AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Calanthe R. Brown, Bot. Reg. 7: sub t. 573 ('578'). 1821, nom. cons.
Heterotypic Synonyms:
Alismorkis Thouars, Nouv. Bull. Sci. Soc. Philom. Paris 19: 318 (1809).
Alismorchis Thouars, Hist. Orchid.: t. 35 (1822), orth. var.
Centrosis Thouars, Hist. Orchid.: t. 35 (1822).
Amblyglottis Blume, Bijdr.: 369 (1825).
Zoduba Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don, Prodr. Fl. Nepal.: 30 (1825).
Styloglossum Breda, Gen. Sp. Orchid. Asclep.: t. 7 (1827).
Centrosia A.Rich., Mém. Soc. Hist. Nat. Paris 4: 39 (1828).
Zeduba Ham. ex Meisn., Pl. Vasc. Gen.: 280 (1842).
Ghiesbreghtia A.Rich. & Galeotti, Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot., III, 3: 28 (1845).
Preptanthe Rchb.f., Fl. Serres Jard. Eur. 8: 245 (1853).
Calanthidium Pfitzer in H.G.A.Engler & K.A.E.Prantl (eds.), Nat. Pflanzenfam. 2(6): 153 (1888).
Aulostylis Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1: 392 (1912).
Paracalanthe Kudô, J. Soc. Trop. Agric. 2: 235 (1930).
Description:
Sepals subequal, free, usually widely spreading. Petals like the sepals or narrower. Lip usually more or less adnate to the column; limb spreading, 3-lobed, with the terminal one often deeply bilobed, disc variously callous or lamellate; base mostly extended into a slender spur (in the African ones invariably so). Column short, without a foot; wings usually united to the sides of the column. Anther sub terminal, operculate, incumbent, 2-celled; pollinia 8, oblong or obovate, somewhat compressed, the caudicles often somewhat attenuate and united by a viscid appendage. Capsules elliptical-oblong. —Terrestrial herbs, with short leafy stems, sometimes pseudo bulbous at the base. Leaves 2 to several, petiolate; limb elliptical- to oblong-lanceolate, acute or acuminate, plicate. Scapes erect from the rhizome, often tall, with a number of sheaths towards the base. Flowers in dense or loose racemes, usually showy. Bracts lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate.
Distribution:
Trop. & Subtrop. Old World to Pacific, Mexico to Colombia, Caribbean
Cultivation:

Calanthe culture is divided into two groups: deciduous and evergreen plants. The first normally have huge pseudobulbs, the evergreen plants have smaller pseudobulbs or completely lack them in some species. These two groups have been assigned into 2 subgenera: Eucalanthe for the deciduous and Preptanthe for the evergreen plants. This classification has been around since Seidenfaden, 1975 ) and there is a revision anticipated - their mutual exclusion in hybridisation shows a genetic base for further separation. If the above is not available success can also be had with an ordinary fine bark mix and crushed stone/grit. Rockwool (Steinmix) is also an option where growing conditions are controlled.
Deciduous plants have a seasonal clock: a dormancy that reduces the plant to its pseudobulbs and roots, followed by flowering in the start of dormancy and growth of leaves in spring that die of at the start of the following dormancy.
Evergreen Calanthe can be divided into two groups for culture: those that require a tropical to sub-tropical environment with an elevated minimum-temperature and the temperate ones from the semi-shaded humus-rich soils on the slopes of Cryptomeria woodlands in Japan. The latter species are very popular in culture in Asia.
The temperate species require a free-draining soil with quite a bit of nutritional reserve: 1 part coarse drainage material is mixed with an equal amount of peat. To this add 2 parts of sifted standard orchid mix and 2 parts of aged leafmould.
Species:

Calanthe madagascariensis Rolfe ex Hook.f. Madagascar.
Calanthe sylvatica (Thouars) Lindl. Africa, Trop. & Subtrop. Asia.
Calanthe triplicata (Willemet) Ames W. Indian Ocean, Trop. & Subtrop. Asia to Pacific.

World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.kew.org/wcsp/ accessed 1/17/2010
Bibliography and References:
Anon. 1999 Calanthe triplicata (Willemet) Ames. J. Native Orchid Soc. S. Australia 23. (3): 29 (1999)
Field L. 2003 Calanthe triplicata Willemet 1907. J. Native Orchid Soc. S. Australia 27. (6): 60 (2003)
Jennings C. 1997 The genus Calanthe. Orchids Austral. 9. (4): 10-11 (1997)
Mr. Frikkie Marais. Website: Crowing Calanthe
Seidenfaden, G. 1975. Orchid genera in Thailand I. Calanthe R.Br. Dansk Bot. Ark. 29(2): 1 - 50