Ansellia africana used to be called A. gigantea. It is monotypic, the only species of its genus. There are several flower colour variations of this plant, some with many or few, large or small, maroon or brown markings, while yet others are just yellow, unspotted. The spotted forms have earned the plant the common name of leopard orchid.
Ansellia africana is a large perennial epiphyte that grows dense clumps on branches of trees where they are attached by masses of white aerial roots. Occasionally it grows terrestrially. The plant multiplies pseudobulbs tightly bound together above the mat of upwardly pointing aerial roots. A few alternate, lance-shaped leaves, leathery, curving and sheathed at the base, grow from the top of each pseudobulb.
The distribution of Ansellia africana is large, supporting the emergence of forms and variations in contrasting habitats. The plants grow in much of Sub-Saharan Africa in hot and humid (or dry) forest conditions where the plant features widely in ethno-medicine (http://orchids.wikia.com; www.orchidspecies.com).
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