1. Family: Orchidaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Vanilla Plum. ex Mill.
      1. Vanilla polylepis Summerh.

        This species is accepted, and its native range is Kenya to S. Tropical Africa.

    [FZ]

    Orchidaceae, I. la Croix and P.J. Cribb. Flora Zambesiaca 11:1. 1995

    Habit
    Climbing and trailing liane up to 8 m long; roots adventitious, arising at the nodes, aerial or clinging to substrate, rooting in soil where they touch the ground.
    Stem
    Stem succulent, channelled, bright green, 10–12 mm in diameter; internodes 12–15 mm long.
    Leaves
    Leaves up to 24 × 6.5 cm, fleshy, lanceolate, oblanceolate or ovate, acute.
    Inflorescences
    Inflorescence axillary or pseudo-terminal, up to 20-flowered, with 1–3 flowers open at a time.
    Flowers
    Flowers white or greenish-white, lip yellow towards the base, usually purple at the apex, or pure white.
    Pedicel and Ovary
    Ovary and pedicel 5.5–6 cm long.
    Perianth
    Sepals 3.6–6 × 0.5–2 cm, oblanceolate, fleshy; petals similar, but slightly broader and less fleshy with a keel on the outer surface, terminating in a projecting point c. 2 mm long.
    Labellum
    Lip 4.5–6 cm long, 2.5 cm wide, obscurely 3-lobed, funnel-shaped, adnate to column at base, undulate on the margin; disk (below apex of column) with crest of up to 12 rows of transverse, parallel, branched scales up to 2 mm long; basal 3 cm of lip with papillae.
    Column
    Column 3–4.5 cm long, the basal 2–3 cm adnate to lip.
    Fruits
    Capsule up to 15 × 1.5 cm.
    [FTEA]

    Orchidaceae, V. S. Summerhayes. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1968

    Habit
    A glabrous, leafy liane or creeper of indeterminate length with roots of various lengths arising at nodes.
    Stem
    Stems slightly fractiflex, with internodes up to 15 cm. long and 2.5 cm. diameter, succulent, terete, green with single leaf arising at each node, opposite or subtending each adventitious root.
    Leaves
    Leaves persistent, coriaceous, alternate, elliptic- lanceolate to oblong, shortly acuminate, 12–21 cm. long and 3–8 cm. broad, upper leaves smallest, rich green.
    Inflorescences
    Inflorescence axillary or pseudo-terminal, subtended by 1–2 bract-like leaves, densely many-flowered, unbranched.
    Bracts
    Bracts ovate, up to 1.5 cm. long, closely imbricating.
    Flowers
    Flowers often opening singly or up to 3 at one time, persisting for 1–3 days, pale green to greenish white with tepals flushed deeper green on outer surface and towards apex, lip much paler with rosy maroon to brownish purple longitudinal streaks towards apex and yellow towards base; albinos and partial albinos occur occasionally; pedicel and ovary up to 6 cm. long.
    Calyx
    Sepals oblanceolate, obtuse and subacute, ± clawed at base, fleshy; dorsal sepal up to 6.3 cm. long and 1.8 cm. broad; lateral sepals up to 5.9 cm. long and 1.7 cm. broad.
    Corolla
    Petals less fleshy than sepals, asymmetric, elliptic-lanceolate, up to 6.3 cm. long and 1.6 cm. broad, shallowly grooved along entire length on dorsal surface, with a pronounced keel running along centre of groove to within 7 mm. of petal apex, apical 2 mm. of keel free, usually porrect, forming a horn-like appendage.
    Labellum
    Lip up to 6 cm. long, basal part united to column for 3 cm., forming a funnel- like tube, obscurely 3-lobed, apex enveloping column and expanded into membranous rolled lobe with markedly undulate margins and bearing crest of numerous small warts and 2–3 porrect stout hairs up to 2 mm. long; disc of lip, immediately under apex of column, with crest of up to 12 rows of transverse, parallel, lamellate, dendritic branched scales up to 2 mm. long; basal 3 cm. of lip with papillae-like outgrowths.
    Column
    Column adnate to lip for 3 cm., arcuate, up to 4.5 cm. long, hairy on lower surface of basal 2.7 cm., winged towards apex.
    Fruits
    Capsule up to 15 cm. long and 1.5 cm. broad.
    Figures
    Fig. 51, p. 262.
    Habitat
    Riverside trees and rocks in shade; ± 1500 m.
    Distribution
    K4

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Angola, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Vanilla polylepis Summerh. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    34027.000
    63252.000
    Holmes, W.D. [0137], Zambia 21484.000
    Milne-Redhead, E. [2930], Zambia 18963.000 Unknown type material
    Piers, F., Kenya 18573.000
    Piers, F. [75], Kenya 18575.000
    Chase, N.C., Zimbabwe 29343.000
    Ball, J.S. [844], Zimbabwe 29822.000
    Polhill, R. [12103], Kenya 29823.000
    Fanshawe, D.B. [2545], Zambia 20599.000
    Milne-Redhead, E. [2930], Zimbabwe K000306646
    Milne-Redhead, E. [2930], Zimbabwe K000306645
    Bredo, H.J., Zambia 18569.000
    Bredo, H.J., Zambia 20596.000
    Morze, G. [126A], Zambia 28639.000
    Morze, G. [126B], Zambia 30097.000
    Cripps, H., Zimbabwe 29047.022
    Stewart, J. [934], Kenya 33224.000
    Stewart, D. [934], Kenya 45774.000

    First published in Bot. Mus. Leafl. 14: 219 (1951)

    Accepted by

    • Soto Arenas, M.A. & Cribb, P. (2010). A new infrageneric classification and synopsis of the genus Vanilla Plum. ex Mill. (Orchidaceae: Vanillinae) Lankesteriana 9: 355-398.
    • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Monocotyledons Database in ACCESS: 1-71827. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

    Literature

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    • Soto Arenas, M.A. & Cribb, P. (2010). A new infrageneric classification and synopsis of the genus Vanilla Plum. ex Mill. (Orchidaceae: Vanillinae) Lankesteriana 9: 355-398.
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • Williamson, Orch. SC. Afr.: 146, fig. 78, t. 124 (1977).
    • P.F. Hunt in Kew Bulletin 29: 425 (1974).
    • Stewart in A.D.Q. Agnew, Upland Kenya Wild Flowers p. 756 (1974).
    • Stewart & Campbell, Orch. Trop. Afr.: 114, t. 45 (1970).
    • Summerh. in Bot. Mus. Leafl. Harv. Univ. 14: 219 (1951).

    Sources

    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0