Polystachya subumbellata P.J. Cribb & Podzorski

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Polystachya subumbellata

Photo: Petra Ballings
Ndundu Lodge Fern Garden, Vumba

Polystachya subumbellata

Photo: Petra Ballings
Ndundu Lodge Fern Garden, Vumba

Polystachya subumbellata

Photo: Bart Wursten
John Meikle Forestry Estate, Stapleford

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Synonyms: Polystachya megalogenys Summerh.
Common names:
Frequency: Local
Status: Native
Slender epiphyte with clustered stems long and slender, not swollen into pseudobulbs, growing in deep shaded montane evergreen forest. Leaf single, linear, 12-15 cm long. Inflorescence 3-5 flowered, appearing umbellate. Flowers white to pale creamy-pink or yellow.
Notes: - The flowers often do not open at all or only at night which is an indication it seems to be mostly self-pollinating.
- Although said to occur mostly c. 1200m (La Croix & Cribb, 1998), it is found at much higher altitudes in Vumba and on Mt Gorongosa in Mozambique
Derivation of specific name: subumbellata: almost in an umbel; referring to the short, few-flowered inflorescence
Habitat: In deep shaded montane evergreen forest.
Altitude range: (metres) 1200 - 1700 m
Flowering time:Mar (-Jun)
Worldwide distribution: Restricted to the border mountains of Zimbabwe and Mozambique, including Mt Gorongosa.
Zimbabwe distribution: E
Growth form(s):
Endemic status: Near Endemic
Red data list status: Vulnerable
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Ball, J.S. (1978). Southern African Epiphytic Orchids. Conservation Press, Johannesburg. Pages 162 - 163. as Polystachya megalogenys (Includes a picture).

Cribb, P.J. & Podzorski, A. (1978). New species in Polystachya (Orchidaceae) from Africa Kew Bulletin 32(4) Pages 700 - 701. Protologue (Includes a picture).

Darbyshire, I., Timberlake, J., Osborne, J., Rokni, S., Matimele, H., Langa. C., Datizua, C., de Sousa, C., Alves, T., Massingue, A., Hadj-Hammou, J., Dhanda, S., Shah, T., Wursten, B. (2019). The endemic plants of Mozambique: diversity and conservation status Phytotaxa 136 Page 78.

Golding, J.S. (ed.) (2002). Zimbabwe Plant Red Data List. Southern African Plant Red Data Lists. SABONET 14 Page 167.

Grosvenor, R.K. (1976). A list of orchids indigenous in Rhodesia. Excelsa 6 Page 85. as Polystachya megalogenys

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 360 - 361. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. (2002). Endemic Plant Species of Zimbabwe. Kirkia 18(1) Page 130.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 97.

Mytnik-Ejsmont, J. (2011). A Monograph of the Subtribe Polystachyinae Schltr. (Orchidaceae) University of Gdansk, Poland, ISBN 978 83 7531 174 4 Page 326. (Includes a picture).

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

Other sources of information about Polystachya subumbellata:

Our websites:

Flora of Mozambique: Polystachya subumbellata

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Polystachya subumbellata
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Polystachya subumbellata
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Polystachya subumbellata
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Polystachya subumbellata
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Polystachya subumbellata
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Polystachya subumbellata
JSTOR Plant Science: Polystachya subumbellata
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Polystachya subumbellata
Plants of the World Online: Polystachya subumbellata
Tropicos: Polystachya subumbellata
Wikipedia: Polystachya subumbellata

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Polystachya subumbellata.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=118450, retrieved 7 December 2023

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