AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Bulbophyllum Thouars, Hist. Orchid.: t. 3 (1822), nom. cons.
Synonyms:
Phyllorkis Thouars, Hist. Orchid.: t. 4, f. 2 (1822).
Tribrachia Lindl., Bot. Reg. 10: t. 832 (1824).
Anisopetalum Hook., Exot. Fl. 2: t. 149 (1825).
Cochlea Blume, Bijdr.: 320 (1825).
Cochlia Blume, Bijdr.: 320 (1825).
Diphyes Blume, Bijdr.: 310 (1825).
Ephippium Blume, Bijdr.: 308 (1825).
Epicranthes Blume, Bijdr.: 306 (1825).
Osyricera Blume, Bijdr.: 307 (1825).
Zygoglossum Reinw., Syll. Pl. Nov. 2: 5 (1825).
Bolbophyllum Spreng., Syst. Veg. 3: 681 (1826), orth. var.
Gersinia Néraud in C.Gaudichaud-Beaupré, Voy. Uranie: 27 (1826).
Megaclinium Lindl., Bot. Reg. 12: t. 989 (1826).
Hippoglossum Breda, Gen. Sp. Orchid. Asclep.: t. 14 (1827).
Odontostylis Breda, Gen. Sp. Orchid. Asclep.: t. 4 (1827), nom. illeg.
Sestochilos Breda, Gen. Sp. Orchid. Asclep.: t. 3 (1827).
Epicrianthus Blume, Fl. Javae: vii (1828).
Odontostylis Blume, Fl. Javae, Praef.: vii (1828), nom. superfl.
Cirrhopetalum Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 45 (1830), nom. cons.
Lyraea Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 46 (1830).
Macrolepis A.Rich. in J.S.C.Domont d'Urville, Voy. Astrolabe 2: 25 (1833).
Malachadenia Lindl., Edwards's Bot. Reg. 25(Misc.): 67 (1839).
Pachyrhachis A.Rich., Herb. Gén. Amateur, II, 3: 23 (1843).
Oxysepalum Wight, Icon. Pl. Ind. Orient. 5: 17 (1851).
Bolbophyllaria Rchb.f., Bot. Zeitung (Berlin) 10: 934 (1852).
Bolbophyllopsis Rchb.f., Bot. Zeitung (Berlin) 10: 933 (1852).
Didactyle Lindl., Fol. Orchid. 1: 1 (1852).
Xiphizusa Rchb.f., Bot. Zeitung (Berlin) 10: 919 (1852).
Sarcobodium Beer, Prakt. Stud. Orchid.: 306 (1854).
Bulbophyllaria S.Moore in J.G.Baker, Fl. Mauritius: 844 (1877), orth. var.
Henosis Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 5: 771 (1890).
Adelopetalum Fitzg., J. Bot. 29: 152 (1891).
Pelma Finet, Notul. Syst. (Paris) 1: 112 (1909).
Codonosiphon Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1: 893 (1913).
Dactylorhynchus Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1: 890 (1913).
Monosepalum Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1: 682 (1913).
Tapeinoglossum Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1: 892 (1913).
Hyalosema Rolfe, Orchid Rev. 27: 130 (1919).
Canacorchis Guillaumin, Bull. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat., II, 35: 653 (1964).
× Cirrhophyllum auct., Orchid Rev. 73(859) noh: 1 (1965).
Hapalochilus (Schltr.) Senghas, Orchidee (Hamburg) 29: 248 (1978).
Ferruminaria Garay, Hamer & Siegerist, Nordic J. Bot. 14: 635 (1994).
Mastigion Garay, Hamer & Siegerist, Nordic J. Bot. 14: 635 (1994).
Rhytionanthos Garay, Hamer & Siegerist, Nordic J. Bot. 14: 637 (1994).
Synarmosepalum Garay, Hamer & Siegerist, Nordic J. Bot. 14: 639 (1994).
Vesicisepalum (J.J.Sm.) Garay, Hamer & Siegerist, Nordic J. Bot. 14: 641 (1994).
Oncophyllum D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem., Orchadian 13: 420 (2001).
Peltopus (Schltr.) Szlach. & Marg., Polish Bot. J. 46: 114 (2001).
Blepharochilum M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13: 499 (2002).
Carparomorchis M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13: 499 (2002).
Fruticicola (Schltr.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13: 499 (2002).
Karorchis D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem., Orchadian 13: 499 (2002).
Papulipetalum (Schltr.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13: 500 (2002).
Serpenticaulis M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13: 500 (2002).
Spilorchis D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem., Orchadian 15: 37 (2005).
