Skip to main content
This species is accepted, and its native range is S. Malawi.
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


Orchidaceae, I. la Croix & P.J. Cribb. Flora Zambesiaca 11:2. 1998

Morphology General Habit
Dwarf epiphytic herb, forming dense clumps, flowering when leafless or when the new leaves are just starting to develop.
Vegetative Multiplication Pseudobulbs
Pseudobulbs 10–15 × 9–10 mm, ovoid or globose, slightly bilaterally flattened, 2–6-leaved.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves, 3–7 × 1–1.5 cm, lanceolate or ligulate, somewhat conduplicate, dark glossy green sometimes edged with purple, minutely 2-lobed at the apex.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence (floral axis) 2–10 cm tall, densely 2–12-flowered.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers pink tinged with green, the lip deep purple-pink, or flowers yellow-green with a white lip and purple-veined side lobes, drying brown.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Pedicel and Ovary
Pedicel and ovary 5–6 mm long, stout, pubescent.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Bracts c. 5 × 6 mm, ovate, acuminate.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals fleshy, densely hairy on the outside; dorsal sepal 10–13 × 4–6.4 mm, ovate, acute; lateral sepals 9.5–14 × 6.4–8.5 mm, obliquely ovate, acute, keeled on the outside; mentum rounded, 5.3–6 mm tall.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 7.3–10.2 × 2.5 mm, oblanceolate.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Labellum
Lip hairy on the underside near the base, fleshy, much recurved and hard to flatten, 3-lobed at about the middle, with a small central callus; callus and disk with numerous slightly clavate hairs. Mid-lobe 3.7–5 × 3–4 mm, lanceolate or ovate, acute or acuminate, glabrous, very rugose; side lobes erect, ear-like.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Column
Column short and stout, c. 1.5 mm long.

Native to:


Polystachya johnstonii Rolfe appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Oct 25, 2012 Patel, H. et al. [7356], Mozambique K000718697
Aug 15, 1983 La Croix [359], Malawi K000049487
Mar 23, 1982 Morris, B. [302], Malawi K000049492
Morris, B. [BM59], Malawi 23879.000
Morris, B. [BM52], Malawi 23918.000
Morris, B. [BM59], Malawi 23932.000
Morris, B. [B.M.81], Malawi 25476.000
Morris, B. [BM73], Malawi 26327.000
Morris, B. [52], Malawi 28214.000
Morris, B. [59], Malawi 28221.000
Malawi 3055.000
Rix, M., Malawi 41038.000
Owen, D., Malawi 42635.000
Johnston-Stewart, N. [33], Malawi 42967.000
la Croix, I. [31], Malawi 42984.000
Morris, B. [72 B/1], Malawi 44043.000
Morris, B. [59], Malawi 44045.000
la Croix, I., Malawi 46705.000
Pettersson, B. [291], Malawi 48784.000
la Croix, I., Malawi 50976.000
la Croix, I., Malawi 50992.000
Morris, Brian [81], Malawi K000049497
Morris, Brian [BM59], Malawi K000049490
La Croix, I.F. [718], Malawi K000049489
Clements, J.B. [90], Malawi K000049485
McClounie, J. [11], Malawi K000049495 Unknown type material
Johnston-Stewart, N.G.B. [167], Malawi K000049488
Clements, J.B. [96a], Malawi K000049486
Chapman, J.D. [8244], Malawi K000049491
McClounie [34], Malawi K000049494
Morris, B. [73], Malawi K000049484
Morris, Brian [s.n.], Malawi K000049496
Owen [53], Malawi K000049493

First published in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 7: 124 (1897)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Monocotyledons Database in ACCESS: 1-71827. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Mytnik-Ejsmont, J. (2011). A monograph of the subtribe Polystachyinae Schltr. (Orchidaceae): 1-400. Fundacja Rozwoju Uniwersytetu Gdanskiego.

Flora Zambesiaca
Flora Zambesiaca

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.