Sphyrarhynchus Mansf., Notizbl. Bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 12: 706 (1935).
This monotypic genus with an almost unpronounceable name was known only from northern Tanzania until recently when it was discovered on the eastern slopes of the Aberdare Mts. Each plant has only a few small, glaucous leaves above a mass of flattened roots that are green when wet. They can hardly be distinguished from the two small species of Angraecopsis except when flowering. The flowers are unexpectedly large, glistening white with a green flash on the surface of the tip. Usually there are a few flowers on each of several or many inflorescences so that the tiny plant appears to be covered in a hall of flowers.
The generic name is derived from two Greek words sphyra (hammer) and rhynchos (snout or beak) and refers to the shape of the rostellum at the apex of the column: in side view the rostellum resembles a minute hammer.
Key to genus Sphyrarhynchus Mansf.
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 16/03/2017
Bibliography and References:
Arends JC, Van der Laan FM. 1986 Cytotaxonomy of the Vandeae. Lindleyana. 1. 33-41.
Carlsward BS, Stern WL, Bytebier B. 2006 Comparative vegetative anatomy and systematics of the angraecoids (Vandeae, Orchidaceae) with an emphasis on the leafless habit. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 151. 165-218.
Gasson P, Cribb PJ. 1986 the leaf anatomy of Ossiculum aurantiacum Cribb & van der Laan (Orchidaceae: Vandoideae). Kew Bull. 41. 827-32.