Hamularia Aver. & Averyanova, Komarovia 4: 18 (2006).
Hordeanthos Szlach., Richardiana 7: 88 (2007).
Lepanthanthe (Schltr.) Szlach., Richardiana 7: 82 (2007).
Trachyrhachis (Schltr.) Szlach., Richardiana 7: 85 (2007).
Tripudianthes (Seidenf.) Szlach. & Kras, Richardiana 7(2): 94 (2007).
Description:
Herbs sympodial, heteranthous. Roots glabrous to villous, usually sprouting from below the pseudobulb. Rhizome creeping, consisting of the entire stem of each shoot except for the last internode, with few too many nodes, with a scale arising from each node. Young shoots lateral, usually sprouting from an internode close to the base of the pseudobulb. Rhizome scales distichous, inarticulate, usually tubular, with a triangular top part, usually more or less glabrous.
Pseudobulbs 1-2 (- 3)-leafed (6-12-leafed in Chaseella), consisting of the last internode of each shoot, ovoid, ellipsoid or cylindrical, often with distinct edges, often partly or entirely covered by the rhizome scales when young.
Leaves duplicate, inarticulate, often with a petiole, orbicular to linear, tip acuminate to emarginate, in the latter case often with an extended mid-nerve, often oblique; thickly herbaceous to coriaceous, usually glabrous .
Inflorescence usually sprouting from the node below the pseudobulb, a raceme. Peduncle usually terete, with few to several nodes bearing scales. Peduncle scales almost similar to the rhizome scales. Rhachis terete, swollen into a spindle-shaped body, or widened and bilaterally flattened; glabrous, papillose or pubescent. Floral bracts appressed to reflexed.
Flowers either distichous (when the rhachis is flattened the flowers are either situated along the midnerve of the flattened side of the rhachis or along the margins) or scattered (spirally arranged in the young inflorescence), either (partly) resupinate or not, appressed against the rhachis to reflexed, either flowering simultaneously or in succession, almost closed to wide open. Pedicel and ovary inarticulate; the jugae of the ovary may end distally in a tooth extending over the base of the petals and the lip.

Sepals, the median and the lateral ones more or less equal except for the shape, usually free; the lateral ones often distinctly oblique, joined with the column foot along the basal part of their lower margin but hardly forming a distinct.
Petals (lateral petals) either as the sepals (except for the shape) or not. Lip (median petal) differentiated from the other parts of the perianth, hinged to the column foot by a very thin, flat strip of tissue allowing the lip to move freely parallel to the bilateral plane of symmetry of the flower; usually entire or inconspicuously three-Iobed, margins either entire and/or glabrous or not, adaxially either with ridges or not, abaxially usually with a median ridge.
Column ending in two more or less s developed stelidia; two additional wings of various shape may be present along the adaxial margins of the column; clinandrium (that part of the column in which the anther is concealed) terminal, separated from the stigma by a seam like, thin or fleshy rostellum; stigma concave, orbicular to longitudinally slitlike, either with a basal tooth or not. Anther connected to the top of the column by a very thin strip of tissue, usually easily to be detached, more or less cordate, flattened to distinctly concave, with two thecae which each may partly be split in two; abaxially often with a distinct ridge of various shape.
Pollinia 2 or 4, when 4 either of about equal shape and size or with a much smaller and/ or differently shaped inner pair; a stipes may be present, which is either firmly attached to the pollinia or easily falling off. Fruit either stalked or not, opening with 3 valves.
Habitat:
Mainly low and high altitude primary forest, either wet (rain forest and montane forest) or with a drier period (savanna woodlands). Less common in low and high altitude shrub vegetations and mangrove forest. Some species may occur in secondary forest and plantations. Epiphytic herbs, les s frequently occurring lithophytic, rarely terrestrial.
Distribution:
Tropical part of Africa
Distribution outside Africa:
Comores, Madagascar, Seychelles, Reunion and Mauritius (ca. 200 species described). Asia: Northwards up to the E. part of India, Nepal, Bhutan, SE China and S. Japan; Southwards to N. Australia; Eastwards to Tahiti (ca.1500 species described). S. America: Northwards up to Mexico and Florida; Southwards to Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru (ca.100 species described).
Cultivation of Bulbophyllum
Bulbophyllum has been divided into sections for ease of studying the various similar plants. Thes sections are listed and described here and mentioned in the descriptions of the species to facilitate understanding of the gernera. The species upon which the description of the section is based is called the type. In some instances a type is not designated because the original author of the section did not name one.

