AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Malaxis chevalieri Summerh., Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1934: 208 (1934).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Kornasia chevalieri (Summerh.) Szlach., Fragm. Florist. Geobot., Suppl. 3: 121 (1995).
Description:
Pseudobulbs 3-6 cm long, 0.2 cm in diameter, fusiform, slender, with 3-4 sheathing leaves in the lower part and 3-4 normal leaves at the apex. Leaves shortly petiolate to subsessile; petiole up to 2 cm long; blade 3.5-9.5 cm long, 1.1-5 cm wide, broadly lanceolate, ovate-lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate, acute, thin-textured, delicate, plicate, spreading. Inflorescence up to 8 cm long, 10-30- flowered, dense, subcorymbose, with few sterile bracts. Flowers rather small, resupinate, greenish-crimson, pink-wine. Floral bracts up to 3.4 mm long, triangular-lanceolate, subulate, non-auriculated, thin, delicate, glabrous. Pedicel and ovary up to 6 mm long, slender, glabrous. Dorsal sepal 2.8 -4.3 mm long, 1.2-2.1 mm wide, ovate-lanceolate, acute to subacute, thin, delicate, glabrous, flat, 3-nerved. Petals 2.6-4 mm long, 1.1-1.9 mm wide, obliquely oblanceolate to oblong-oblanceolate, acute, thin, delicate, glabrous, 3-nerved. Lateral sepals 2.9 -4 mm long, 1.2-2.1 mm wide, oblong-lanceolate to oblongovate, acute, thin, delicate, glabrous, flat, 3-nerved. Lip 2.6-4 mm long, 2.4-4.5 mm wide, broadly obovate to nearly obcordate in general outline, rather thin, with single callus in the centre, basal margins thickened, no needle-like projection in the centre, apical margins irregularly denticulate. Gynostemium up to 1 mm long.
Habitat:
Terrestrial in gallery forests, savanna, flower in May.
Note:
An inconspicuous little plant chiefly interesting for the umbellate inflorescence which, among African members of the genus, is found only in M. Maclaudii (Finet) Summerhayes. Whereas in Finet's species the lip bears two parallel calli at the base with in front of them a subulate projecting central tooth, in Malaxis Chevalieri there is merely an entire cushion-like callus in the centre at the very base. The petals also have entire margins whereas in Malaxis Maclaudii they are shortly ciliate.
Distribution:
W. Trop. Africa to Central African Rep.
References:
ORCHIDACEAE OF IVORY COAST by Dariusz L. Szlachetko 2008
Images:
Click on each image to see a larger version.