Nervilia lilacea Jum. & H.Perrier, Ann. Fac. Sci. Marseille 21: 197 (1912).
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Nervilia gassneri Börge Pett., Nordic J. Bot. 9: 492 (1990).
Erect, terrestrial herb, 6-10 cm tall, glabrous except for subterranean parts. Tuber spherical. Leaf solitary, not prostrate, glabrous; blade wider than long, 1.5 by 2 cm; veins 5; petiole c. 3 cm long, sulcate with a sheathing cataphyll. Scape erect, terete, 1-flowered, with 2 sheathing cataphylls, the upper one I cm and longer than the lower one and than the bract. Flower small, more or less horizontal. Bract c. I mm; sepals and petals greenish white, spreading, linear-lanceolate, slightly attenuate towards the base, 11-12 by 2-2.5 mm; lip slightly shorter, 3-lobed, white with lilac midlobe; sidelobes acute, much shorter than the midlobe, which is lanceolate, 3 by 3 mm with a finely toothed front margin. Gynostemium clavate, curved forwards, lilac, c. 5 mm.
Tropical rain forest floor margins at elevation 200–2000 m a.s.l..
Flowering from March to April was observed in Kenya.
Only known from the single type specimen with one leaf and one flower. Both flower and leaf were obtained from cultivation.
As given for the genus, warm to cool growing terrestrial.
N. & C. Madagascar
Orchid Monographs 5 (1991); Flora Zambesiaca Vol. 11 Part 1 Pope 1995; Field Guide to the Orchids of Northern South Africa and Swaziland McMurty, Grobler, Grobler & Burns 2008; Field Guide to the Orchids of Madagascar Cribb & Hermans 2009; The Orchids of Madagascar Hermans Dupuy, Cribb and Bosser 2007; Stewart J, Campbell B (1996) Orchids of Kenya. Timber Press Inc, Portland Oregon, 146−147; Petersson B (1990) Studies in the genus Nervilia (Orchidaceae) in Africa. Nordic Journal of Botany 9(5): 487–497; The first report of Nervilia lilacea Jum. & H. Perrier (Orchidaceae, Epidendroideae) from Kenya and the Northern Hemisphere, Jing Tian, Vivian Kathambi, Peris Kamau, Geoffrey Mwachala, Itambo Malombe, Guang-Wan Hu PhytoKeys. 2019; 135: 35–38
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In culture In culture
Nervilia lilacea  01 Nervilia lilacea 02
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.
Photograph© Lourens
Grobler. Image used
with kind permission.