Bulbophyllum Section Alcistachys Schlechter (1924)
Description:
These are large plants with flat two-leaved pseudobulbs that are yellow or red and not fully developed at flowering time. Leaves are oblanceolate and present during flowering. Bracts are as large as or larger than the flowers, and lateral sepals are free.
Bulbophyllum Section Bifalcula Schlechter (1924)
Description:
These are large two-leaved plants with an inflorescence that is much longer than the pseudobulb. The flowers surround the terete or angular rachis, and the bracts are not longer than the flowers. The stelidia are usually longer than the anther, and there are basal teeth on the labellum.
Description:
The pseudobulbs of this section have two leaves each, and the long, cylindrical rachis has very small flowers.
Bulbophyllum Section Bulbophyllum Thouars (1877)
Description:
These are large plants with an inflorescence longer than the two-Ieaved pseudobulbs. The flowers surround the terete or angular rachis, and the bracts are as long as or shorter than the flowers. The stelidia are almost always shorter than the anther, and the labellum is without basal lobules. Type: Bulbophyllum nutansThouars (1822).
Bulbophyllum Section Calamaria Schltr.
Description:
Schlechter (1924) first used the name Calamaria for a group of orchids that occur in Madagascar, the Comoros, the Mascarenes, and Africa. Section Calamaria is characterized by ovoid to orbicular, sometimes flattened, unifoliate or bifoliate pseudobulbs. The inflorescence is a many-flowered raceme with a rachis as thick as the peduncle or swollen, with the flowers inserted into dimples. The floral bracts cover the whole flower or at least the pedicel and ovary of the flowers, which are arranged in rows or spirally. The sepals are glabrous or verrucate, rarely fine hairy, with always entire margins. The lateral sepals are free. The lip is thick, recurved in the middle, with glabrous to long hairy margins. The stelidia are linear, falcate or recurved, and acute to acuminate. The anther has a protrusion that is often as long or longer than the stelidia. All species are adapted to drought through succulent vegetative parts.

Bulbophyllum Section Elasmatopus Schltr.
Description:
Plants smaller then the Pachychlamys; pseudobulbs bifoliate; sheaths thin and soft; peduncle thin, not more than l mm. in diameter; raceme and rachis thin; sepals free; labellum glabrous (except for 1 aberrant species) and with the lingulate appendages basally; stelides long and acicular; anther with an apiculte or appendiculate connective appendage.
Bulbophyllum section Eubolbophyllum
Description:
Bulbophyllum Section Habrostachys Schlechter (1913)
Description:
These small plants have pseudobulbs that are somewhat flattened bonzontally and that retain their two leaves when flowering. The slender pedunde is often setaceous, and the flowers surround the terete or angular rachis. The bracts are not longer than the flowers, the stelidia are longer than the anther, and the labellum is basally lobed.
Bulbophyllum Section Hymenosepalum Schltr.
Description:
Plants small; pseudobulbs unifoliate. Scape I or 2 flowered; flowers relatively large. Parts free of the column foot, shorter than the upright part of the column; stetides acicutar, longer than the column, but not at tall; stigma bordered in front and on the sides by a connical apicute.
Bulbophyllum Section Kainochilus Schltr.
Description:
Plants large; pseudobulbs bifoliate (exception B. viguieri); flowers large or very large, to at least 8 mm long; sepals free; labellum very barbate, often longly lingulate-caudate; column longer than wide, nearly always provided marginally (exception B. endentatum) below the stelides, with a more or less developed tooth or lobe; stelides large; anther bearing a more or less developed appendage. Capsule nearly sessile.
Bulbophyllum Section Lemuraea Schltr.
Description:
Plants often of small size; pseudobulbs bifoliase, generally distant, sheaths thin, peduncie rigid, very thick; rachis often short, several flowered (5-15) and reclining; rachis not thickened; sepals free; labellum not ciliate; stelides short, not longer or only slightly longer than the anther.
Bulbophyllum Section Lepiophylax Schltr.
Description:
Pseudobulbs compressed, bifoliate; leaves small and wide; inflorescence at least 3 times longer than the bulb and leaves; rachis think several flowered (7-9 flowered), rarely (B. ruginosum) 15-30 flowered; rachis often sinuate; sepals free; labellum glabrous; stelides acute.
Bulbophyllum Section Lichenophylax Schlechter (1924)
Description:
Section Lichenophylax was established by Schlechter (1924) for a group of unique species endemic to the humid forests of eastern Madagascar. All species are tiny creeping plants clearly characterized by a ramified rhizome, ovoid to oblong bifoliate pseudobulbs, and a setaceous and uniflorous inflorescence.
