Vanilla ramosa Rolfe 1896 SUBGENUS Xanata SECTION Tethya

Photo by G Nicholson and The Swiss Orchid Foundation at the Jany Renz Herbaria Website

Plant Photo by Aluka

Common Name The Branched Vanilla

Flower Size 2.4" [6 cm]

Found in Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Central African Republic, Zaire and Tanzania in dense scrub on coral and in plantations at elevations of 20 to 900 meters as a large sized, hot to warm growing epiphyte with a dull green, succulent, terete, channeled, 6" internoded stems carrying a single, fleshy, very widely elliptic to oblong-elliptic, shortly acuminate to obtuse, apically revolute, basally rounded, fleshy leaf and a single root per internode clinging to both rocks and trees and blooms in the spring on axillary, frequently 2 to 3 branched towards the base, to 3.2" [to 8 cm] long, densely many, succussively single flowered inflorescence with very small, triangular bracts and flowers that last 1 to 3 days.

"Vanilla ramosa is a member of the V. africana complex in which the inflorescences are usually branched, the oblong-elliptic leaves are much broader, and the midlobe of the lip is oblong-elliptic and apiculate-acuminate. In living condition the lip is rather flat, rather than conduplicate-gibbose as in V. crenulata which also has large, broad lower bracts in the simple raceme. Some authors (e.g. Geerinck, 1984) have treated V. ramosa as synonym of V. crenulata, but it differs in the conduplicate-gibbose lip of V. crenulata, in its broadly elliptic to suborbicular lower bracts of the inflorescence and in its larger lip measurements." Soto Arenas & Cribb 2010

Synonyms Vanilla africana subsp. ramosa (Rolfe) Szlach. & Olszewski 1998; Vanilla africana var. gilletii (De Wild.) Portères 1951; Vanilla africana var. laurentiana (De Wild.) Portères 1951; Vanilla beauchenei A.Chev. 1913; Vanilla laurentiana De Wild. 1904; Vanilla laurentiana var. gilletii De Wild. 1904; Vanilla schliebenii Mansf. ex Schlieben 1937

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Malawi Orchids La Croix 1983; Flora of Tropical East Africa Orchidaceae Part 2 Cribb 1984; Flora Zambesiaca Vol 11 Part 1 Pope 1995; Orchids of Kenya Stewart 1996; African Orchids in the Wild and Cultivation La Croix 1997; Lankesteriana 9(3): 355-398 Soto Arenas & Cribb 2010