Ancistrorhynchus Finet, Bull. Soc. Bot. France 54(9): 44 (1907).
Cephalangraecum Schltr., Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 36(2): 135 (1918).
Phormangis Schltr., Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 36(2): 103 (1918).
Large or small, epiphytic, with long or, more often, short stems. Leaves usually linear, bilobed at the apex, with the lobes and sometimes the sides of the leaves just below the apex usually toothed, making the genus easy to identify even when plants are not in flower. Inflorescences arising at the base of the plant among old leaf sheaths, very dense, almost round, surrounded by large, papery bracts. Flowers white, often with a green mark on the lir. Sepals and petals fairly similar. Lip larger, entire or rather obscurely trilobed, with a wide-mouthed spur at the base. Spur often swollen at the apex, sometimes with a sharp bend in the middle. Column very short; rostellum pointed downwards, then sharply bent up so that the tip is pointing upwards-this is quite easily seen with a hand lens. Pollinia two, stipites two or one stipes that divides into two, viscidium one.
Ancistrorhynchus brevifolius Finet 1907
The genus Ancistrorhynchus was established by the French botanist Achille Finet in 1907; many of the species were already known but had been described in other genera, such as Angraecum. The name derives from the Greek words ankistron (hook) and rhynchos (beak, snout), referring to the distinctively shaped rostellum, which curves back on itself forming a hook.
Species of Ancistrorhynchus are not showy plants; one would not want to grow too many of them, but there should be at least one species in any representative collection of African orchids as they are an important part of the orchid flora, particularly in West Africa. The dense heads of green and white flowers can be rather attractive. There are about 18 species in tropical Africa, reaching their most southerly point in northern Malawi. A surprising number of species is sometimes available in cultivation.
Almost all species of Ancistrorhynchus are forest plants, growing in deep shade, where the humidity is high for most of the year. They grow well in pots with a standard bark mix, but we also have a few plants mounted on bark, and that is satisfactory as well. They grow well at intermediate temperatures, although they probably prefer the warm side of intermediate. Generally, they are not too fussy and most species flower regularly, sometimes more than once a year.
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 12.03.2017
Bibliography and References:
Cribb PJ, Laan FM van der, Arends JC. 1989 Two new species of Orchidaceae from West Africa. Kew Bull. 44. (3): 479-483 (1989)
Pottinger M. 1982 African orchids: Acampe, Aeranthes, Ancistrorhynchus. Angraecopsis andAnsellia Orchid Rev. 90(1062) 132-134 (1982)