Note 11: Cynorkis buchananii, a new record for Mozambique by Bart Wursten

The author describes the discovery of Cynorkis buchananii, new to Mozambique.

Image 1

Photo: Mt Namuli, Mozambique.

In April 2008, I went on a brief visit to the Gurue plateau in the Zambezia province of northern Mozambique.

It is an impressive isolated range of hills, topped by the spectacular Mt Namuli, a monolith rising to 2419m.

In the company of Alan Gardiner, the obvious focus was on the butterfly fauna in the area but there was still plenty of opportunity to look at the plantlife.

Mt Namuli has a similar latitude as Mt Mlanje in Southern Malawi and is only a fairly short distance further East so it should come as no great surprise that the flora and fauna are quite similar. Nevertheless we found a good number of species, which had not been recorded before in Mozambique.

Some of these, both butterflies and plants, were until then considered endemic to Southern Malawi.

One of these species is Cynorkis buchananii, a small terrestrial ochid, which we commonly found in shallow soil on the rocky seepage slopes below the main peak of Mt Namuli.

In both Flora Zambesiaca (la Croix 1 Cribb, 1995) and Orchids of Malawi (la Croix et al., 1991), this species was considered endemic to Southern Malawi, found only on Mt Mlanje and the Zomba Plateau. However, the online KEW World Checklist of Monocotyledons states it has also been recorded from the Uluguru Mts and, more surprisingly, from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Whatever the case may be, this species can definitely be added to the rich biodiversity of Mozambique.

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Note 11: Cynorkis buchananii, a new record for Mozambique., retrieved 15 April 2024

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