AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Corycium dracomontanum Parkman & Schelpe, Contr. Bolus Herb. 10: 158 (1982).
Description:
An erect glabrous herb, 15–54 cm tall, drying black. Leaves erect ­spreading, up to 17 × 1.5 cm, lanceolate, acuminate, those above tightly sheathing the stem. Inflorescence densely many-flowered, cylindrical, spicate; bracts 1–2 cm long, lanceolate, acuminate, as long as or longer than the flowers. Flowers c. 0.5 cm across, globose, green turning black later, lip and petals green tinged with purple, the lip-appendage bright green; ovary 1–1.2 cm long. Dorsal sepal concave, 0.4–0.5 cm long, orbicular, adnate to the petals to form a hood. Lateral sepals spreading, saccate, 0.4–0.5 cm long, connate for half their length. Petals concave, enclosing the lip appendage, 0.4 cm long, suborbicular, acute. Lip sharply reflexed, pointing downwards, apparently 3-lobed when flattened; mid-lobe 0.4–0.5 cm long, tapering, obtuse to acute, undulate or flat and crenate; the side lobes (lip-appendage) divaricate, deflexed, 0.5 cm tall, oblong or somewhat rounded, dome-shaped with a ridge above, bipartite. Column 0.9–1.2 mm long.
Notes:
This species is very closely allied to Corycium nigrescens Sond. which is widespread in South Africa and Lesotho, and has also been collected in southern Tanzania (Kitulo Plateau).The latter differs in having slightly smaller, predominantly purple-brown flowers that turn black with age, connate lateral sepals, and a distinct lip and lip-appendage.
Habitat:
In grasslands often near water at elevations of 1200 to 2300 meters.
Distribution:
S. Malawi (Mt. Muylanje), S. Africa
References:
Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe & Hall 1982; Flora Zambesiaca Vol 11 Orchidaceae Part 1 Pope 1995; Orchids of Southern Africa Linder & Kurzweil 1999; Genera Orchidacearum Vol 2 Part One Pridgeon, Cribb, Chase and Rasmussen 2001; Field Guide to the Orchids of Northern South Africa and Swaziland McMurty, Grobler, Grobler & Burns 2008; The Cape Orchids Vol 2 Liltved & Johnson 2012
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ  Habitat/In situ 
Corycium dracomontanum 01  Corycium dracomontanum 02  Corycium dracomontanum 03  Corycium dracomontanum 04 
Photograph© Warren
McCleland. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph© Warren
McCleland. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph© Warren
McCleland. Image used
with kind permission. 
Photograph© Warren
McCleland. Image used
with kind permission.