African Plant Database

Vanilla planifolia Andrews
Information on the genus : Vanilla
Status for TA : accepted (cultivated)
Synonym(s) Heterotypic
=Vanilla fragrans Ames
=Epidendrum rubrum Lam.
Ecology and distribution
Trop. Afr.
Biology : Climbing terrestrial plant; stems elongated (to 10-30 m), 1-2 cm Ø, profusely branching, flexuous, brittle, with long whitish roots produced singly opposite each leaf; leaves subsessile, fleshy, oblong-elliptic, acute, 5-25x4-8 cm, glossy-green, petiole short, thick; inflorescences axillary, to 7,5 cm long, 10-20-flowered, bloomed singly but in succession, flowers opening from base upwards; flowers pale greenish-yellow, fleshy, short-lived, c. 100 mm Ø, fragrant; bracts c. 5 mm long; sepals oblong-lanceolate, 30-40-70 mm long, petals similar; lip tubular, 3-lobed, 30-50 mm long, 22 mm wide, with verrucose veins on midlobe, callus penicillate; fruit pendulous, narrowly cylindrical (“bean”), 15-24 cm long, very dark.
Ecology : V. planifolia is/has been cultivated in E. Africa, Zaire, Gulf of Guinea Islands, and plants are often found in a more or less naturalised state. – V. bampsiana was collected in Zaire, Forestier Central, Bikoro (0°45’Sx18°07’E), in dry forest (specim. Lebrun 1459).
  The genetic variation of V. planifolia was studied by Schlüter & al. (Econ. Bot. 61: 328-336, 2007): They distinguished 3 geographical groups, and conclude that “cultivar names…do not appear to reflect genetically defined groups”.
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Record n°44029
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