AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Zeuxine ballii P.J.Cribb, Kew Bull. 32: 150 (1977).
Description:
Terrestrial herb 12–24 cm tall; stem creeping at the base and rooting at the nodes, the upper part erect, leafy, covered with white spots, 4–5 mm in diameter. Leaves c. 8, spirally arranged, light green with reticulate veining; lamina 2.6–6 × 1.3–2.6 cm, ovate, acute, glabrous; petiole 1–2 cm long, widening into a sheathing base. Inflorescence terminal; rhachis 3–7 cm long, laxly 3–8-flowered with flowers more or less secund; ovary and pedicel 8–9 mm long; bracts up to 8 mm long, ovate, acuminate, margins ciliate. Peduncle, rhachis, ovary, bracts and sepals densely pubescent; sepals green, petals brownish, lip white, orange or yellow at the base. Dorsal sepal 6–7 × 3–3.5 mm, ovate, convex; lateral sepals 5–7 × 1.8–2.5 mm, obliquely lanceolate or ovate. Petals 4–6 × 2–2.2 mm, adnate to the dorsal sepal and forming a hood with it.Lip 6–8 mm long; hypochile narrow and channelled; epichile 3–3.5 mm long and 5.5–7 mm wide, transversely oblong, slightly emarginate. Column 3–3.5 mm long, including rostellum.
Notes:
Plants in the Malawi locality produce flower buds during the late rains and these develop very slowly. In the dry season the colony dies back completely. Presumably flowering takes place in the wild only when the rains are unusually prolonged and the habitat does not dry out completely.
Habitat:
Riverine forest, in deep shade in leaf litter, rooting near the surface 300–1330 m.
Distribution:
Malawi to Zimbabwe

Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

Botanical Drawing / Herbarium
zeuxine ballii
Photograph copyright Swiss Orchid Foundation at the Herbarium Jany Renz Image used with kind permission.