Ansellia gigantea, var. nilotica

Botanical Name

Ansellia gigantea var. nilotica

Other names

Leopard orchid

 

Orchidaceae; epiphytic orchid, sometimes terrestrial

Dimensions

A cluster of stems reaching about 60cm or more, in South Africa usually smaller; in tropical Africa apparently considerably larger clumps are common

Description of Stem

Stems green to white, emanating from pseudo bulbs and sheathed in old leaf bases, longitudinally ridged down to air roots that cling to the host tree bark

Description of Leaves

Up to 7 long, leathery and narrow leaves per pseudo bulb, wrapped round the stem at the base and tapering to a sharpish point, margins smooth, entire

Description of flowers

A few flowers per panicle, although some records report large numbers, even up to a hundred; each with five narrow segments/tepals, greenish yellow with striking scattered, purplish to brown spots; a centered modified and 3-lobed lip segment provides the distinctive orchid characteristic;  panicle may be up to 85cm; flowering early spring to midsummer

Description of seed/fruit

 

Description of roots

Thin white roots characteristically pointing upwards

Variation

 

 

 

Propagation and Cultivation

Will attach itself to a suitable tree in favourable conditions in a garden

Tolerances

 

Uses

 

Ecological rarity

 

Pests and Diseases

 

Other

Attaching itself to a fork in a tree, not parasitic

Location

Forest, coastal and riverine areas

Distribution

 

Country

South Africa, widespread in tropical Africa, notably Nigeria, DRC, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe

Category: Orchids