Bonatea pulchella Summerhayes,Kew Bull. 17: 529 (1964).
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.
Dune forest and bush, in coarse, damp, basic, sandy soil, to 600 m.
April to July.
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
Mozambique, South Mrica (KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga).
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.
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