AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Ancistrochilus Rolfe in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 7: 44 (1897).
Description:
Sepals subequal, spreading, the lateral ones partially united at the base to the very short foot of the column. Petals smaller than the sepals and narrower at the base, otherwise similar. Lip attached to the short foot of the column, subsaccate at the base, strongly 3-lobed; side lobes erect at the sides of the column, oblong, obtuse; front lobe narrowly triangular at the base, long attenuate above, recurved, twice as long as the side lobes; disc with slightly raised lines, the middle one more prominent at the base of the front lobe. Column clavate, rather long, slightly curved; wings short and rounded; base extended into a short horizontal foot. Anther operculate, 4-celled; pollinia 8, ovoid, united to a single appendage as long as themselves; anther-case apiculate. An erect herb, with depressed orbicular pseudobulbs, lanceolate, acute, plicate leaves, and erect 2- to 3-flowered scapes a little shorter than the leaves.
Notes:
A curious little monotype, originally referred to the Asiatic genus Pachystoma by Reichenbach, with which, as pointed out in the Botanical Magazine, it neither accords in floral character nor in the structure of the pollinia. It belongs to the same group, but is readily distinguished by the pollinia being united to a single stipitate appendage, as well as by the remarkable lip and spreading segments. The supposed "gland" figured in the Botanical Magazine is only a viscid secretion, and not analogous to the gland of the tribe Vandeæ .
Distribution:
W. Trop. Africa to Uganda

A key to the genus Ancistrochilus Rolfe
Bibliography and References:
Christenson EA. 2002 Ancistrochilus thomsonianus: the successful introduction of a rare African species. Orchids 71. (1): 30-32 (2002)
Cribb PJ. 1979 Ancistrochilus rothschildianus (Orchidaceae). Curtis's Bot. Mag. 182. (4): tab.786 (1979)
Leroux, A. (1975) Ancistrochilus rothschildianus O'Brien. L'Orchidophile, 21, 518.
Sheehan T, Sheehan M. 1994 Orchid genera illustrated: 159. Ancistrochilus. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 63. (7): 796-797 (1994)