, I. and E. la Croix. 1997. African orchids in the wild and in cultivation. Timber Press, Portland, OR. Stewart, J., with H. Linder, E. Schlepe, and A. Hall. 1982. Wild Orchids of Southern Africa. Macmillan South Africa, Ltd., Johannesburg. Van Ede, G. 1990. Mystacidium brayboniae "Boom-Elf" and other white-flowered mystacidiums. Schlechteriana 1(3): 122-127: WCSP (2017). 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. 07.03-2017;
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Photograph ©Leo Klemm. Image used with kind permission. Photograph ©Leo Klemm. Image used with kind permission. Photograph© Lourens Grobler. Image used with kind permission. Photograph© Lourens Grobler. Image used with kind permission. Photograph© Lourens Grobler. Image used with kind permission. Photograph© Lourens Grobler. Image used with kind permission.