Stenoglottis zambesiaca Rolfe in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 7: 190 (1897).
Erect, lithophytic or epiphytic herb, 10-35 cm high, with ellipsoid woolly tubers up to 4 cm long and 1 cm in diameter, radiating from the base of the plant. Leaves 6-12, forming a basal rosette, spreading or arching and recurved, lightly spotted with dark brown or unspotted, ligulate-lanceolate, up to 12 cm long, 0.8-2 cm wide, attenuate at the base, the apex acute, margins undulate. Inflorescence erect, a subsecund raceme, up to 35 cm high but often shorter, with 5-40 flowers, Sheaths and bracts, lightly spotted, narrowly lanceolate, acuminate, gradually decreasing in size along the peduncle, bracts always shorter than the ovaries. Flowers pale lilac or pink with darker spots or streaks on the lip. Sepals with papillose margins; dorsal sepal narrowly elliptic, 3-5.5 mm long; lateral sepals obliquely oblong-ovate or semi-orbicular, a little longer than the dorsal. Petals entire, folded forward so that they obscure the column, as long as the lateral sepals but broader, margins papillose. Lip spreading, narrowly wedge-shaped, 5-12 mm long, 3-6 mm wide, 3-lobed in the apical third, the side-lobes equal to or shorter than the pointed mid-lobe in length but wider and with a truncate apex. Column very small, short and obtuse, 1-2mm tall. Pollinia large, erect, enclosed in sacs on the face of the column; caudicles short; viscidia circular. Staminodes fist-shaped with an almost tuberculate apex. Stigmas erect or slightly curved, narrow. Capsule ribbed, 1.2-1.8 cm long.
Terrestrial in leaf litter, occasionally epiphytic on tree trunks, but most often growing lithophytically on mossy rocks, or on rotting logs; usually in forest but occasionally in woodland, but usually in deep shade, 1300-2150 m (4300-7100 ft.).
Flowering occurs from March to April.
SW. Tanzania to Northern Prov.
Summerhayes, V.S. (1968). Orchidaceae (Part 1) Flora of Tropical East Africa; Summerhayes, V.S. (1960). African orchids XXVII Kew Bulletin 14(1); Linder, H.P. & Kurzweil, H. (1999). Orchids of Southern Africa A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, the Netherlands ISBN 90-5410-445-7; La Croix, I. & Cribb, P.J. (1995). Orchidaceae (Part 1) Flora Zambesiaca 11(1);
Gavin McDonald, A Review of the Genus Stenoglottis Lindley
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