AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Holothrix cernua (Burm.f.) Schelpe, Orchid Rev. 74: 394 (1966).
Homotypic Names:
Orchis cernua Burm.f., Fl. Indica, Prodr. Fl. Cap.: 30 (1768).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Orchis hispidula L.f., Suppl. Pl.: 401 (1782).
Orchis hispida Thunb., Prodr. Pl. Cap.: 4 (1794), nom. illeg.
Habenaria hispidula (L.f.) R.Br., Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holland.: 312 (1810), comb. not made.
Habenaria hispida A.Spreng., Tent. Suppl.: 27 (1828).
Monotris secunda Lindl., Edwards's Bot. Reg. 20: t. 1701 (1834).
Holothrix parvifolia Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 283 (1835), nom. superfl.
Holothrix gracilis Lindl., Companion Bot. Mag. 2: 207 (1837).
Holothrix harveyana Lindl., Companion Bot. Mag. 2: 206 (1837).
Holothrix squamulosa Lindl., Companion Bot. Mag. 2: 206 (1837).
Holothrix monotris Rchb.f., Otia Bot. Hamburg.: 119 (1881).
Holothrix squamulosa var. hirsuta Bolus, Trans. S. African Philos. Soc. 5(1): 114 (1888).
Holothrix squamulosa var. scabra Bolus, Trans. S. African Philos. Soc. 5(1): 114 (1888).
Holothrix hispidula (L.f.) T.Durand & Schinz, Consp. Fl. Afric. 5: 70 (1894).
Holothrix squamulosa var. glabrata Bolus, Icon. Orchid. Austro-Afric. 3: t. 18 (1913).
Description:
An erect slender herb, all the parts, except the petals, hirsute, 10-20 cm. high; leaves solitary or binate, flat on the ground, withered during the flowering period, suborbicular thick, 0,8-1 cm. long; scape straight, somewhat stout, without sheaths, clothed with retrorse hairs; spike rather lax, the flowers spirally arranged, usually deflexed; bracts ovate acute, furnished at the apex with three long twisted hairs, about as long as the ovary; lateral sepals obliquely ovate acute, odd one oblong, 0,2-0,3 cm. long; petals linear-oblong, very obtuse, bent, 0,4 cm. long; lip somewhat funnel-shaped, as long as the petals, shortly 3 lobed, or sometimes obscurely 5 lobed, the lobes ovate subobtuse, the intermediate longer and broader, spurred at base, the spur conical recurved, 0-3 cm. long ; column oblong truncate; pollinia attached to a single gland.
Habitat:
In fynbos and dry scrub at elevations near the sea level to 1300 meters.
Phenology:
Flowering from July to January, mostly after fire.
Notes:
Distinguishable from Holothrix brevipetala by the longer petals and lip-lobes that resemble a human hand, and from Holothrix villosa by the deflexed hairs on the inflorescence stalk.
Distribution:
W. & S. Cape Prov.
References:
Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe & Hall 1982; Orchids of Southern Africa Linder & Kurzweil 1999
Images:
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Habitat/In situ In culture Habitat/In situ In culture
holothrix cernua plants holothrix cernua holothrix cernua 02 holothrix cernua 03
Photograph Karl Senghas©
Swiss Orchid Foundation at
the Herbarium Jany Renz
Image used with kind
permission.
Photograph Karl Senghas©
Swiss Orchid Foundation at
the Herbarium Jany Renz
Image used with kind
permission.
Photograph Karl Senghas©
Swiss Orchid Foundation at
the Herbarium Jany Renz
Image used with kind
permission.
Photograph Karl Senghas©
Swiss Orchid Foundation at
the Herbarium Jany Renz
Image used with kind
permission.