AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Bonatea pulchella Summerhayes,Kew Bull. 17: 529 (1964).
Description:
Erect, decumbent or scandent terrestrial herbs, 98-322 mm tall; tubers 1-3, spreading, elongate-oblong, tomentose. Stem slender, 88-317 x 1.5-3.5 mm. Leaves 5-9, margins entire, smooth; basal leaves 2-5, dense, sheathing, lanceolate to broadly-elliptical, acute, 27-113 x 1244 mm, middle leaves 2-4, lax, cauline, narrowly-lanceolate to lanceolate, acuminate, 13-39 x 2-9 mm. Inflorescence cylindrical, 62155 x 48-116 mm, lax, 2-11-flowered; bracts similar to upper leaves, sheathing, lanceolate, acuminate to apiculate, 11.5-28.0 x 2.0-5.5 mm. Flowers spreading, pale green and white, pedicel and ovary suberect to erect, 27.0-44.5 mm long. Dorsal sepal pale green, erect, narrowly-elliptical, galeate, acute, 10.0-15.5 x 3.0-5.5 mm; lateral sepals pale green to white, patent, ovate, acuminate to apiculate, base oblique, 9.5-14.5 x 6-8 mm, adnate to lip and stigmatic processes for 4.0-6.5 mm. Petals pale green to white, upper lobe erect, linear, acute to acuminate, 9.0-15.0 x 0.5-1.5 mm, adnate to dorsal sepal, lower lobe spreading horizontally, weakly deflexed, weakly to strongly falcate, linear, tip sometimes curved, acuminate to apiculate, 36-50 x 0.5-1.0 mm, adnate to claw of lip for 2.5-5.5 mm. Lip pale green to white, claw 5.5-15.0 mm, median lobe descending, curved forward, linear, acute to acuminate, 21.5-38.0 x 0.5-1.5 mm, lateral lobes descending, strongly divergent, linear, weakly to strongly falcate, tips curved, acuminate, 36.0-57.5 x 0.5-1.0 mm; spur toothed, 53-70 mm long, clavate apex 15.5-24.0 mm long. Anther erect, acute, 3-5 mm long, canals slender, 7.0-11.5 mm long. Stigmatic processes clavate, projecting forwards and deflexed, sub-parallel, 8.5-14.0 mm long, base adnate to lip. Rostellum 3-lobed, base auriculate, median lobe narrowly-triangular rostrate, acuminate, margin smooth, 5-9 mm long, lateral lobes linear, fused to anther canals, sub-erect to 45°, subparallel, 4-6 mm long.
Habitat:
Dune forest and bush, in coarse, damp, basic, sandy soil, to 600 m.
Flowering period:
April to July.
Notes:
Bonatea pulchella is larger than its sister taxa B. polypodantha, with basal leaves and spurs 53-70 mm long. The hawkmoth Hippotion osiris Dalman (Sphingidae), with a proboscis length of 70 mm, is a possible pollinator as a specimen was caught in the vicinity of B. pulchella plants in Nelspruit
Distribution:
Mozambique, South Mrica (KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga).
References:
Johnson, S.D., Bytebier, B., Stärker, H. (2010). Orchids of South Africa: A field guide. Struik Nature, Cape Town, South Africa; La Croix, I.F., la Croix, E. (1997). African Orchids in the Wild and in Cultivation. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, USA; Flora Zambesiaca Vol 11 Part 1 Pope 1995: Field Guide to the Orchids of Northern South Africa and Swaziland McMurty, Grobler, Grobler & Burns 2008; Summerhayes, V.S. (1964). African orchids XXIX Kew Bulletin 17(3) Pages 529 - 531.
Images:
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Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ Habitat/In situ
Bonatea pulchella  01 Bonatea pulchella  02 Bonatea pulchella  03 Bonatea pulchella  04 Bonatea pulchella  05 Bonatea pulchella  06 Bonatea pulchella  07
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.