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This species is accepted, and its native range is Tanzania (Nguru Mts, Uluguru Mountains).
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


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

Morphology General Habit
An epiphytic herb, 21–25 cm. high.
Vegetative Multiplication Pseudobulbs
Pseudobulbs clustered, from a short creeping rhizome, conical, 2–3.8 cm. long, 5–8 mm. broad, clothed in 3 membranous basal sheaths.
Morphology Leaves
Leaf lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, acute or subacute, cuneate below, 19–24.5 cm. long, 1.4–1.7 cm. broad, coriaceous, articulated 2.5–3 cm. above the apex of the pseudobulb.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence shorter than the leaf, simply racemose, 9.8–14 cm. long, up to 5 flowers borne in succession; peduncle stout, 7.8–12 cm. long; basal sheath membranaceous, 2 cm. long; bracts spreading, triangular-lanceolate, acuminate, 1.4–2 cm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers white, red- and yellow-spotted on lip.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Dorsal sepal lanceolate, acuminate, 12–15.8 mm. long, 4.6–4.8 mm. broad; lateral sepals obliquely triangular, subfalcate, apiculate, 10.5–16 mm. long, 7–9.5 mm. broad; mentum ovoid-conical, to 8.5 mm. high.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals obovate-lanceolate, acute, 10–13.5 mm. long, 3.5–4 mm. broad.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Labellum
Lip strongly recurved, ± clawed, distinctly 3-lobed, 10–11.5 mm. long, 9.5–12.5 mm. broad; side lobes erect, triangular or ovate- triangular, shorter than mid-lobe; mid-lobe rounded-subquadrate, apiculate, glandular- pubescent below, fleshily thickened in centre, 3.5–5 mm. long, 6–7 mm. broad; callus basal, obscurely fleshy.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Column
Column semiterete, 2–2.5 mm. long; foot 5–8 mm. long, pubescent; pollinia ovoid.
Montane forest; 2000 m.
not known elsewhere T6

Native to:


Polystachya subdiphylla Summerh. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Tanzania 31818.000
Woodruff, A.J., Tanzania 33039.000
Thuliu, M. [3088], Tanzania 39827.000
Woodruff, A.J., Tanzania 7722.000
Jannerup, P.L. [0108], Tanzania 71171.000
Bruce, E. [982], Tanzania K000242338 Unknown type material
Bruce, E. [982], Tanzania K000242339 holotype
Woodruff, B.C. [3], Tanzania K000390176
Thulin, M. [3088], Tanzania K000390175

First published in Bot. Mus. Leafl. 10: 294 (1942)

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 of Tropical East Africa

  • Summerh. in Bot. Mus. Leafl. Harv. Univ. 10: 290 (1942).

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa

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.