AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Brachycorythis angolensis (Schltr.) Schltr., Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 38(2): 113 (1921).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Platanthera angolensis Schltr. in O.Warburg (ed.), Kunene-Sambesi Exped.: 203 (1903).
Diplacorchis angolensis (Schltr.) Schltr., Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 38(2): 130 (1921).
Afrorchis angolensis (Schltr.) Szlach., Richardiana 6: 82 (2006).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Brachycorythis oligophylla Kraenzl. in O.Warburg (ed.), Kunene-Sambesi Exped.: 208 (1903).
Description:
Roots thick and fleshy, cylindrical. Sterile stem with 1-2 leaves, up to 28 cm long, 3.5 cm wide, ob-lanceolate, petiolate. Flowering stem 30-68 cm tall, erect, slender, glabrous. Cauline leaves 5-10, up to 10 cm long and 2.5 cm wide, lanceolate, acute, erect, well spaced along stem. Inflorescence 5.5-12.5 cm long, dense, cylindrical. Flowers white or mauve, with darker lip mauve or purple spotted. Floral bracts 20-36 mm long, lanceolate, acute, glabrous, the lower equalling the flowers. Pedicel and ovary 11-17 mm long, glabrous. Dorsal sepal 7-12 mm long, 2.5-4 mm wide, oblong-elliptic, obtuse, cucullate, glabrous. Petals 6-11.5 mm long, 1.5-5 mm wide, obliquely oblong or elliptic-ovate, subobtuse, glabrous. Lateral sepals 6-13 mm long, 2.5-6.5 mm wide, obliquely ovate-elliptic, cochleate or cucullate at rounded apex, glabrous. Lip 6.5-11.5 mm long, 7-14 mm wide, elliptic-reniform in general outline, rather thick, densely papillate, shortly three-lobed at the apex; the middle lobe 1.5 mm long, 2.5-3 mm wide, semi-rotundate to semi-elliptic, truncate, longer than side lobes; side lobes ovate-rhomboid, indistinctly erose along margins. Spur up to 3 mm long, sac-like. Gynostemium 5.5 mm long.
Habitat:
Brachystegia woodlands, swampy grasslands, permanently wet dambos. October-January.
Notes:
Material referred to Brachycorythis oligophylla Kraenzl. has very large flowers and Summerhayes has suggested that it might be a tetraploid with sepals up to 13 mm long, petals up to 11.5 mm and the lip up to 12 mm .It otherwise resembles Brachycorythis angolensis.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus.
Distribution:
The Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), Tanzania, Angola, Zambia. Alt. 1150-2400 m.
References:
Orchidaceae of West-central Africa, vol. 1, Gdansk University Press Gdansk 2010; Flora of Tropical East Africa Summerhayes Orchidaceae Part 1 1968
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

Habitat/In situ
Brachycorythis angolensis 01 
Photograph© Warren
McCleland. Image used
with kind permission.