Brachycorythis pleistophylla Rchb.f., Otia Bot. Hamburg.: 104 (1881).
Brachycorythis briantiana Kraenzl. ex De Wild. & T.Durand, Bull. Soc. Roy. Bot. Belgique 38: 219 (1899).
Brachycorythis perrieri Schltr., Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 34(2): 296 (1916).
Brachycorythis macclouniei Braid, Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1925: 357 (1925).
Roots thick, fleshy, cylindrical, woolly. Stem 25-100 cm tall, erect, rather delicate, glabrous, drying black. Cauline leaves up to 60, up to 10 cm long and 1.5 cm wide, lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate, acute to acuminate, suberect, glabrous, decreasing in size up the stem turning black on drying. Inflorescence 15-35 cm long, rather densely up to 45-flowered. Flowers lilac or various shades of purple often with white or yellow centre. Floral bracts up to 30 mm long, narrowly ovate-lanceolate to lanceolate, acuminate, the lower ones overtopping the flowers, leaf-like. Pedicel and ovary 10-18 mm long, glabrous. Tepals thin, delicate, glabrous. Dorsal sepal 5.5-8.3 mm long, 2-4.6 mm wide, elliptic to ovate, more or less cochleate, subacute. Petals 6-8.4 mm long, 3.7-8 mm wide, semi-orbicular to obliquely orbicular, acute. Lateral sepals (5)6-9 mm long, 3.5-5.5 mm wide, obliquely orbicular to semi-orbicular, acute to shortly acuminate. Lip hypochile 3-4 mm long and wide, slightly concave; epichile 6.5-13 mm long, 6-14 mm wide, transversely elliptic to orbicular, thin, thickened along the mid-vein only, side lobes rounded or acute, entire, crossing each other when flattened. Gynostemium 2 mm long.
Grasslands, open woodlands, savanna, dambo edges. September-February.
As given for the genus, warm to cold growing terrestrial.
Brachycorythis pleistophylla is easily distinguishable from all other taxa of the genus in the study area by an orbicular or transversely elliptic bilobed lip, with the middle lobe absent and lip lobes crossing each other.
Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Republic of South Africa, Madagascar. Alt. 900-2400 m.
Orchidaceae of West-central Africa, vol. 1, Gdansk University Press Gdansk 2010; Flora of Madagascar Perrier 1939/81; Encylopedia of Cultivated Orchids Hawkes 1965; Flora of tropical East Africa Part 1 Summerhayes 1968; Orchids of East Africa Piers 1968; The Orchids of South Central Africa Williamson 1977; Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe & Hall 1982; Flora Zambesiaca Vol. 11 Part 1 Pope 1995; Orchids of Kenya Stewart, Campbell 1996; Genera Orchidacearum Vol. 2 Part One Pridgeon, Cribb, Chase and Rasmussen 2001; Field Guide to the Orchids of Northern South Africa and Swaziland McMurty, Grobler, Grobler & Burns 2008; Flore du Gabon Vol. 36 Szlachetko etal 2004; Field Guide to the Orchids of Madagascar Cribb & Herman 2009 photo fide; Terrestrial African Orchids, A select Review John S. Ball 2009
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