AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Vanilla ramosa Rolfe, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 32: 457 (1896).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Vanilla africana subsp. ramosa (Rolfe) Szlach. & Olszewski, in Fl. Cameroun 34: 286 (1998).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Vanilla laurentiana De Wild., Not. Pl. Util. Congo 1: 327 (1904).
Vanilla laurentiana var. gilletii De Wild., Not. Pl. Util. Congo 1: 328 (1904).
Vanilla beauchenei A.Chev., Études Fl. Afr. Centr. Franç. 1: 297 (1913), nom. nud.
Vanilla africana var. gilletii (De Wild.) Portères, Bull. Soc. Bot. France 98: 126 (1951).
Vanilla africana var. laurentiana (De Wild.) Portères, Bull. Soc. Bot. France 98: 126 (1951).
Description:
Epiphytic, glabrous, leafy liane. Stems often several metres long, up to 7 mm in diameter, succulent, dull green, with a single leaf at each node, opposite to or subtending an adventitious root. Leaves fleshy or leathery, elliptic or elliptic-oblong, rounded at the base, shortly acuminate at the apex, 8-16 cm long and 3-6 cm wide. Inflorescences axillary, frequently branched, densely many flowered. Flowers white, cream or pale yellow, lip marked rosy mauve to purple; sepals all similar, oblong-elliptic to lanceolate, up to 3 cm long and 1.2 cm wide; petals similar but shorter and narrower; lip distinctly 3-lobed, up to 2.5 cm long and 2.7 cm wide, midlobe bearing a series of lamellae and a raised keel in the basal part, side lobe margins adnate to the column throughout their length.
Habitat:
Widespread in Africa, in forest, dense scrub on coral rock and in plantations; sea level to 900 m; usually flowering from September to February (in Tanzania).
Distribution:
Ivory Coast to WC. Trop. Africa

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