African Plant Database

Eulophia cucullata (Afzel. ex Sw.) Steud.
Protologue : Nomencl. Bot. [Steudel], ed. 2. 1: 605 (1840)
Information on the genus : Eulophia
Basionym : Limodorum cucullatum Afzel. ex Sw.
Status for SA : accepted (present)
Status for TA : accepted (present)
Synonym(s) Homotypic
 Eulophia cucullata (Afzel. ex Sw.) Steud. var. cucullata
 Eulophia dilecta (Rchb. f.) Schltr.
 Eulophia cucullata var. dilecta (Rchb. f.) Perez-Vera
 Limodorum cucullatum Afzel. ex Sw. (1805)
 Lissochilus dilectus Rchb. f. (1878)
Synonym(s) Heterotypic
=Lissochilus euanthus Schltr. (1915)
=Eulophia kondensis Butzin
=Eulophia arenaria (Lindl.) Bolus
=Lissochilus arenarius Lindl. (1862)
=Lissochilus amabilis Schltr. (1924)
=Eulophia monteiroi (Rolfe) Butzin
=Lissochilus monteiroi Rolfe (1897)
=Eulophia stylites (Rchb. f.) Hawkes
=Lissochilus stylites Rchb. f. (1878)
=Lissochilus kassnerianus Kraenzl. (1914)
Taxon infra-specific
Eulophia cucullata (Afzel. ex Sw.) Steud. var. cucullata
Ecology and distribution
Trop. Afr.
Biology : Terrestrial herb 40-130 cm tall “producing a flower spike followed much later by a pair of stiffy erect leaves”; with chain of subterranean irregular flattened potato-like tubers 4-5x2-3 cm; leaves linear, folded, 20-70x0,4-2 cm; peduncle with 1-2 sheaths; inflorescence spike 50-75 cm long, laxly 3-15-flowered; flowers showy, 30-50 mm Ø, pink or purplish to rich purple with yellow or white, lip yellow with white in throat, purple-spotted; bracts purplish, long acuminate, 25-35 mm long; pedicel and ovary purple, 20-25 mm long; sepals reflexed, ovate-acuminate, 14-30x3-12 mm; petals broadly ovate, rounded, 14-25x12-25 mm, lying over column; lip 1-35x22-40 mm, obscurely 3-lobed in middle; mid-lobe transversely oblong, 7-14x7-30 mm, with 2 parallel ridges in the throat; spur broadly saccate, 4-17 mm long; capsule pendent, 20-30 mm long.
Ecology : Woodland; wooded grassland; miombo; mixed deciduous woodland; forest margins; scrub; rough grassland; Combretum-Terminalia woodland; coastal grassland; dry forest; gallery forest; transitional savanna; margins of wet meadow and savanna; marshy grassland; bushland; Loudetia arundinacea grassland with scattered trees on shallow soil; on bare ground lately burnt; drier parts of marshes; fallow land; schistose slopes on river banks; damp thickets; 0-2330 m alt.
  “The only terrestrial orchid that I have recorded as having medicinal value” (Morris in Orchid. Rev. 111/1253: 275, 2003). “One of the most common and attractive African orchids, particularly in the deeper coloured forms. We have seen bunches of the flowers on sale in cities all over Africa… It is a pity that this species could not be cultivated for the cut flowers trade” (I. & E. la Croix, 1997: 220). Pollinated by bees (Peter in Orchids S. Africa 34: 88-89, 2003; Peter & Johnson in Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 171: 720, 2013). E. cucullata is one of the parents of the hybrid E. x burundiensis. Putative hybrids with E. buettneri and E. cristata are recorded from Ivory Coast by Perez-Vera (o.c.: 336, 337).
  “In spite of its wide range in distribution the species shows little variation except in size of flowers”. Albino varieties noted by Piers (l.c.) in south. Tanzania. Although the flower size is very variable, the species is easily identified because the flowers are few and showy. – The variety dilecta refers to plants with broader leaves which are developed at time of flowering.
  In vitro cultivation (propagation) of seeds made in S. Africa (McAlister & van Staden in S. Afric. J. Bot. 64: 264-266, 1988).

Bibliography for Tropical Africa :
  • Darbyshire, I. Kordofami, M. & al. (2015). The plants of Sudan and south Sudan, An annoted checklist. Kew Publishing
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see under African Plants - a Photo Guide
see under Flora of Zimbabwe
carte afrique num 175955
Record n°175955
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