AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Schizochilus Sond. in Linnaea 19: 78 (1846).
Description:
Terrestrial herb with perennating tubers. Tubers 1–5 cm long, testicular. Stems slender, mostly flexuose, 5–80 cm tall. Basal sheath(s) hyaline or white, less than 5 cm long, obtuse or acute. Leaves 5–30, linear, rarely elliptic, narrowly oblanceolate or ovate; lower leaves with free blades up to 15 cm long, acute, midrib prominent below; upper leaves lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate, acuminate, erect, grading into the floral bracts. Inflorescence mostly nodding, lax to dense; bracts narrowly ovate to narrowly lanceolate, usually acuminate, green, about as long as the ovary. Flowers white, white and yellow, yellow or white with a mauve tint, 1.5–10 mm in diameter.Sepals subequal, usually 3-nerved; lateral sepals suboblique, to 14 mm long, lanceolate to ovate, acute; dorsal sepal usually shorter than the lateral sepals, narrowly to broadly elliptic, or elliptic-oblong to rotund, often apiculate, shallowly galeate.Petals one third to two thirds as long as the sepals, single-veined, oblique, ± rhomboid and acute. Lip about as long as the sepals, epichile ± 3-lobed with the central lobe longer than the lateral lobes, hypochile concave, leading into the spur, frequently with calli between hypochile and epichile; spur terete to bifid, slender to clavate, almost always shorter than the lip, generally straight.
Rostellum 3-lobed, the central lobe a fold between the anther cells, the lateral lobes square, carrying the naked viscidia. Anther erect or at an angle of 45°, 0.5–1.5 mm long. Stigma flat, single, borne on the column below the rostellum, above the entrance to the spur. Ovary 4–14 mm long, flowers not resupinate.
Type species: Schizochilus zeyheri Sond.
Distribution:
SW. Tanzania to S. Africa
Notes:
The affinities of the genus are not clear. Its basitonic anther, lip shape, single concave stigma and lack of bursicles on the viscidia are affinities to the European genera Gymnadenia and Platanthera (Schlechter 1895). The slight basal fusion of the petals to the gynostemium may indicate a relationship with Brachycorythis, but may also be the result of a convergent evolution (Kurzweil & Weber 1991). Short petals and a nodding inflorescence are affinities to the genus Dracomonticola. The phylogenetic relationships among the specieshave not yet been determined.
Cultivation:
Not in cultivation
Species:

Schizochilus angustifolius Rolfe S. Africa (S. Drakensberg).
Schizochilus bulbinella (Rchb.f.) Bolus S. Africa (S. Drakensberg).
Schizochilus calcaratus P.J.Cribb & la Croix Zimbabwe (Chimanimani Mts.).
Schizochilus cecilii Rolfe Zimbabwe to Swaziland.
Schizochilus crenulatus H.P.Linder Mpumalanga.
Schizochilus flexuosus Harv. ex Rolfe S. Africa.
Schizochilus gerrardii (Rchb.f.) Bolus N. KwaZulu-Natal.
Schizochilus lepidus Summerh. E. Zimbabwe to W. Mozambique.
Schizochilus lilacinus Schelpe ex H.P.Linder Mpumalanga.
Schizochilus sulphureus Schltr. SW. Tanzania to S. Trop. Africa.
Schizochilus zeyheri Sond. S. Africa.

World Checklist of Monocotyledons. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.kew.org/wcsp/monocots/ accessed 06/01/2015
Bibliography and References:
Kidson S, Fletcher E. 1986 Our heritage: South African orchid species. no.10. Schizochilus tilacinus. S. Afr. Orchid J., 17. (2): 54-56 (1986)
Kurzweil H, Weber A. 1991 Floral morphology of southern African Orchideae. I. Orchidinae. Nordic J. Bot. 11. 155-78.
La Croix IF, Cribb PJ. 1993 New taxa in Habenaria, Satyrium and Schizochilus (Orchidaceae) from the Flora Zambesiaca area. Kew Bull. 48. (2): 357-367 (1993)
Linder HP, Kurzweil H. 1994 The phylogeny and classification of the diseae (Orchidoideae: Orchidaceae). Ann. missouri Bot. Gard. 81. 687-713.