AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Disperis bifida P.J.Cribb, Kew Bull. 40: 403 (1985).
Description:
A terrestrial herb to 24 cm tall; tubers ellipsoid to spherical, to 1-3 x 0-6 cm. Leaves 2, opposite, borne in middle of stem 8-12 cm above substrate, ovate cordate, acute, 2.3-3-4 x 1.5-2-3 cm, 3 main veins prominent. Inflorescence 6-9 cm long, 1-3-flowered; pedicel slender, terete; bracts leaf-like but smaller, 5-11 x 3-5-8 mm. Flowers erect, rose pink, paler on lower surface of lateral sepals, spotted carmine on inner surface of spur; ovary and pedicel pale green spotted maroon, 1-2-1-7 cm long. Dorsal sepal hooded tapering into an erect spur, somewhat S-shaped in side view, bifid at apex, 14-17 mm long, 6 mm broad at base; lateral sepals dependent, obliquely elliptic, obtuse, 19 x 9 mm, shallowly spurred in middle towards inner margin. Petals connate with dorsal sepal to form a hood over column and lip, bilobed on free margin, lower lobe protecting sides of column, 10 x 5 mm, with erose free margins. Lip linear, free part hidden inside spur of dorsal sepal, 3-lobed at incurved apex, 10 mm long; side lobes at apex lacerate, mid-lobe to be much shorter and entire. Column reflexed, 3 mm long; stigmatic lobes very short; rostellar arms slender, incurved with erect apices; staminodes present but obscure; pollinia clavate, comprising several massulae.
Habitat:
Terrestrial on floor of relict montane forest patch; 2180 m.
Distribution:
SW. Rwanda, Zambia (Nyika Plateau)