AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Vanilla Plum. ex Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr. ed. 4 (1754)
Synonyms:
Vanillophorum Neck., Elem. Bot. 3: 134 (1790), opus utique oppr.
Myrobroma Salisb., Parad. Lond.: t. 82 (1807).
Description:
Plants climbing, to several m long. Stem slightly thick or fleshy, each node with 1 leaf and an aerial root. Leaves large, fleshy, shortly stipitate, sometimes reduced and scale-like. Raceme at leaf axil, several to many flowered. Flowers resupinate, often large, often with 1 abscission layer between ovary and perianth. Sepals similar to petals, free, spreading; labellum with lower margin often connate to column margins, sometimes connate part nearly equal to column, thus labellum often trumpet-shaped, front free parts often dilated, sometimes 3-lobed; labellum disc often with various appendages, spurless; column long, slender; anthers inserted at apex of column, tilted downward; pollinia 2 or 4, granular farinaceous or very loose, without caudicle or viscidium; rostellum often broad, below anther. Fruit legume-like, fleshy, indehiscent or not. Seeds with thick testa, often black, wingless.
Distribution:
Trop. & Subtrop.
Cultivation:
Vanilla plants are easy to maintain in a warm greenhouse. They need to be able to put out roots into a rich but well drained compost in a large container. With support from a cane or wires the stems will quickly grow up towards the light. Li there is plenty of space they will branch and form a dense growth immediately below the roof. It is only when the stems have achieved their full length that I flower-bearing side branches develop and hang down into die greenhouse. Although each flower lasts only a few days, there is usually a succession of Cattleya-like flowers. These may be followed by I a bunch of green fruits resembling french beans if the flowers are pollinated.
Species:

Vanilla acuminata Rolfe Gabon.
Vanilla africana Lindl. W. & WC. Trop. Africa.
Vanilla chalottii Finet Equatorial Guinea to Gabon.
Vanilla coursii H.Perrier Madagascar.
Vanilla crenulata Rolfe W. & WC. Trop. Africa
Vanilla cucullata Kraenzl. ex J.Braun & K.Schum. Ivory Coast to Gabon.
Vanilla decaryana H.Perrier SW. Madagascar.
Vanilla francoisii H.Perrier NE. Madagascar.
Vanilla grandifolia Lindl. Príncipe to Zaïre.
Vanilla hallei Szlach. & Olszewski Gabon.
Vanilla heterolopha Summerh. Gabon.
Vanilla humblotii Rchb.f. Comoros (Njazidja).
Vanilla imperialis Kraenzl. W. Trop. Africa to SW. Ethiopia and Angola.
Vanilla madagascariensis Rolfe N. & NW. Madagascar.
Vanilla nigerica Rendle S. Nigeria to Cameroon.
Vanilla ochyrae Szlach. & Olszewski Cameroon.
Vanilla perrieri Schltr. NW. Madagascar.
Vanilla phalaenopsis Rchb.f. ex Van Houtte Seychelles.
Vanilla polylepis Summerh. Kenya to S. Trop. Africa.
Vanilla ramosa Rolfe Ivory Coast to Tanzania.
Vanilla roscheri Rchb.f. SW. Ethiopia to NE. KwaZulu-Natal.
Vanilla seretii De Wild. WC. Trop. Africa.

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 07/01/2015
Bibliography and References:

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