!Ansellia africana Lindl. 1844 Photo courtesy of Kjell Nillson

Inflorescence Photo courtesy of Linda's Orchid Page

Flower Closeup Photo courtesy of Carl Withner

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Common Name The African Ansellia - Leopard Orchid

Flower Size 2 1/2" [6.25 cm]

Found in Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gulf of Guinea Islands, Rwanda, Zaire, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namimbia, Natal, Swaziland and Transvaal South Africa along dry warm coasts and rivers to elevations of 2200 meters but usually below 700 meters but occasionally as high as 2200 meters, as a highly variable, giant sized, robust species varying in size and flower color. It is found epiphyticaly in the high canopy of taller trees. They are commonly found in areas that suffer long periods without water but in cultivation they are best kept moist while growing and only a slight drop off in water and fertilizer while not in growth. They are delicately scented and appreciate higher light to bloom which is in late spring and summer on a seemingly terminal yet axillary from nodes near the apex, to 32" [to 85 cm] long panicle that is laxly many [10 to 100] flowered and carries fragrant flowers. This plant has dense mats of erect white roots making a trash basket, much like Grammatophyllum, cane-like, fusiform-cylindrical, many noded, yellow pseudobulbs carrying 6 to 7, narrowly ligulate-lanceolate, acute, plicate leaves. The Zulu in South Africa herbalists use the pseudobulb to make a tea that is used as an emetic. In Zambia, it is reported, that they use a tea made from the leaves as a remedy for madness.

The Zulus use the roots, stems and leaves of this species and Habenaria epipactidea to make a tea that functions as an emetic.

Also Zulu lore has it that a spurned lover can wear pseudobulbs of this species to prevent the ex-lover from having children.

In northern Zimbabwe this species leaves and stems are used to make a broth that is a supposed cure for madness.

The Pedi tribe of Zimbabwe use this species to make an infusion that curtails coughing in children.

Synonyms Ansellia africana var. australis Summerh.; Ansellia africana var. nilotica Baker 1875; Ansellia africana var. nilotica Baker 1875; Ansellia confusa N.E.Brown 1886; Ansellia congoensis Rodigas 1886; Ansellia gigantea Rchb.f 1847; Ansellia gigantea subsp. nilotica (Baker) Senghas 1990; Ansellia gigantea var. nilotica (Baker) Summerh. 1937; Ansellia humilis Bulliard 1891; Ansellia nilotica [Baker]N.E.Brown 1886; Cymbidium sandersoni Harv. 1868

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Refugium Botanicum Reichenbach 1872 drawing fide; Otia Botanica Hamburgensia Rchb.f 1878; Bonplandia Rchb.f 1857; Bonplandia Rchb.f 1857 as A gigantea; Xenia Orchidaceae Rchb.f 1862; Xenia Orchidaceae Rchb.f 1862 as A gigantea; Die Orchideen Schlechter 1915; Die Orchideen Schlechter 1915 as A confusa; Die Orchideen Schlechter 1915 as A congoensis; Die Orchideen Schlechter 1915 as A gigantea; Die Orchideen Schlechter 1915 as A humilis; Die Orchideen Schlechter 1915 as A niloitica; Atlas des Orchidees Cultivees Constantin 1920 as A congoensis drawing fide; Atlas des Orchidees Cultivees Constantin 1920 as A gigantea drawing fide; Atlas des Orchidees Cultivees Constantin 1920 as A confusa drawing fide; AOS Bulletin Vol 26 No 2 1957 as A nilotica; AOS Bulletin Vol 26 No 5 1957 drawing as A gigantea; AOS Bulletin Vol 27 No 5 1958 drawing; AOS Bulletin Vol 28 No 4 1959 as A humilis; AOS Bulletin Vol 32 No 10 1963; AOS Bulletin Vol 32 No 10 1963 as A congoensis; AOS Bulletin Vol 32 No 10 1963 as A gigantea; AOS Bulletin Vol 33 No 6 1964 photo; Encyclopedia of Cultivated Orchids Hawkes 1965; Orchids of East Africa Piers 1968 photos fide; Orchids of East Africa Piers 1968 as A gigantea; Orchids of East Africa Piers 1968 as A nilotica; AOS Bulletin Vol 39 No 10 1970; The Orchids of South Central Africa Williamson 1977 as A gigantea drawing/photo fide; AOS Bulletin Vol 47 No 6 1978 as A humils; AOS Bulletin Vol 50 No 3 1981 photo; AOS Bulletin Vol 51 No 9 1982 photo as A gigantea; Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe & Hall 1982 photo fide; Wild Orchids of Southern Africa Stewart, Linder, Schelpe & Hall 1982 as A gigantea photo fide; Malawi Orchids La Croix 1983; Simon & Schuster's Guide to Orchids Fanfani & Rossi 1988; Die Orchideen lieferung 23 Schlechter/Brieger 1990 drawing/photo fide; Die Orchideen lieferung 23 Schlechter/Brieger 1990 as A gigantea; Manual of Cultivated Orchids Bechtel, Cribb, Laurent 1992; The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Orchids Pridgeon 1992; AOS Bulletin Vol 62 No 5 1993 photo; AOS Bulletin Vol 63 No 10 1994 photo; AOS Bulletin Vol 64 no 1 1995 photo; Manual of Orchids Stewart 1995; The Orchids Of Kenya Stewart 1996; AOS Bulletin Vol 66 No 11 1997 drawing; African Orchids in the Wild and Cultivation La Croix 1997; Flora Zambesiaca Vol 11 Part 2 Pope 1998; Botanica's Orchids Laurel Glen 2004; Flora's Orchids Nash and La Croix 2005; AOS Bulletin Vol 77 No 3 2008 photo; Field Guide to the Orchids of Northern South Africa and Swaziland McMurty, Grobler, Grobler & Burns 2008;

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Ansella africana var nigra Photo courtesy of Patricia Harding

Ansellia africana var. nilotica Baker 1875

Inflorescence

Another View Photo courtesy of Roger Crisp

AOS Bulletin Vol 32 No 10 1963 as A niolotica;

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