Eulophia ovalis subsp. ovalis is a perennial herb that grows an annual flower stem to a height of 65 cm. The subterranean rhizome that constitutes the perennial part of the plant is described as moniliform, which means resembling a string of beads, formed by alternating constrictions and swellings of the main root.
The leaves of the plant are narrow, stiffly erect and channelled, tapering towards their tips. In this plant the leaves are fully developed at anthesis, i.e. bloomtime, which happens from mid-spring to mid-autumn. Leaf dimensions are 60 cm by 3 cm.
The bract below the open flower in picture, tapering to an acute tip and longitudinally lined, is already dried out, as are some stem leaves clasping it below. Higher up, green bracts can be seen among the unopened buds, one below each bud.
This plant was encountered near Qacha’s Nek during January.
Quite a bit has been written about the nature and naming of the species, including as to whether it should be considered as a subspecies or a variation. More is sure to follow, for plants evolve, as do human interest and knowledge (Manning, 2009; Pooley, 1998; iSpot).