Brachycorythis kalbreyeri Rchb.f., Flora 61: 77 (1878).
Brachycorythis kalbreyeri var. glandulosa Braid, Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1925: 360 (1925).
Roots thick, fleshy, densely woolly, clustered. Stem 15—40 cm tall, erect, delicate, glabrous or minutely, densely pubescent, especially in the lower part. Cauline leaves 5-15, along stem; 4r-11 cm long, 1-2.5 cm wide, sessile, lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, acute, glabrous with pubescent sheaths, spread, gradually deceasing in size up the stem, densely pubescent. Inflorescence 7-17 cm long, laxly 5-22-flowered. Flowers whitish, variously tinged or coloured lilac or mauve, perfumed. Floral bracts up to 55 mm long, ovate- to elliptic-lanceolate, acute, leaf-like, the lower ones longer than the flowers. Pedicel and ovary 15-28 mm long, densely pubescent. Tepals thin, rather delicate. Dorsal sepal 15-18 mm long, 6-10 mm wide, elliptic to oblong-ovate, acute to obtuse. Petals 10-15 mm long, 7.5-12.5 mm wide, obliquely broadly ovate to rotundate, obtuse to rounded at the apex, sometimes undulate along margins. Lateral sepals 16-20 mm long, 6-10 mm wide, obliquely ovate-lanceolate, subacute to obtuse. Lip hypochile 3-4 mm long and wide; epichile 15-24 mm long, 13-24 mm wide, broadly lunate in general outline, with longitudinal keel along the mid-vein, distinctly three-lobed in the upper part; middle lobe 3.5-4 mm long and wide, tongue-like to triangular, curved upwards, much smaller than side lobes; side lobes 8-12.5 mm long, incurved, slightly dentate along margins. Gynostemium 6 mm long.
Plants grow in rainforests or stream-side forests, usually in deep shade, at 5900-7700 ft. (1800-2350 m). In Kenya, plants are found in the western part of the country, growing in stream-side forests at 6550-7700 ft. (2000-2350 m) from the Cherangani hills just north of the equator southward to Sotic, which is just south of the equator.
Read more of cultivation of Brachycorythis kalbreyeri Rchb.f.
Brachycorythis kalbreyeri appears to be related to Brachycorythis ovata Lindl. but has distinctly larger flowers. The petals of the former species are 10-15 mm long and 7.5-11.5 mm wide, lip is 15-24 mm long and 13-24 mm wide. In Brachycorythis ovata petals are 6-10 mm long and 2.8-7 mm wide, lip is 8.5-12(16) mm long and 6.5-10.5 mm wide.
Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia. Alt. 1150-2100 m.
Orchidaceae of West-central Africa, vol. 1, Gdansk University Press Gdansk 2010; Flora or Tropical East Africa Part 1 Summerhayes 1968; Orchids of East Africa Piers 1968 photos fide; The Orchids of South Central Africa Williamson 1977 drawing fide; Flora Zambesiaca Vol. 11 Part 1 Pope 1995; African Orchids in the wild and Cultivation La Croix 1997; Orchids of Kenya Stewart 1996; Manual of Orchids Stewart 1995
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