AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Schizochilus gerrardii (Rchb.f.) Bolus, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 25: 205 (1889).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Brachycorythis gerrardii Rchb.f., Flora 50: 116 (1867).
Platanthera gerrardii (Rchb.f.) Schltr., Beibl. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 50: 12 (1895).
Gymnadenia gerrardii (Rchb.f.) Kraenzl., Orchid. Gen. Sp. 1: 562 (1898).
Description:
Plants 150-300 mm tall; leaves up to 25, lower 6-10 basal, linear, acute, semi-terete, to 110 x 10 mm, remaining leaves narrowly ovate, scattered on the scape and grading into the floral bracts. Inflorescences dense, cylindrical, to 50 x 15 mm, c. 50-flowered; bracts overtopping the flowers at the base of the inflorescence. Flowers 5-8 mm in diameter, white suffused with pink or mauve. Sepals subequal, acute, 5-8 mm long; median narrowly elliptic to elliptic; laterals suboblique, lanceolate to narrowly ovate. Petals obliquely rhomboid-ovate, acute, 2.5-3 mm long. Lip 4-6 x 2 mm, disc with 3 calli; midlobe 1 mm long; side lobes porrect, 0.1-0.2 mm long; spur cylindrical, obtuse, straight, 1 mm long.
Habitat:
Very localized in grassland at Ngome (Kwa-Zulu-Natal) at c. 1200 m. There is extensive local variation among populations. Flowering time is from December to January.
Distribution:
N. KwaZulu-Natal