The flower of Eulophia clitellifera appears a complex affair. The basic structure of three sepals, three petals (one being the lip), a column with pollinarium in the centre, ovary behind and spur below the lip is in place. This is the same form found in many eulophias and for that matter, in many orchids.
The lip with undulating margins looks like an elaborately embellished tongue. The eye-like pollinia contribute to the conjuring of a fearsome face with too many ears.
From up close the flower has many colours. There is brownish purple and green on the sepals at the back, blood red veins and yellow-green on the petals, a bulging yellow “saddle” with four longitudinal, warty ridges in the centre of the lip (and more red veins at its tip), off-white areas on the lateral lip lobes, cream on the column and brown on the spur.
The specific epithet, clitellifera (Latin), means bearing a small pack saddle, referring to the shape of the central lobe of the lip. A slow-thinking elf choosing this saddle for a bouncy ride in the spring breeze might find the ridges on its surface to be a most inappropriate and unfortunate finish.
Blooming happens from midwinter to the end of spring (Lowrey and Wright, 1987; Pooley, 1998; Germishuizen and Fabian, 1982).
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