AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Holothrix papillosa Summerh., Kew Bull. 14: 128 (1960).
Heterotypic Synonyms:

Holothrix brachycheira Summerh., Kew Bull. 14: 127 (1960).
Description:

Terrestrial herb 9–32 cm tall. Tubers 2, up to 13 × 8 mm, ovoid. Leaves 2, appressed to ground, 10–23 × 7–33 mm, orbicular to reniform, pilose above. Scape without sheaths, with long spreading hairs. Inflorescence 2–8 cm long, fairly densely 2– to many-flowered, flowers secund; ovary 3 mm long; bracts 1–4 mm long, ovate, pubescent. Flowers white, non-resupinate, c. 6 mm long including ovary. Sepals green or purplish, 1.7–3 × 1.3–1.4 mm, ovate, long ciliate. Petals 2.5–6 mm long, densely papillose, 3-lobed to about one third of the length. Lip 2.5–5 mm long, similar to petals but with 5–7 lobes. Spur 1.5–3 mm long, conical, obscure, straight.Anther 1 mm high. Ovary pubescent.
Notes:

Holothrix brachycheira from the Mwinilunga area has small flowers (petals 2–2.7 mm long, lip 2.5–2.9 mm long) but falls within the range of variation of Holothrix papillosa, which varies considerably in size depending largely on the habitat.
Habitat:

Montane grassland, Brachystegia woodland 1650–2300 m.
Distribution:

Tanzania to Zambia

Images:
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Botanical Drawing / Herbarium
holothrix papillosa
Photograph copyright Swiss Orchid Foundation at the Herbarium Jany Renz Image used with kind permission.