AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Brachycorythis sceptrum Schltr., Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 38(2): 114 (1921).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Afrorchis sceptrum (Schltr.) Szlach., Richardiana 6: 83 (2006).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Diplacorchis ashantensis Summerh., Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1931: 378 (1931).
Description:
Terrestrial. Tubers horizontal, digitform, subterranean. Stem 50-100 cm tall, erect, stout, glabrous. Cauline leaves up to 35 or so, 4-9 cm long, up to 3 cm wide, sessile, broadly lanceolate, acute to acuminate, glabrous, mid-nerves well-seen on the lower surface, covered by large swollen cells, suberect, decreasing in size up the stem, up to 4, the lowermost sheath-like. Inflorescence 13-25 cm long, up to 70-flowered, dense, cylindrical. Flowers medium-sized, sepals and petals white-greenish to greenish-mauve, lip purple-pink. Floral bracts 17-45 mm long, oblong-lanceolate, acute, leaf-like, glabrous, the lower ones distinctly longer than flowers. Pedicel and ovary 12-17 mm long, slender, erect, twisted in the lower part, glabrous. Dorsal sepal 8-13 mm long, up to 6 mm wide, oblong ovate, subacute, cucullate at the apex, glabrous, with 3 branched nerves. Petals up to 12 mm long, and 5.5 mm wide, obliquely ovate-lanceolate, subacute to rounded, cucullate, minutely papillate on both sides, with 3 branched nerves. Lateral sepals up to 12 mm long, 6 mm wide, obliquely oblong-ovate, subacute to subobtuse, semi-cucullate at the apex, revolute on margins, glabrous, with 3 branched nerves. Lip 10-11 mm long, 11-14 mm wide, transversely elliptic-reniform to rotundate-ovate, thickened along mid-vein, densely papillate, ob scurely 3-lobed at the apex; middle lobe ca 1 mm long tongue-like, obtuse; lateral lobes longer than middle one, rounded to triangular at the apex, erase along margins. Spur up to 2 mm long, sac-like. Gynostemium 5.5 mm long.
Habitat:
Grass savanna, grasslands. Flowering from July to August.
Distribution:
W. & WC. Trop. Africa