Stenoglottis Lindl., Companion Bot. Mag. 2: 209 (1837).
Lithophytic, epiphytic or terrestrial herbs with perennial, tuberous roots, ellipsoid to elongate, cylindrical, fascicled, sometimes with a woolly velamen. Leaves annual, ca. 5–20 in a basal rosette, spreading to erect or arching, linear to lanceolate or oblanceolate, acute to acuminate or apiculate, concolourous or variously spotted with brown or maroon, glabrous, margins entire, flat to strongly undulate. Inflorescence an erect raceme, lax to dense, frequently subsecund, glabrous; cauline leaves reduced to narrowly lanceolate sheaths, unspotted or variously spotted with brown or maroon. Bracts cordate to lanceolate, acute to acuminate, shorter than or subequal to the ovaries, gradually decreasing in size along the rachis. Flowers numerous, resupinate, white, pink or lilac to mauve, often spotted with a darker shade of pink or purple. Sepals free or basally united to the column, subequal, ovate to narrowly ovate or elliptic, acute to obtuse; dorsal concave; laterals oblique to falcate, margins entire. Petals shorter than sepals, ovate, oblique, acute, folded forward to enclose the column, margins slightly lacerate. Labellum spurred or unspurred, patent, oblong to broadly obovate or cuneate in outline, often puberulous near the base, trilobed; side lobes entire or with variable additional fimbriation. Column short, ca. 2 mm; anther erect, with auricles slender to clavate, smooth or tuberculate; pollinia 2, caudicles short, viscidia round; stigmatic arms free, straight or curved; rostellum trilobed. Ovary ribbed, cylindrical; mature capsules elliptic or oblong.
History and Taxonomy:
Stenoglottis was described by Lindley in 1837 in Hooker's Companion to the Botanical Magazine vol.2:209 based on a plant he called Stenoglottis fimbriata collected by JF Drege between the Umzimvubu and Umsikaba rivers in the former Transkei. The name is derived from the Greek stems (narrow) and glotta (tongue) presumably in allusion to the narrow, tongue-like lip. The next species to be described was Stenoglottis longifolia by Hooker filius in Curtis’s Bot Mag,117:t718 in 189]. This was followed in 1897 by the description of Stenoglottis zambesiaca by Rolfe in Fl.Trop.Afr. 7:190 which was later reduced to synonymy. The last of the currently accepted taxa, Stenoglottis woodii, was described by Schlechter in Ann. Transvaal Mus. 10(4):242 in 1924. Thus for many years the genus was thought to contain only three species viz. S. fimbriata, Stenoglottis longifolia and Stenoglottis woodii until a revision by Stewart (1989) lead to the resurrection of Stenoglottis zambesiaca (previously considered a synonym of Stenoglottis fimbriata) as a species in its own right.
SW. Tanzania to S. Africa
All species have a similar life cycle and can be treated in much the same way in cultivation. They do well at intermediate temperatures and moderate, shade, with good air movement; if ventilation is poor, they develop black blotching on the leaves, or the leaves may die back completely. Plants should be potted in a free-draining terrestrial mix of bark, perlag, perlite, peat, and some loam. They die back after flowering sometimes the leaves start to turn yellow before flowering is finished- and should then be kept dry and cooler until the new growth starts to show, usually after two or three months. Remove the old leaves when they have turned brown, as they may become a focus for rot.
The best time to repot is when the new growth is just starting; repotting should be done every real or at least every other real. At this time, old dead roots can be easily pulled away. Plants are easily divided, usually one or two tubers will fall away and can be potted up separately. Once the new growth is clearly visible, careful watering can be started; the rosettes soon develop in spring and summer, and then the inflorescences start to elongate.
According to Stewart (1989), the sequence of, flowering is first, Stenoglottis woodii, followed by S. fimbriata and S. zambesiaca, with S. longifolia flowering last of all in autumn and early winter. Provided plants are kept dry while resting, species of Stenoglottis are easily grown and do well as house plants, preferably on a windowsill where they do not receive direct sunlight. The individual flowers are not large, but they are numerous, and a plant remains in flower for several weeks, if not
The genus Stenoglottis was established by John Lindley in 1837, based on a plant of or S. fimbriata from Transkei in South Africa. The name is derived from the Greek words stenos (narrow) and glossa (tongue), referring to the shape of the free part of the lip. By the end of the nineteenth century, two more species had been described, but Fritz Kranzlin, revising the genus in 1901, considered that only one species should be recognized. Another species, S. woodii, was described in 1924. V. S. Summerhayes (1968) considered two or three species to belong to the genus, but Joyce Stewart (1989) recognized four species from southern and eastern tropical Africa. A fifth species has been transferred to the genus (McDonald 1995), and a sixth species from South Africa is soon to be described. The species are all rather similar.
Key to the species of the genus Stenoglottis Lindley
POWO (2022). "Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 20 November 2022."
Bibliography and References:
Gavin McDonald, A Review of the Genus Stenoglottis Lindley
Kurzweil H, Weber A. 1992 Floral morphology of southern African Orchideae: II. Habenariinae. Nordic J. Bot. 12. 39-61.
La Croix I. 2001 African terrestrial orchids: 5. Brachycorythis and Stenoglottis. Short helmets and narrow tongues. Orchid Rev. 109. (1241): 295-301 (2001)
McDonald G. 1995 The genus Stenoglottis in South Africa. S. Afr. Orchid J. 26. (4): 115-119 (1995)
Shaw JM. 2007 Validation of names in Stenoglottis Lindl. Orchid Rev. 115. (1278 (suppl.)): 24.
Shaw MH. 2003 Registrar's notes. Orchids Austral. 15. (5): RHS14-RHS16 (2003)
Sheehan T, Sheehan M. 1985 Orchid genera illustrated: 104: Stenoglottis. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull., 54. (3): 310-311 (1985)
Stern WL. 1997 Vegetative anatomy of subtribe Habenariinae (Orchidaceae). Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 125. 211-227.
Stewart J. 1989 Stenoglottis longifolia. Kew Mag. 6. (1): 20-22 (1989)
Stewart J. 1989 Stenoglottis fimbriata. Kew Mag. 6. (1): 12-15 (1989)
Stewart J. 1989 Stenoglottis woodii. Kew Mag. 6. (1): 15-17 (1989)
Stewart J. 1989 Stenoglottis zambesiaca. Kew Mag. 6. (1): 17-20 (1989)
Stewart J. 1989 The genus Stenoglottis. Kew Mag. 6. (1): 9-22 (1989)
Teuscher H. 1975 Collector's item: Stenoglottis longifolia. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 44. (2): 119-123 (1975)
Truter J. 1998 A new record of Stenoglottis (Orchidaceae) from KwaZulu-Natal. Plantlife (S. Afr.) no. 19. 20-21 (1998)