Polystachya cultriformis (Thouars) Spreng.

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Polystachya cultriformis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Castle Beacon, Vumba

Polystachya cultriformis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Castle Beacon, Vumba

Polystachya cultriformis

Photo: Bart Wursten
John Meikle Forestry Estate, Stapleford

Polystachya cultriformis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Castle Beacon, Vumba

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

Synonyms: Polystachya gerrardii Harv.
Common names:
Frequency: Frequent
Status: Native
Epiphyte or lithophyte. The fairly long and narrowly conical pseudobulbs are nearly covered by membranous sheaths. Each pseudobulb has only one apical leaf, elliptic or slightly ovate with undulate margins. The inflorescence is usually arching or pendulous and may be branched, with up to flowers. Flowers mostly white, occasionally tinged with pink. Lip with a yellowish callus.
Notes: Some plants with yellow flowers were formerly described as P. gerrardii but are now regarded as merely a colour form. These are discussed in a separate page.
Derivation of specific name: cultriformis: shaped like a knife-blade
Habitat: In deep shade in (sub)montane evergreen forest.
Altitude range: (metres) 1000 - 2000 m
Flowering time:Nov - Jan
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in Tropical Africa and South Africa. Also in Madagascar, Comoros, Mascarene Islands, and Seychelles.
Zimbabwe distribution: E
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Sunday 29 July 2007

Ball, J.S. (1978). Southern African Epiphytic Orchids. Conservation Press, Johannesburg. Pages 156 - 157. (Includes a picture).

Cribb, P.J. (1984). Orchidaceae (Part 2) Flora of Tropical East Africa Pages 341 - 342.

Kimberley, M.J. (2003). A List of Epiphytic Orchids of Zimbabwe Excelsa 20 Page 50.

La Croix, I. & Cribb, P.J. (1998). Orchidaceae (Part 2) Flora Zambesiaca 11(2) Pages 356 - 358.

La Croix, I. et al. (1983). Malawi Orchids Volume 1 Epiphytic Orchids National Fauna Preservation Society of Malawi Pages 105 - 106. (Includes a picture).

La Croix, I. et al. (1991). Orchids of Malawi A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam Pages 209 - 210. (Includes a picture).

Linder, H.P. & Kurzweil, H. (1999). Orchids of Southern Africa A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, the Netherlands ISBN 90-5410-445-7 Pages 408 - 409. (Includes a picture).

McMurtry, D., Grobler,L., Grobler, J. & Burns, S. (2008). Field Guide to the ORCHIDS of Northern South Africa and Swaziland Umdaus Press, PO Box 11059 Hatfield 0028 South Africa Pages 394 - 395. (Includes a picture).

Mytnik-Ejsmont, J. (2011). A Monograph of the Subtribe Polystachyinae Schltr. (Orchidaceae) University of Gdansk, Poland, ISBN 978 83 7531 174 4 Pages 285 - 290. (Includes a picture).

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1976). A Provisional Checklist of the Orchidaceae of Mozambique South African Journal of Botany 42(4) Page 391.

Stewart, J. & Campbell, B. (1996). Orchids of Kenya Timber Press Inc, Portland Oregon, USA ISBN0-88192-357-5 Pages 64 - 65. (Includes a picture).

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 139.

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 84.

Other sources of information about Polystachya cultriformis:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Polystachya cultriformis
Flora of Mozambique: Polystachya cultriformis

External websites:

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

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: Polystachya cultriformis.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=118310, retrieved 27 June 2019

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