AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Brachycorythis macrantha (Lindl.) Summerh., Kew Bull. 10: 236 (1955).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Gymnadenia macrantha Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 279 (1835).
Phyllomphax macrantha (Lindl.) Summerh., Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1938: 143 (1938).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Eulophia helleborina Hook.f., Bot. Mag. 96: t. 5875 (1870).
Habenaria helleborina (Hook.f.) G.Nicholson, Ill. Dict. Gard. 2: 107 (1886).
Platanthera helleborina (Hook.f.) Rolfe in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 7: 204 (1898).
Phyllomphax helleborina (Hook.f.) Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 4: 119 (1919).
Description:
Tubers few to some, 1.7-3.5 cm long, 0.7-1.5 cm in diameter, globose, oblong-ovoid to ellipsoid, subterranean. Stem 20-65 cm tall, erect, rather delicate, glabrous. Cauline leaves 6-8, along the stem, sessile, 5-11 cm long, 2-4 cm wide, elliptic-lanceolate, broadly lanceolate to lanceolate, acute, spread, gradually decreasing in size up the stem. Inflorescence 6.5-16 cm long, laxly 6-15-flowered. Flowers relatively large, glabrous, Sepals and petals greenish-brown to purple, lip magenta or pinkish with white, purple spotted centre. Floral bract up to 38 mm long. Pedicel and ovary up to 15 mm long. Dorsal sepal 9-13 mm long, 2.5-4.5 mm wide, oblong ovate-lanceolate, cucullate at the apex. Petals 8.5-12 mm long, 2.5—4 mm wide, falcate, ovate-lanceolate, subobtuse. Lateral sepals similar in size to petals, sigmoid, oblong-lanceolate, subacute, with revolute margins. Lip 16-22 mm long, 14-27 mm wide, broadly ovate, oblong-ovate to transversely elliptic, usually deeply split (up to 4 mm) at the apex, serrate or erose along margins. Spur 7-9 mm long, 3.5-5 mm in diameter at the base, the basal half swollen, cylindrical-saccate, the apical half slender, finger-like, arcute, with longitudinal membrane inside, hence the spur two-chambered. Gynostemium 4 mm long.
Habitat:
Upland grasslands, rocky vegetations, submontane forests, swampy gallery forests with Phoenix reclinata Jacq. Terrestrial or litophytic. Alt. 590-1600 m.
Phenology:
Throughout the year, usually May-August.
Cultivation:
Potted, in a standard terrestrial mix. When the plant dies back after flowering, it should be kept almost dry until the spring; when new shoots start to appear, water can be given with care.
Distribution:
Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Togo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon.
References:
Orchidaceae of West-central Africa, vol. 1, Gdansk University Press Gdansk 2010; African Orchids In Cultivation and The Wild La Croix 1997; Flore du Gabon Vol. 36 Szlachetko etal 2004
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ
Brachycorythis macrantha 01 Brachycorythis macrantha 02 Brachycorythis macrantha 03 Brachycorythis macrantha 04 Brachycorythis macrantha 05
Photograph© Ehoarn
Bidault/ Missouri
Botanical Garden.
Image used with
kind permission.
Photograph© Ehoarn
Bidault/ Missouri
Botanical Garden.
Image used with
kind permission.
Photograph© Ehoarn
Bidault/ Missouri
Botanical Garden.
Image used with
kind permission.
Photograph© Ehoarn
Bidault/ Missouri
Botanical Garden.
Image used with
kind permission.
Photograph© Ehoarn
Bidault/ Missouri
Botanical Garden.
Image used with
kind permission.