AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Schizochilus lepidus Summerh., Kew Bull. 14: 130 (1960).
Description:

Plants slender, 15–25 cm tall. Basal sheaths 2, white to hyaline, up to 3 cm long, obtuse, apiculate. Leaves 8–12, scattered on the stem, the lower 2–5 semi-erect, 3–8 cm long, narrowly oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic, acute, the remaining leaves more or less sheathing, c. 1 cm long, lanceolate, acute. Inflorescence semi-dense, 2–8 cm long, 20–30-flowered, nodding; bracts 5–7 mm long, narrowly acute or acuminate. Flowers c. 5 mm in diameter, yellow .Sepals subequal, 3-nerved, 4.5–6.5 mm long, acute to apiculate; dorsal sepal elliptic, concave; lateral sepals somewhat longer than the dorsal sepal, oblique, lanceolate to narrowly ovate, shallowly concave. Petals 1-nerved, 2.5–4 mm long, obliquely ovate-rhomboid, acute.Lip 4–6.5 mm long; epichile 3-lobed, central lobe 1–2.5 mm long, lateral lobes c. half as long; disk with 3 obscure calli; spur 1.5–2 mm long, subclavate. Anther c. 1.5 mm long, Ovary 5–7 mm long.
Notes:

This species is very closely allied to Schizochilus zeyheri from South Africa, a very variable species, and its separation may not be warranted.It can be distinguished by the short, sub-clavate spur.
Habitat:

Montane grassland usually above 2000 m.
Distribution:

E. Zimbabwe to W. Mozambique

Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

Botanical Drawing / Herbarium
schizochilus lepidus
Photograph copyright Swiss Orchid Foundation at the Herbarium Jany Renz Image used with kind permission.