Bulbophyllum maximum (Lindl.) Rchb. f.

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Bulbophyllum maximum

Picture: Bart Wursten
Nr Mia Falls, Burma Valley, Vumba

Bulbophyllum maximum

Picture: Petra Ballings
Aberfoyle Tea Estate, Honde Valley

Bulbophyllum maximum

Picture: Bart Wursten
Nr Mia Falls, Burma Valley, Vumba

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Synonyms: Bulbophyllum nyassanum Schltr.
Bulbophyllum oxypterum (Lindl.) Rchb. f.
Bulbophyllum platyrachis (Rolfe) Schltr.
Common names:
Status: Native
Robust epiphytic herb. Pseudobulbs variable, mostly ovoid, sharply angled, set apart on a strong woody rhizome; leaves 2 per pseudobulb, up to 20 cm, oblong, thick and leathery. Inflorescence up to 90 cm, many-flowered on the thickened part of the rhachis. Flowers greenish-yellow, heavily spotted with purple.
Type location:
Notes: The shape and size of the rhachis is very variable and different forms have in the past been treated as separate species. The form with the distinctly flattened, yellow rhachis was known as B. platyrhachis. As both plant and flowers are extremely similar only one variable species is now recognised.
Derivation of specific name: maximum: largest
Habitat: In woodland and riverine forest, mainly in warm humid areas
Altitude range: 600 - 1600 m
Flowering time:Oct - Dec
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in Tropical Africa.
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): W,C
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Nw,Lk
Growth form(s): Epiphyte.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Ball, J.S. (1978). Southern African Epiphytic Orchids. Conservation Press, Johannesburg. Pages 82 - 83. as Bulbophyllum oxypterum (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 317. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 11.

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 128.

Goodier, R. & Phipps, J.B. (1961). A revised checklist of the vascular plants of the Chimanimani Mountains Kirkia 1 Page 54. as Bulbophyllum oxypterum

Grosvenor, R.K. (1976). A list of orchids indigenous in Rhodesia. Excelsa 6 Page 79. as Bulbophyllum oxypterum

Kimberley, M.J. (2003). A List of Epiphytic Orchids of Zimbabwe Excelsa 20 Page 50.

La Croix, I. & Cribb, P.J. (1995). Orchidaceae (Part 1) Flora Zambesiaca 11(1) Page 300.

La Croix, I. et al. (1983). Malawi Orchids Volume 1 Epiphytic Orchids National Fauna Preservation Society of Malawi Pages 52 - 55. also as Bulbophyllum platyrachis (Includes a picture).

La Croix, I. et al. (1991). Orchids of Malawi A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam Pages 202 - 205. (Includes a picture).

La Croix, I.F. & La Croix T.M. (1983). Orchids of Bvumbwe The Society of Malawi Journal 36(2) Page 16. As Bulbophyllum platyrhachis

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 94.

Moriarty, A. (1975). Wild Flowers of Malawi Purnell & sons Cape Town. Pages 55 - 56. as Bulbophyllum oxypterum (Includes a picture).

Morris, B. (1965). Epiphytic orchids of the Limbuli Stream, Mlanje The Society of Malawi Journal 18(2) Page 63. As Bulbophyllum platyrhachis

Morris, B. (1967). The epiphytic orchids of Soche Mountain. Historic and Scientific Society of Malawi Journal 20(2) Page 31. As Bulbophyllum oxyptrerum

Morris, B. (1970). Epiphytic Orchids of Malawi The Society of Malawi Pages 38 - 43. as Bulbophyllum oxypterum (Includes a picture).

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 118.

Stewart, J. & Campbell, B. (1996). Orchids of Kenya Timber Press Inc, Portland Oregon, USA ISBN0-88192-357-5 Pages 31 - 32. (Includes a picture).

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 132.

Summerhayes, V.S. (1957). African orchids XXIV Kew Bulletin 12(1) Pages 120 - 121. also as Bulbophyllum oxypterum

Vermeulen, J.J. (1987). A Taxonomic Revision of the Continental African Bulbophyllinae Orchid Monographs Volume 2 E.J. Brill, Leiden-New York-Kopnhavn-Koln Pages 97 - 101. (Includes a picture).

Williamson, G. (1977). The Orchids of South Central Africa J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., London. Pages 132 - 134. as Bulbophyllum oxypterum (Includes a picture).

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 83.

Other sources of information about Bulbophyllum maximum:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Bulbophyllum maximum
Flora of Mozambique: Bulbophyllum maximum
Flora of Zimbabwe: Bulbophyllum maximum

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Bulbophyllum maximum
African Plant Database: Bulbophyllum maximum
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Bulbophyllum maximum
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Bulbophyllum maximum
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Bulbophyllum maximum
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Bulbophyllum maximum
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Bulbophyllum maximum
JSTOR Plant Science: Bulbophyllum maximum
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Bulbophyllum maximum
Plants of the World Online: Bulbophyllum maximum
Tropicos: Bulbophyllum maximum
Wikipedia: Bulbophyllum maximum

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-24

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2024). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Bulbophyllum maximum.
https://www.zambiaflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=118230, retrieved 21 June 2024

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