Polystachya cultriformis (Thouars) Lindl. ex Spreng. 1826 SECTION Cultriformis [Thouars] Sprengel

Photo by Patricia Harding

Flower Closeup Photo by Olaf Pronk

Plant Photo by Jay Pfahl


Common Name The Knife-Shaped Leaf Polystachya

Flower Size 3/8 to 1/2" [1.3 to 1.5 cm]

Found in Ivory Coast, Burundi, Cameroon, Gabon, Gulf of Guinea Islands, Rwanda, Zaire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Natal and Transvaal states of South Africa as well as Madagascar, the Comoros, Mauritius, Reunion and the Seychelles at elevations of sealevel to 2900 meters as a small sized, hot to cool growing epiphyte or occasional lithophyte, on trunks of trees in lower, sub, and montane rainforests, riverine forests and rarely as a lithophyte in leaf mold below trees with conical or cylindrical, clustered pseudobulbs carrying a single, apical, erect or suberect, coriaceous, oblong, oblanceolate or elliptic, auricualate basally leaf , that blooms on a terminal, arching 3 to 15" [7.5 to 37.5 cm] long, branched, many [5 to 18] flowered inflorescence with the fragrant lily of the valley to lime scented flowers held at mid leaf height, occuring in the late spring and summer in nature.

Synonyms *Dendrobium cultriforme Thouars 1822; Dendrorchis appendiculata (Kraenzl.) Kuntze 1903; Polystachya appendiculata Kraenzl 1903; Polystachya cultrata Lindl. 1824; Polystachya coelogynochila Kraenzl. 1926; Polystachya cultriformis var. africana Schltr. 1924; Polystachya cultriformis var. alba Cordem. 1895; Polystachya cultriformis var. autogama Schltr. 1924; Polystachya cultriformis var. erubescens Cordem. 1895; Polystachya cultriformis var. humblotii Rchb.f. 1885; Polystachya cultriformis var. nana S.Moore 1877; Polystachya cultriformis var. occidentalis Kraenzl. 1926; Polystachya gerrardii Harv. 1863; Polystachya kirkii Rolfe 1895; Polystachya lujae De Wild. 1904

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Historie Particulier des Plantes Orchidees Recueilles Sur Trois Iles Australes d'Afrique Thouars 1822 as Dendrobium cultriforme drawing fide; Bonplandia Rchb.f 1856 as P cultrata; Flora of Madagascar Perrier 1939; AOS Bulletin Vol 37 No 10 1968 photo good; Orchids of East Africa Piers 1968; The Orchids of South Central Africa Williamson 1977 drawing ok; Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe & Hall 1982 photo fide; Malawi Orchids vol 1 La Croix 1983 drawing good; Flora of Tropical East Africa Orchidaceae Part 2 Cribb 1984 as P coelogynochila; Flora of Tropical East Africa Orchidaceae Part 2 Cribb 1984; Orchids of Malawi La Croix 1983; Die Orchideen Band 1B lieferung 23 1393 - 1456 Brieger 1990 drawing fide/photo good; Orchids Travel By Air A Pictoral Safari Mulder, Mulder-Roelfsema and Schuiteman 1990 photo fide; The Manual Of Cultivated Orchid Species Bechtel, Cribb & Launert 1992 photo fide; Orchid Digest Vol 58 No 2 1994; Orchids of Kenya Stewart 1996 photo hmm; African Orchid in Cultivation and the Wild La Croix 1997 photo good; Flora Zambesiaca Vol 11 Orchidaceae Part 2 Pope 1998; Orchids of Southern Africa Linder & Kurzweil 1999 photo fide; Field Guide to the Ethiopian Orchids Demissew, Cribb & Rasmussen 2004 photo fide; Orchid Digest vol 71 #3 2007photo fide; Field Guide to the Orchids of Northern South Africa and Swaziland McMurty, Grobler, Grobler & Burns 2008 photos fide; Field Guide to the Orchids of Madagascar Cribb & Herman 2009 photo fide; Orchidaceae of West Central Africa Vol 2 Szlachetko etal 2015 drawing fide; Orchid Digest Vol 80 #2 2016