AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Mystacidium gracile Harv., Thes. Cap. 2: 48 (1863).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Aeranthes gracilis (Harv.) Rchb.f., Flora 50: 117 (1867).
Description:
A very slender species. Roots very fine, 1 mm in diameter, in a clump. Leaves usually absent (and then the plant looks like a species of Microcoelia), but a few are sometime produced, more often in cultivation than in the wild; these are to 3 cm x 3 mm, elliptic or linear. Inflorescences 4-10 cm long, 4- to 12-flowered in two rows. Flowers greenish-white, fragile-looking, 14 mm in diameter. Dorsal sepal 5 x 1.5 mm, ovate, acute; lateral sepals spreading, 6 x 2, obliquely lanceolate from a narrow base. Petals 4 x 1 mm, linear. Lip 4 x 1.5 mm, obscurely trilobed at the base, the midlobe tapering, acute; spur 2-2.5 cm (1 in.) long, slender, tapering from a wide mouth.
Habitat:
Epiphytic on trunks and main branches of forest trees, to 1800 m.
Cultivation:
In heavy shade, with high humidity, cold to cool growing epiphyte.
Distribution:
Zimbabwe to S. Africa
References:
Flora of Madagascar Perrier 1939/81; Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe & Hall 1982; African Orchids in the Wild and Cultivation La Croix 1996; Flora Zambesiaca Vol 11 Part 2 Pope 1998; Angraecoid Orchids Stewart, Hermans, Campbell 2006; Orchid Digest Vol 71 No 1 2007; Field Guide to the Orchids of Northern South Africa and Swaziland McMurty, Grobler, Grobler & Burns 2008; WCSP (2017). 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. 07.03-2017; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
Images:
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Photograph ©Gilles Grunenwald. Image used with kind permission. Photograph ©Gilles Grunenwald. Image used with kind permission. Photograph ©Gilles Grunenwald. Image used with kind permission. Photograph ©Gilles Grunenwald. Image used with kind permission. Photograph ©Gilles Grunenwald. Image used with kind permission.