AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Vanilla francoisii H.Perrier, Notul. Syst. (Paris) 8: 37 (1939).
Description:
Plants with thin stems, not more than 4 mm in diameter when live; internodes 6-7 cm long. Leaves small (20-25 x 6-9 mm), oval, rounded then shortly contracted basally; attenuate from the center toward the subacute apex and 5 veined, very visible when dried. Flowers isolated, very small for the genus (20- 22 mm), 3 or 4 fleshy from the base of the leaf toward the apex of the branch, of a greenish-white, the labellum tinted with rose basally and with purple on the lateral margins and with yellow hairs basally; bracts cauducous (not visible). Sepals and petals nearly similar, the petals only slightly shorter a wider than the sepals, 22 mm long and 6-8 mm wide medially, elliptical, slightly more angled apically than basally, with 11 fine, straight veins. Labellum 18-20 mm long, joined to the column for 7 mm, rolled-trumpet shaped, flat apically and 12 mm wide, crenate on the apical margins, glabrous below; always ornamented with very dense, thick, long (2 mm) hairs above, more rarely fewer and shorter below; veins fineand straight, very numerous (more than 23). Column less than 10 mm tall; clinandrium provided laterally with wide membranous margins, hyaline and crenulate; rostellum very widely margined; stigmas slightly porrect, short, fiat and nearly palmate apically. Anther joined by a wide thread, slightly compressed laterally, not being easily seen pollina ? Pedicel 23-26 mm long. Immature fruits ? not thicker than the stem and to as much as 6.7 cm long, sessile (when fresh 8 cm long and 5 mm in diameter).
Habitat:
Semi-epiphytic; in eastern coastal forests; flowering in February.
Distribution:
NE. Madagascar