Brachycorythis ovata Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 363 (1838).
Platanthera ovata (Lindl.) Schltr., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 20(50): 12 (1890).
Roots thick, fleshy, cylindrical, woolly. Stem 20-100 cm tall, erect, slender, glabrous in the lower part, minutely glandular below and along inflorescence axis. Leaves numerous, up to 35, up to 8 cm long and up to 2.5 cm wide, narrowly to lanceolate or oblong-ovate, acute, glabrous, erect, decreasing in size up the stem. Inflorescence 13-35 cm long, rather dense to relatively lax. Flowers various shades of purple or mauve, often with an admixture of white. Floral bracts up to 40 mm long, oblong lanceolate, acute, glabrous, the lower ones usually as long as or even longer than the flowers. Pedicel and ovary 10-20 mm long, glabrous. Dorsal sepal 4.5-9 mm long, 3-4.5 mm wide, elliptic to rotundate-ovate, cochleate, obtuse to rounded and cucullate at the apex. Petals 6-10 mm long, 2.8-7 mm wide, obliquely oblong-ovate, subacute to truncate. Lateral sepals 6.5-11 mm long, 2-5.8 mm wide, obliquely elliptic-ovate, cochleate, subacute, semi-cucullate. Lip - hypochile 5-7 mm long, 4-5 mm wide, slightly concave; epichile 8.5-12(16) mm long, 6.5-10.5 mm wide, broadly ovate-lunate in general outline, three lobed in the apical part, with a keel running along the mid-vein, into the triangular, upcurved mid-lobe, side lobes falcate, subacute, shorter than the middle lobe, glabrous. Gynostemium 4 mm long.
Terrestrial in grasslands, savanna, dry danbos, wet meadows. April-July.
Two varieties are distinguished in Brachycorythis ovata. Typical variety is known from South Africa, where as var. schweinfurthii was found in West Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.
As given for the genus, cool to cold growing terrestrial.
Senegal, Ivory Coast, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Republic of South Africa. Alt. 1200-2200 m.
Orchidaceae of West-central Africa, vol. 1, Gdansk University Press Gdansk 2010, Flora of Tropical East Africa Part 1 Summerhayes 1968; Orchids of East Africa Piers 1968; Flora Zambesiaca Vol. 11 Part 1 Pope 1995; Orchids of Kenya Stewart 1996; Field Guide to the Ethiopian Orchids Demissew, Cribb & Rasmussen 2004
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