AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Brownleea maculata P.J.Cribb, Kew Bull. 32: 147 (1977).
Description:
Terrestrial herb 15–35 cm tall, plants often somewhat flexuose; tubers densely villous. sheath fibrous, up to 10 cm long, acute, often absent. Leaves (2)3, shortly sheathing at the base; blades somewhat ascending, 11× 4 cm, lanceolate to narrowly ovate, acute to acuminate, the veins emergent. Inflorescence, lax, up to 10 cm long, several to many-flowered. Bracts, lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate, acuminate; the lowest bract up to 4.5 cm long, usually leaf-like, the remainder mostly less than 2 cm long. Flowers c. 8 mm in diameter, horizontal; sepals purplish mauve, petals white, lateral sepals and petals purple-spotted and striped. Dorsal sepal galeate; galea 6–7 mm tall, 2.5 mm wide and 1.5–2 mm deep, narrowly ovate,acute. Spur 6–8 mm long, arising from the base of the galea, cylindrical with a short conical base, soon sharply down-curved to recurved, apex subclavate. Lateral sepals spreading forwards, flat, 6–7 × 2–3 mm, oblique, narrowly elliptical, acute. Petals erect, 6 × 1.5–2 mm, obovate, subacute, with a basal anticous lobe flanking the stigma. Lip minute, erect2.8 × 0.5 mm. Rostellum 2.5 mm tall; lateral lobes tall, concave; staminodes large; anther 2 mm long, sharply up-curved from a horizontal base; stigma vertical. Ovary slender, 1–1.5 cm long.
Habitat:
In forest shade, often on old rotting tree-trunks, also on rocks and live trees above 1500 m
Notes:
A northerly representative of the predominantly South African genus Brownleea, this species resembles B. recurvata Sond. but differs in possessing much broader petals with a dorsal apical tooth, while the flower is darker in colour with a shorter spur. From the East African species, B. parviflora Harv. ex Lindl., it differs in having larger ovate leaves and larger flowers. It is recorded in flower from April to June. The specific epithet refers to the heavily spotted flowers of the species.
Distribution:
Malawi (Mt. Mulanje), Chimanimani Mts. of Zimbabwe and Mozambique
References:
Cribb, P.J. (1977). New orchids from South Central Africa Kew Bulletin 32(1); La Croix, I. & Cribb, P.J. (1995). Orchidaceae (Part 1) Flora Zambesiaca 11(1); La Croix, I. et al. (1991). Orchids of Malawi A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam; Linder, H.P. (1981). Taxonomic studies on the Disinae: A revision of the genus Brownleea Lindl. Journal of South African Botany 47(1)
Images:
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Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ 
brownleea maculata  brownleea maculata 02  brownleea maculata 03  brownleea maculata 04  brownleea maculata 05  brownleea maculata 06 
Photograph©Bart
Wursten. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph©Bart
Wursten. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph©Bart
Wursten. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph©Bart
Wursten. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph©Bart
Wursten. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph©Bart
Wursten. Image used
with kind permission.