African Plant Database

Nervilia Comm. ex Gaudich.
Protologue : Voy. Bonite, Bot. 421, pl. 35 (1829)
Status for MA : accepted (present)
Status for SA : accepted (present)
Status for TA : accepted (present)
Synonym(s) Heterotypic
=Bolborchis Zoll. & Moritzi (1846)
=Pogonia Juss. (1789)
=Haplostellis Endl. (1837)
=Stellorkis Thouars (1809)
Ecology and distribution
Trop. Afr.
Biology : Terrestrial herbs with a subspherical rhizomatous tuber, long subterranean runners and branching rhizomes (Linder & Kurzweil, Orchids south. Afr.: 354, 1999). The single leaf is produced after the flowers, the latter resupinate. Sepals and petals are ± similar, the petals shorter than sepals; lip embracing column and rarely spurred at base; ovary 6-ribbed.
Ecology : Genus of c. 60-70 species distributed in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate parts of Africa, Asia, Australia and the SW Pacific Islands; reaching the Cape Verde Islands in the West (map in Pridgeon & al., Gen. orchid. 4: 519, 2005). The species “are notoriously difficult to collect as the flowers only open for a few hours…and always up to a month before the leaves appear” (Williamson in Proceed. 10th World Orchid Conference…Durban, South Africa: 87, 1982). “Thus two collections are necessary from the same locality in order to describe the complete plant. Alternatively, the plants are often collected when in leaf and then brought into flower in cultivation. Sometimes a plant is collected in flower and grown until the leaf appears. Unfortunately the tubers often perish in cultivation, so this is not easy. The leaves are easily recognisable from their attractive shape and the name of the genus refers to their distinctive and characteristic venation (from the Latin, nervus, vein)… Plants can be maintained in cultivation provided great attention is paid to the need for a dormant period after the leaf matures, and a further dry period after flowering. The leaves are more attractive subjects for cultivation than the flowers” (Stewart & Campbell, Orchids Kenya: 146, 1996).

Bibliography for Tropical Africa :
  • Énum. Pl. Fleurs Afr. Trop. 3: 146 (1995).
  • LEBRUN J.P. & A.L. STORK (2017). Orchidaceae (2) Trop. Afr. Flow. Plants (Ecol. Distr.) 10 (orch.2): 144
More info on :
see under Jstor_African Plant Initiative
see under Catalogue de Madagascar
see under Missouri Botanical Garden
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Record n°192979 modified 2008-12-27
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