Platycoryne crocea Rolfe in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 7: 257 (1898).
Homotypic Synonyms:

Habenaria crocea Schweinf. ex Rchb.f., Otia Bot. Hamburg.: 57 (1878), nom. illeg.
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Habenaria elegantula Kraenzl., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 51: 376 (1914).
Habenaria ochrantha Schltr., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 53: 494 (1915).
Habenaria montis-elgon Schltr., Notizbl. Bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 8: 225 (1922).
Platycoryne montis-elgon (Schltr.) Summerh., Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1932: 508 (1932).
Platycoryne elegantula (Kraenzl.) Summerh. in J.Hutchinson & J.M.Dalziel, Fl. W. Trop. Afr. 2: 414 (1936).
Platycoryne ochrantha (Schltr.) Summerh., Kew Bull. 2: 125 (1947 publ. 1948).
Platycoryne heterophylla Summerh., Kew Bull. 13: 69 (1958).
Platycoryne crocea subsp. elegantula (Kraenzl.) Summerh., Kew Bull. 17: 532 (1964).
Platycoryne crocea subsp. montis-elgon (Schltr.) Summerh., Kew Bull. 17: 533 (1964).
Platycoryne crocea subsp. ochrantha (Schltr.) Summerh., Kew Bull. 17: 533 (1964).

Slender terrestrial herb 12–45 cm tall; tubers 8–18 × 5–10 mm, ellipsoid to globose, densely tomentose. Leaves 5–16, the lowermost 3–9 forming a basal tuft, spreading; the rest spaced along the stem, becoming bract-like. Largest leaf 1.5–6 cm long, 2–8 mm wide, linear or linear-lanceolate. Inflorescence compact, up to c. 3 cm long, densely 1–6(9)-flowered. Flowers yellow-orange to deep-orange, suberect. Ovary and pedicel 14–20 mm long, arching; bracts 7–18 mm long. Dorsal sepal erect, 6.5–12 × 3.5–9.5 mm, broadly ovate, very acute, the tip often slightly reflexed, convex; lateral sepals deflexed, 4.5–11.5 × 2–3.5 mm, obliquely lanceolate, acute. Petals erect, 4.5–11 × 1.5–3 mm, curved lanceolate, adnate to dorsal sepal.Lip 5–12 mm long with tooth-like lobes 1–2 mm long at base; mid-lobe 2 mm wide, ligulate, obtuse, fleshy; spur 9–15 mm long, pendent or slightly incurved. Anther 2.5–4.5 mm high, erect, obtuse or apiculate; canals 1–2.5 mm long, porrect. Stigmatic arms 1.5–3 mm long, clavate, horizontal or decurved. Rostellum erect, mid-lobe 1–2.5 mm long, triangular, acute, the side lobes shorter and truncate.

Summerhayes in describing Platycoryne heterophylla differentiated it from Platycoryne. crocea by its larger rostellum mid-lobe and by its relatively broad basal leaves and much narrower cauline leaves. However, all the measurements given fall within the range recognised for Platycoryne crocea.

Brachystegia woodland on stony soil, pebbly grassland 900–1350 m.

Cameroon to Ethiopia and Zimbabwe

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