Polystachya albescens Ridl. 1887 SECTION Caulescentes Kranzlin

Inflorescence

Plant and Flowers Photos by Vincent Droissart and His West African Orchid Website

Part Shade WarmCoolWinter

Common Name The Whitish Polystachya

Flower Size 3/4" [2.1 cm]

Found in Nigeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Gulf of Guinea Islands, Rwanda, Zaire, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Transvaal South Africa in riverine forests and high rainfall woodlands at elevations of 800 to 1850 meters as a miniature to small sized, warm to cool growing epiphyte with clustered, cylindrical, green to yellow-green stems enveloped in youth by brown tubular sheaths and carrying 2 to 5, linear to strap-shaped leaves that blooms in the winter on an erect to recurved in apical half, 2 to 8" [5 to 20 cm] long, successively few, densely many flowered, racemose to paniculate inflorescence enveloped by papery sheaths and carrying non-resupinate flowers.

The typical variety is found at higher elevations [530 to 2500 meters] grows to 16" [40 cm] tall, has long, narrow leaves, slender branches on the inflorescence and an obscurely 3 lobed lip that is longer than wide and has a callus on the basal third.

Synonyms Polystachya albescens subsp. angustifolia (Summerh.) Summerh. 1958; Polystachya albescens subsp. imbricata (Rolfe) Summerh. 1958; Polystachya albescens subsp. kraenzlinii (Rolfe) Summerh. 1958; Polystachya albescens subsp. manengouba W.Sanford 2001; Polystachya albescens subsp. musozensis (Rendle) Summerh. 1958; Polystachya albescens subsp. polyphylla (Summerh.) Stévart 2004; Polystachya albescens subsp. principensis Stévart 2000; Polystachya imbricata Rolfe 1893; Polystachya imbricata subsp. kraenzlinii (Rolfe) Summerh. 1956; Polystachya imbricata subsp. musozensis (Rendle) Summerh. 1956; Polystachya kraenzlinii Rolfe 1897; Polystachya musozensis Rendle 1905; Polystachya oligophylla Schltr. 1915

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Orchids of East Africa Piers 1968; Orchids of East Africa Piers 1968 as P albescens subsp kraenzlinii; Orchids of East Africa Piers 1968 as P albescens subsp musozensis; Malawi Orchids Vol 1 La Croix 1983; Flora of Tropical East Africa Orchidaceae Part 2 Cribb 1984; Flora Zambesiaca Vol 11 Part 2 Pope 1998; Orchids of Kenya Stewart 1996 as Polystachya albescens subsp. kraenzlinii photo ok ; African Orchids in the Wild and Cultivation La Croix 1997; Orchidaceae of West Central Africa Vol 2 Szlachetko etal 2015 drawing fide;

Polystachya albescens subsp. imbricata (Rolfe) Summerh. 1958 Vincent Droissart and His West African Orchid Website

This subspecies is a medium sized plant with clustered, reed-like stems carrying 2 to 5 linear-ligulate leaves and a much branched, imbricate bracted peduncle, to 8" [20 cm] long, several flowered inflorescence carrying greenish yellow tinged with purple especially on the lip and are glabrous to rarely sparsely pubescent.

Synonyms *Polystachya imbricata Rolfe 1893; Polystachya oligophylla Schltr. 1915

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; The Orchids of South Central Africa Williamson 1977 drawing/photo ok; Flora of Tropical East Africa Orchidaceae Part 2 Cribb 1984 photo good; African Orchids inn the wild and in cultivation La Croix 1997; Flora Zambesiaca Vol 11 Part 2 Pope 1998; Field Guide to the Orchids of Northern South Africa and Swaziland McMurty, Grobler, Grobler & Burns 2008 photo fide; Orchidaceae of West Central Africa Vol 2 Szlachetko etal 2015 drawing fide;

Polystachya albescens subspecies polyphylla Vincent Droissart and His West African Orchid Website

This subspecies occurs at 700 to 1000 metersand is a larger [14 to 34", 36 to 70 cm] and terrestrial plant growing among rocks with very leafy stems. The rachis is markedly zigzag and the lobes of the lip are acute.

Synonyms *Polystachya polyphylla Summerh. 1956

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Orchidaceae of West Central Africa Vol 2 Szlachetko etal 2015 drawing fide;

Polystachya albescens subsp. principensis Stévart 2000 T Stevart and West African Orchid Website

Plant found at elevations of sea level to 680 meters, to 2 feet [60 cm] tall, 5 to 10, distantly arranged, oblong elliptic, sessile leaves, inflorescence to 1.2" [3 cm] long, 2 to 3 branched many flowered inflorescence with flowers carrying an obscurely 3 lobed lip, rhombic in outline as long as wide, sessile with callus at the base.

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Orchidaceae of West Central Africa Vol 2 Szlachetko etal 2015 drawing fide;

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