Brachycorythis Lindley, Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl. 363. 1838.
Schwartzkopffia Kraenzl., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 28: 177 (1900).
Phyllomphax Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 4: 118 (1919).
Diplacorchis Schltr., Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 38(2): 127 (1921).
Gyaladenia Schltr., Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 38(2): 124 (1921).
Afrorchis Szlach., Richardiana 6: 82 (2006).
Sepals free, connivent or the lateral ultimately spreading; lateral oblique, often broader than the dorsal, sometimes falcate and ascending. Petals usually oblique and similar to the dorsal sepal or narrower incurved over the column. Lip continuous with the base of the column, free, spreading or incurved; claw broad, somewhat fleshy, concave or gibbous at the base, but not spurred; limb dilated, tridentate or trilobed. Column short and broad, anther-bed erect. Anther erect or somewhat reclinate, broad; cells parallel; apex inferior, adnate to the short side lobes of the rostellum; pollinia granular; caudicles short; glands large, contiguous; staminodes lateral, small, rounded or auriculate. Stigma pulvinate, fleshy or concave, often large; rostellum short, trilobed; middle lobe erect between the anther-cells, somewhat plicate; side lobes short, suberect. Capsule narrowly oblong. Terrestrial, usually very leafy herbs, with undivided fusiform or ovoid tubers; leaves sessile, generally numerous and imbricate, gradually decreasing upwards into the bracts; spikes or racemes usually dense and many-flowered, rarely somewhat lax; bracts ovate or ovate-lanceolate, often somewhat leafy.
Type species: Brachycorythis ovata Lindl.
Trop. & S. Africa, Madagascar, Indian Subcontinent to Taiwan
The floral structure of Brachycorythis is very similar to that of Neobolusia, suggesting a close relationship (Bolus 1893-1896; Schlechter 1926; Brieger et al. 1970ff.; Kurzweil & Weber 1991). In his revision of Brachycorythis Summerhayes (1955) postulated a shift from humid growing conditions to drier savanna habitats. He also argued that several groups of related species can be recognized although these cannot easily be separated into sections. Within the genus there is a reduction in the spur from elongate to sac-like, a reduction of the lip side lobes and a successive fusion of the petals to the gynostemium. These hypotheses have not yet been tested by phylogenetic analysis.
None of the grassland species of Brachycorythis has been maintained in cultivation for very long, but Brachycorythis kalbreyeri is a very welcome addition to many collections. Because it dies down after flowering and fruiting, great care is needed during the dormant period so that the thick woolly tubers do not rot from too much moisture or shrivel from getting too dry. As soon as the new shoot appears each year, the plants should be watered and fed with dilute fertiliser. They need a fairly open but moisture- retentive compost, similar to that used for many epiphytes. In the forests where this species grows temperatures are cool at night but warm by day.
World Checklist of Monocotyledons. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.kew.org/wcsp/monocots/ accessed1/16/2010
Bibliography and References:
Cribb PJ, Herrmann C, Demissew Sebsebe. 2002 New records of orchids from Ethiopia. Lindleyana 17. (1): 178-188 (2002)
La Croix I. 2001 African terrestrial orchids: 5. Brachycorythis and Stenoglottis. Short helmets and narrow tongues. Orchid Rev. 109. (1241): 295-301 (2001)
Leroux, A. (1987) Brachycorythis kalbreyeri au Cameroun. L'Orchidophile, 75 1218.
Linder HP, Kurzweil H. 1994 The phylogeny and classification of the diseae (Orchidoideae: Orchidaceae). Ann. missouri Bot. Gard. 81. 687-713.
Summerhayes V.S. 1937. Brachycorythis basifoliata. Bull. Misc. Inf. Kew, 457.
Summerhayes, V.S. (1955) A revision of the genus Brachycorythis. Kew Bulletin, 10(2), 221-264.
Szlachetko DL, Kras M, Mytnik J. 2006 Materiaux pour la revision taxinomique du complexe Bachycorythis (Orchidaceae, Orchidoideae). Richardiana 6. (2): 72-90.