African Plant Database

Polystachya dendrobiiflora Rchb. f.
Protologue : Otia botanica Hamburgensia, 2: 46. (1881)
Information on the genus : Polystachya
Status for TA : accepted (present)
Synonym(s) Heterotypic
=Polystachya tayloriana Rendle (1895)
=Eulophia tayloriana (Rendle) Rolfe (1897)
=Polystachya busseana Kraenzl. (1902)
=Polystachya flexuosa (Rolfe) Schltr.
=Eulophia flexuosa (Rolfe) Kraenzl. (1894)
=Cyrtopera flexuosa Rolfe (1894)
=Polystachya holochila Schltr. (1903)
=Polystachya kaessneriana Kraenzl.
=Polystachya macropetala Kraenzl. (1905)
=Polystachya miranda Kraenzl. (1901)
=Eulophia vandervekeniana Geerinck
Ecology and distribution
Trop. Afr.
Biology : Epiphytic, lithophytic or terrestrial herb 9-40-90-100 cm tall, glabrous; stems clustered, pseudobulbous at base, from a thick rhizome, pseudobulbs conical, 1-5 cm long, often forming ascending chains; leaves 5-10, cauline, distichous, linear, grass-like, folded, 8-26x0,3-1,4 cm, deciduous in dry season; inflorescence (“borne on old pseudobulbs when plants are leafless”, Fl. Zambes. 11/2: 362, 1998) erect, paniculate, 15-88 cm long, usually developing after the leaves have fallen, covered with straw-coloured sheaths, to 20-flowered, producing flowers over a long season on slender stalks in small groups along main axis; flowers resupinate (resembling a small Dendrobium flower), white to pink, spotted violet, showy; bracts ovate, 1 mm long; pedicel and ovary c. 12 mm long; sepals ovate-oblong, c. 6-12x3-5 mm, laterals forming a mentum (spur) 4-5 mm high; petals similar to sepals; lip shortly clawed, entire, recurved, ovate-oblong, 7-11x4-6 mm, margins ± crisped, with a pubescent callus towards base; capsule narrowly cylindrical, 22-50 mm long.
Ecology : Often on stems of Xerophyta, “which are curious shrubs with fibrous stems…An epiphyte’s roots do not just cling to the outside, but penetrate the stem, sometimes even entering the soil” (I. & E. la Croix, 1997: 282; cf. also G. Williamson in Cactus & Co. 13/1: 42, 2009); on quartzitic rocks, often exposed in full sun; terrestrial in scrub and Brachystegia woodland; rock outcrops; dry meadows, with Eragrostis olivacea, Protea, Pteridium; hillsides; mountain slopes; roadsides; copper step savannas; 400-2165 m alt.
  “To grow and flower this species successfully, a dry winter rest is critical” (Globler 2007: 130). Survives periodical fires. Experiments with seed germination are reported by Ochora & al. in Syst. Geogr. Pl. 71: 587, 2002 (in Kenya). Note: Cribb in Kew Bull. 32: 765, 1978, remarks that “The confusion over the application of the name P. dendrobiiflora was compounded by the fact that Reichenbach (1881) compared the flowers to those of Dendrobium barbatulum.” However, Kraenzlin, who picked up this point, described in detail the plant in question, which is P. longiscapa.

Bibliography for Tropical Africa :
  • Exell, A. & Wild, H. (1998). Flora Zambesiaca: Mozambique, Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Bechuanaland Protectorate. London Kew 11[2]: 362
More info on :
see under Jstor_African Plant Initiative
see under Flore d'Afrique Centrale
see under Flora of Mozambique
see under Orchidées d'Afrique Centrale
see under African Plants - a Photo Guide
see under Flora of Zimbabwe
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Record n°43751
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