AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Grammangis ellisii (Lindl.) Rchb.f., Hamburger Garten- Blumenzeitung 16: 520 (1860).
Homotypic Names:
Grammatophyllum ellisii Lindl., Bot. Mag. 86: t. 5179 (1860).
Gabertia ellisii (Lindl.) Gaudich. in B.Stein, Orchid.-Buch: 266 (1892).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Grammangis ellisii var. dayanum Rchb.f., Gard. Chron., n.s., 14: 326 (1880).
Grammangis fallax Schltr., Orchis 9: 120 (1915).
Description:
A large sympodial epiphyte. Plants produce white roots that are 0.1-0.2 in. (0.3-0.5 cm) in diameter.
Pseudobulb/stem:
10-20 cm long by 1.6-2.4 in. (4-6 cm) in diameter. The younger pseudobulbs are covered with sheaths that have sharp points at their tips. Hillerman & Holst (1986) report that old plants may have 15-20 old pseudobulbs that become quite black after losing their sheaths and that they often send up a mass of stiff, fine, white roots that resemble "stickers" about the base of the pseudobulbs.
Leaves:
30-45 cm long by 0.6-2.0 in. (1.5-5.0 cm) wide. Three to five leaves are carried at the apex of the pseudobulb. They are thin and rather soft with blunt, very slightly bilobed tips. Older plants often have leaves on 5-6 of the pseudobulbs.
Inflorescence:
40-65 cm long and up to 0.3 in. (0.7 cm) in diameter. The flower spike forms on a new lead before the pseudobulb has developed and when the leaves are 8-10 in. (20-25 cm) long. Flowers are produced in a raceme that is 6-8 in. (15-20 cm) long toward the apex of the spike. Flowers are formed at all angles around the stem and are spaced about 0.6 in. (1.5 cm) apart.
Flowers:
15-20 per inflorescence. The flowers, which open progressively, are 2.0-2.4 in. (5-6 cm) wide and measure about 1.2-1.4 in. (3.0-3.5 cm) vertically. The spreading to somewhat reflexed, triangular sepals are the most prominent part of the flower. They are about 1.6 in. (4 cm) long by 0.8 in. (2 cm) wide near the base and have reflexed, somewhat undulate margins. The smaller petals are also triangular in shape but are smaller than the sepals and are held to project forward on each side of the column for most of their length with their upper margins meeting above the column. They flare out slightly near their sharply pointed tips. in. ( cm) across. The egg-shaped lip is about 0.7 in. (1.8 cm) long and wide, but it is so concave that in its natural position it measures only about 0.4 in. (1 cm) wide. It is flattened at the base and is 3-lobed at the apex. The lateral lobes are sharply pointed to sickle-shaped, and the middle lobe is slightly longer and narrower. There is a callus at the base of the middle lobe that is 2-toothed at its apex and has a median keel that divides the base of the middle lobe into 3 short crests. The column is about 0.4 in. (1 cm) long with triangular to bluntly pointed ear-like appendages that are widely extended.
Habitat
Plants grow in coastal forests, in humid evergreen forests, and on branches overhanging rivers from near sea level to about 4250 ft. (1300 m).
Notes:
Growers report that plants are in bloom for a long time.
Culture:
Read more of cultivation of Grammangis ellisii (Lindl.) Rchb.f.
Distribution:
N. & E. Madagascar. Found in the provinces of Antananarivo, Antsiranana, and Toamasina.
References:
De la Bathie, H., and H. Humbert. [1939, 1941] 1981. Flora of Madagascar 1-2. The Government of Madagascar and the National Museum of Natural History, Paris. Translated and published in 1 vol., Steven D. Beckman, 621 Palm Ave., Lodi, CA, U.S.A. 95240. Du Puy, D., P. Cribb, J. Bosser, J. & C. Hermans. 1999. The Orchids of Madagascar. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, England. Hamilton, R. 1988. When does it flower? 2nd ed. Robert M. Hamilton, 9211 Beckwith Road, Richmond, B. C., Canada V6X 1V7. Hillerman, F. and A. Holst. 1986. An introduction to the cultivated Angraecoid orchids of Madagascar. Timber Press, Portland, Ore. Kew Data Base. 2020. http.//apps.kew.org/wcsp/home.do
Images:
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Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.