Vanilla polylepis Summerh.

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Vanilla polylepis

Photo: Bart Wursten

Vanilla polylepis

Photo: Bart Wursten

Vanilla polylepis

Photo: Bart Wursten

Vanilla polylepis

Photo: Bart Wursten

Detailed records: Display species records QDS maps by: Google Maps Point records by Google Maps

Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Common names:
Frequency: Local
Status: Native
Vigorous climber, up to 9 m. It is listed as Endangered. Plants start their lives as terrestrials but soon climb along trunks and boulders, rooting at the nodes. The long succulent stems are obscurely squared. Leaves alternate along the stems, dark green, broadly elliptic, sharply pointed, thick and fleshy. Inflorescences terminal on the main stems or on short side branches, many-flowered with only 1 to 3 flowers open at a time. Flowers large and showy, greenish-white, faintly vanilla scented. Lip pale orange-yellow on the inside, deep purple at the apex.
Notes: This species has a very localised and fragmented distribution and is never common.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: In forested ravines and riverine forest.
Altitude range: (metres) 1200 - 1500 m
Flowering time:Nov
Worldwide distribution: East Africa south to Angola and Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe distribution: E
Growth form(s): Climber.
Endemic status:
Red data list status: Endangered
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Friday 10 February 2006

Kimberley, M.J. (2003). A List of Epiphytic Orchids of Zimbabwe Excelsa 20 Page 52.

La Croix, I. & Cribb, P.J. (1995). Orchidaceae (Part 1) Flora Zambesiaca 11(1) Pages 248 - 249. (Includes a picture).

La Croix, I. et al. (1983). Malawi Orchids Volume 1 Epiphytic Orchids National Fauna Preservation Society of Malawi Pages 142 - 144. (Includes a picture).

La Croix, I. et al. (1991). Orchids of Malawi A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam Page 162. (Includes a picture).

White, F., Dowsett-Lemaire, F. & Chapman, J.D. (2001). Evergreen forest flora of Malawi Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Page 105.

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 85.

Other sources of information about Vanilla polylepis:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Vanilla polylepis
Flora of Zambia: Vanilla polylepis

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Vanilla polylepis
African Plant Database: Vanilla polylepis
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Vanilla polylepis
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Vanilla polylepis
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Vanilla polylepis
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Vanilla polylepis
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Vanilla polylepis
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Vanilla polylepis
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Vanilla polylepis
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Vanilla polylepis
Ispot Southern Africa: Vanilla polylepis
JSTOR Plant Science: Vanilla polylepis
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Vanilla polylepis
Kew Monocotyledon checklist: Vanilla polylepis
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Vanilla polylepis
The Plant List (version 1.1): Vanilla polylepis
Tropicos: Vanilla polylepis

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-19

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2019). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Vanilla polylepis., retrieved 21 April 2019

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