AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Bonatea polypodantha (Rchb.f.) L.Bolus, Fl. Pl. South Africa 8: t. 302 (1928).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Habenaria polypodantha Rchb.f., Otia Bot. Hamburg.: 97 (1881).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Habenaria insignis Schltr., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 20(56): 32 (1895).
Bonatea insignis (Schltr.) Summerh., Kew Bull. 7: 463 (1952).
Description:
Erect, decumbent or scandent terrestrial herbs, 44-330 mm tall; tubers 1-3, spreading, elongate-oblong, tomentose. Stem slender, 34-325 x 1.5-3.5 mm. Leaves 4-8, margins entire, smooth; basal leaves 1-3, dense, sheathing, lanceolate to broadly-elliptical, acute, 21-157 x 836 mm, middle leaves 2-5, lax, cauline, narrowly-lanceolate to lanceolate, acuminate, 11-29 x 3-12 mm. Inflorescence cylindrical, 42-172 x 39-95 mm, lax, 2-12-flowered; bracts similar to upper leaves, sheathing, lanceolate, acuminate to apiculate, 9.0-30.5 x 2-6 mm. Flowers spreading, pale green and white, pedicel and ovary suberect to erect, 19-36 mm long. Dorsal sepal pale green, erect, narrowly-elliptical, galeate, acute, 7-11 x 2.5-5.0 mm; lateral sepals pale green to white, patent, ovate, acuminate to apiculate, base oblique, 6-10 x 3.5-7.0 mm, adnate to lip and stigmatic processes for 2-5 mm. Petals pale green to white, upper lobe erect, linear, acute to acuminate, 7.0-12.0 x 0.5-1.5 mm, adnate to dorsal sepal, lower lobe spreading horizontally, weakly deflexed, linear-falcate, tip curved, acuminate to apiculate, 22.5-35.5 x 0.5-1.0 mm, adnate to claw of lip for 1.5-5.0 mm. Lip pale green to white, claw 3.5-8.5 mm, median lobe descending, curved forward, linear, acute to acuminate, 11-22 x 0.5-1.5 mm, lateral lobes descending, strongly divergent, linearfalcate, tips curved, acuminate to apiculate, 25-48 x 0.5-1.5 mm; spur toothed, (20-)31-47 mm long, clavate apex 10.5-23.0 mm long, sometimes bent forward. Anther erect, acute, 3.0-4.5 mm long, canals slender, 4.0-7.5 mm long. Stigmatic processes clavate, projecting forwards and deflexed, sub-parallel, 6-11 mm long, base adnate to lip. Rostellum 3-lobed, base auriculate, median lobe narrowly triangular rostrate, acuminate, margin smooth, 2.5-6.5 mm long, lateral lobes linear, fused to anther canals, sub-erect to 45°, sub-parallel, 2-5 mm long.
Habitat:
Grassland, savannah, forest and thicket, to 2000 m altitude.
Phenology:
Flowering period: January to April.
Notes:
Bonatea polypodantha and Bonatea pulchella are distinct from other Bonatea species in their basal leaves and middle rostellum lobe that is narrowlytriangulate rostrate. Bonatea polypodantha differs from Bonatea pulchella in its smaller stature and shorter spurs « 50 mm).
Distribution:
S. Africa
References:
Field Guide to the Orchids of Northern South Africa and Swaziland McMurty, Grobler, Grobler & Burns 2008 ; Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe & Hall 1982; African Orchids in the Wild and Cultivation La Croix 1997; Orchids of Southern Africa Linder & Kurzweil 1999
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.

Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ
Bonatea polypodantha, 01 Bonatea polypodantha, 02 Bonatea polypodantha 03
Photograph© Cameron
McMaster. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Cameron
McMaster. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Cameron
McMaster. Image used
with kind permission.