Plants small, forming dense mats, on rocks and sometimes tree trunks in humid places. Pseudobulbs small, bifoliate; leaves small (23 mm long at most); scape setiform and single flowered; or thick, but short (1-2 cm), and 1-5 flowered; labellum glabrous, anther without a lip, but generally provided on the edges with an apicule or an appendage in the form of a hump or knuckle; stelides generally short, rarely narrow and long (1. 5 mm); margins sometimes enlarged and lobed or toothed.
Bulbophyllum Section Loxosepalum Schlechter (1924)
Description:
The inflorescence is longer than the leaf, and there is one leaf per pseudobulb. The rachis is often slightly swollen and has numerous small fiowers on short pedicels. The labellum is recurved and slightly flattened horizontally.
Bulbophyllum Section Lyraea (Lindley) Moore (1877)
Description:
The two leaves per pseudobulb are present when flowering. The rachis is swollen. The lateral sepals are navicular, connate, with margins inrolled, and are prominently keeled. Type: BulbopIyllum prismaticum Thouars (1822).
Bulbophyllum Section Lyperocephalum Schltr.
Description:

Pseudobulbs unifoliate; inflorescence 6-12 flowered; flowers glabrous; sepals free; labellum glabrous; margins of the column provided below the stelides with a thick, horizontal point, differentiated from the stelides themselves more by the tint than the aspect, form and coloration.
Bulbophyllum Section Micromonanthe Schlechter (1913)
Description:
These plants are small with creeping rhizomes that branch and have single-leaved pseudobulbs that are varying distances apart but grow as a compact mass. There is only one flower per inflorescence and as a rule it is less than 1 cm in size. All sepals are roughly the same length.
Bulbophyllum Section Pachychlamys Schlechter (1924)
Description:
This section from Madagascar has two leaves per pseudobuib. The inflorescence is erect, has several sheathes and numerous relatively small flowers that are alrernately held on the apical portion. The lateral sepals are partially connate.
Bulbophyllum Section Pantoblepharon Schlechter (1911)
Description:
A main feature of this very large section is that the heigh of a pseudobulb with its single leaf is usually less than 7 cm. The rhizome is pendent, the inflorescence is single flowered, the lateral sepals are connate by their outer margins, and the labellum is ciliate. Species in this section have been found from India throughout New Guinea and as far as Australia.
Bulbophyllum Section Ploiarium Schltr.
Description:
Plants very large (10-50 cm tall), pseudobulbs bifoliate. Flowers in a several flowered raceme. Lateral sepals joined together, above the column foot, forming a single, wide, bifid or bidentate structure, sometimes entire, provided exteriorly with 2 winglike keels, more nr less projecting, closer to the ends of this structure than the middle and running perpendicular to the ovary. Column margins above the stelides simple or dentate; not lingulate or dentate on the front without an obvious tongue, not bearing a hump or apicule above.
Bulbophyllum Section. Polyradices G.A.Fischer, Sieder & P.J.Cribb.
Description:

This monotypic section is morphologically different from all other sections of Bulbophyllum in Madagascar. In habit it is tiny with densely clustered and bilaterally flattened, unifoliate pseudobulbs, the one- or two-flowered inflorescence is sessile, and the sepals, petals and lip have no hairs but the former are finely papillose on the margin and the latter is slightly papillose beneath. It is also noteworthy that the only species of this section lacks spiral vessels in its tissues, a very rare situation in Madagascan
Bulbophyllum Section Trichopus Schlechter (1924)
Description:
Small plants not more than 10cm. tall, pseudobulbs unifoliate; inflorescence several flowered (more than 6 flowered), longer than the bulbs and leaf; raceme with its rachis sinuate, flowers distant, regularly alternate; peduncie longer than the rachis; sepals free: labellum ciliate; stelides and column short.
Bulbophyllum in Africa
J.J.Vermeulen vrote in his Orchid Monographs Volume 2 "A Taxonomic revision of the continental African bulbophyllinae" (citat: I am of the opinion that an infrageneric division which will survive inclusion of new information without the need for fundamental changes, will have to embrace the genus s a whole. No local classification, however useful it may be for for identifyring species, meets or can possibly meet this requirement. The Bulbophyllum species occurring in any restriched area are never so much isolated that morphological similarities with species outside that area can be ignored, as has been done in the past. citat end).
Considering that the present state of knowledge is insufficient for a worldwide approach I prefer to abstain from introducing a number of official section names for a groups of African Bulbophyllum and follow the J.J.Vermeulen groups of Bulbophyllum below:
Key to the infrageneric groups of Bulbophyllum occurring in continental Africa.
Incompletely known species of Bulbophyllum:

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Bibliography and References:
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