Polystachya dendrobiiflora Rchb. f.

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Polystachya dendrobiiflora

Picture: Bart Wursten
Fairhaven Rd, Nyanga

Polystachya dendrobiiflora

Picture: Bart Wursten
Fairhaven Rd, Nyanga

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Synonyms: Cyrtopera flexuosa Rolfe
Dendrobianthe dendrobiiflora (Rchb. f.) Mytnik
Eulophia flexuosa (Rolfe) Kraenzl.
Eulophia tayloriana (Rendle) Rolfe
Polystachya busseana Kraenzl.
Polystachya flexuosa (Rolfe) Schltr.
Polystachya holochila Schltr.
Polystachya kassneriana Kraenzl.
Polystachya macropetala Kraenzl.
Polystachya miranda Kraenzl.
Polystachya tayloriana Rendle
Common names:
Status: Native
Erect epiphytic, lithophytic or terrestrial herb, with clustered conical pseudobulbs 1.5–5 cm long, 5–10-leaved. Leaves distichous, linear grass-like, 8–20 cm long, deciduous and often absent at flowering time. Flowers borne on old pseudobulbs when plants are leafless; inflorescence up to 80 cm long but usually much less, with 1 to several short well-spaced branches well spaced out on the rhachis, each several-flowered. Flowers showy, opening wide, shell-pink to mauve-pink, sometimes almost white, sometimes with red or lilac spots on the lip. Dorsal sepal oblong, 5.7–12 mm long; lateral sepals obliquely oblong-lanceolate, 7–11.5 cm long. Petals oblong to obovate, 5.8–11.6 mm long. Lip ovate-oblong, entire, slightly recurved, 7–11 mm long, with a yellow, slightly pubescent, longitudinal callus in the basal third. Capsule cylindric, 4–4.5 cm long and 3–4 mm wide.
Type location:
Notes: A handsome species with relatively large flowers on a straw-like stem, normally flowering before the leaves appear. This is an unusual species within the genus, in that it often grows as a terrestrial in shallow sandy soil. It also occurs as a lithophyte on shaded boulders and occasionally as a low-level epiphyte on Xerophyta spp.
Derivation of specific name: dendrobiiflora: with flowers like a Dendrobium.
Habitat: Found on rocky outcrops and hillsides in woodland
Altitude range: 600 - 2150 m
Flowering time:Aug - Nov
Worldwide distribution: Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): N,W,C,E
Zambian distribution (Provinces):
Growth form(s): Lithophyte, terrestrial.
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 176 - 177. (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 331. (Includes a picture).

Cribb, P.J. (1978). Studies in the genus Polystachya (Orchidaceae) in Africa Kew Bulletin 32(4) Pages 764 - 765.

Cribb, P.J. (1984). Orchidaceae (Part 2) Flora of Tropical East Africa Page 386.

Fibeck, W. & Dare, M. (1993). Terrestrial Orchids in Zimbabwe. Excelsa 16 Page 69.

Grosvenor, R.K. (1976). A list of orchids indigenous in Rhodesia. Excelsa 6 Page 85. as Polystachya tayloriana

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

La Croix, I. & Cribb, P.J. (1998). Orchidaceae (Part 2) Flora Zambesiaca 11(2) Pages 362 - 363.

La Croix, I. et al. (1983). Malawi Orchids Volume 1 Epiphytic Orchids National Fauna Preservation Society of Malawi Pages 107 - 108. (Includes a picture).

La Croix, I. et al. (1991). Orchids of Malawi A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam Page 224. (Includes a picture).

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 97.

Morris, B. (1970). Epiphytic Orchids of Malawi The Society of Malawi Page 71. As Polystachya tayloriana

Mytnik-Ejsmont, J. (2011). A Monograph of the Subtribe Polystachyinae Schltr. (Orchidaceae) University of Gdansk, Poland, ISBN 978 83 7531 174 4 Pages 65 - 68. as Dendrobianthe dendrobiiflora (Includes a picture).

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 123.

Stewart, J. & Campbell, B. (1996). Orchids of Kenya Timber Press Inc, Portland Oregon, USA ISBN0-88192-357-5 Page 65. (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 139.

Summerhayes, V.S. (1953). African Orchids: XXII Kew Bulletin 8(4) Pages 578 - 579. as Polystachya tayloriana

Williamson, G. (1977). The Orchids of South Central Africa J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., London. Pages 125 - 126. (Includes a picture).

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 84.

Other sources of information about Polystachya dendrobiiflora:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Polystachya dendrobiiflora
Flora of Malawi: Polystachya dendrobiiflora
Flora of Mozambique: Polystachya dendrobiiflora
Flora of Zimbabwe: Polystachya dendrobiiflora

External websites:

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

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: Polystachya dendrobiiflora.
https://www.zambiaflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=118320, retrieved 17 April 2024

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