Bulbophyllum scaberulum (Rolfe) Bolus
  • J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 25: 181 (1889) 

Notes: Distribution: Trop. & S. Africa

General Description

Medium to large epiphytic or lithophytic herb.Rhizome creeping, 2–5 mm in diameter.Pseudobulbs 2-leaved, to 9 × 3 cm, orbicular, ovoid, ellipsoid or oblong, 3–5-angled, the edges often wavy or knobbly, yellow or green.Leaves stiff, 5–17 × 1–4 cm, linear to lanceolate, or ovate-elliptic.Inflorescence erect, up to 24 cm long, the peduncle shorter than the rhachis.Rhachis fleshy, scabrid, bilaterally flattened, to 1 cm wide, green, wavy on the upper margins, up to c. 30-flowered.Bracts reflexed, 2–7 × 2–4 mm, triangular-ovate, placed near the lower edge of the rhachis.Pedicel and ovary 3 mm long.Flowers fleshy, scabrid, mottled with brown or maroon, several to many opening together.Dorsal sepal fleshy, 6–10 × 1.5–2 mm, ovate-lanceolate, curved, subacute; lateral sepals 4–8 × 2.5 mm, ovate, acuminate, the apex curved downwards.Petals 2.5–6 × 0.5–1 mm, lanceolate, acute.Lip 2–6 × 2–3 mm, ovate, deflexed, recurved, the edges entire.Column 1.5 mm long, stelidia short, acute.

A medium-sized epiphytic herb, with a stout creeping rhizome 2–3 mm. diameter. Pseudobulbs 2-leaved, ovoid, narrowly ovoid or ellipsoid, 4–5-angled, 2–5.5 cm. long, 0.8–1.3 cm. diameter, 2–10 cm. apart on rhizome. Leaves suberect, coriaceous-fleshy, narrowly elliptic, rounded, 4.5–12.5 cm. long, 1–1.9 cm. broad. Inflorescence erect, 5.5–24(–30) cm. long, many-flowered; peduncle terete, bearing several well-spaced loosely tubular sheaths along length; rhachis fleshy, bilaterally flattened, ± slightly arcuate, 3–8 mm. broad, with a scabrid indumentum; bracts ovate-triangular, subacute, reflexed, 3–4 mm. long, eccentrically placed on rhachis. Flowers fleshy, scabrid, maroon or green or ochre, heavily marked with maroon. Dorsal sepal linear-lanceolate, acute or rounded, concave, 6–7 mm. long, 1.5 mm. broad; lateral sepals falcate, ovate, acuminate, 4–5.5 mm. long, 2–3 mm. broad, with a decurved apex. Petals falcate, linear, acute, 3–4 mm. long, 0.3–0.4 mm. broad. Lip deflexed, ovate, rounded at apex, 2–2.5 mm. long, 1.8–2 mm. broad; apical half fleshy, sulcate; basal sides thin-textured. Column 1.5 mm. long; stelidia shortly 2-lobed, subacute; anther-cap conical-hemispherical, with a low apical ridge.


habit: herb

null: epiphyte

null: lithophyte


Epiphytic or lithophytic in woodland and evergreen forest

HAB. Epiphyte in riverine and montane forests; 100–1800 m.


Zimbabwe Chivi Distr., fl. 12.xi.1962, Leach 11276 (K; SRGH).

Zambia Kabompo, fl. iv.1969, G. Williamson 15 (K; SRGH).

Tanzania near Sigi R., fl. in cult. Feb. 1944, Nichols in Moreau 395!

Tanzania Uluguru Mts., fl. in cult. Dec. 1941, Moreau 87!

Zambia Kabwe and Mulungushi Distr., fl. x.1960, Morze 33 (K).

Zambia Mbala Distr., Kambole, High Escarpment, 1800 m, fl. 12.ix.1960, Richards 13237 (K).

Malawi Thyolo Distr., Nkwadzi River, 900 m, fr. Morris 45 (BM; K).

Tanzania Pugu Hills, fl. in cult. Dec. 1942, Griffiths in Moreau 385!

Malawi Misuku Hills, edge of Mugesse (Mughese) Forest, 1750 m, fl. in hort. 11.ix.1984, la Croix 664 (K).

Uganda Budongo Forest, June 1937, Eggeling 3359!

Zimbabwe Chimanimani Mts., 900 m, fl. 6.xi.1950, Wild 3573 (K; SRGH).

Kenya Shimba Hills, 17 Apr. 1942, Cunningham van Someren in Moreau 414! & Mrima Hill, Jan. 1961, Greenway 9807!


in J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 25: 181 (1889). —Summerhayes in Bot. Not. 1937: 192 (1937). —Grosvenor in Excelsa 6: 79 (1976). —Ball, S. Afr. Epiph. Orch.: 86 (1978). —Stewart et al., Wild Orch. South. Africa: 220 (1982). —la Croix et al., Malawi Orch. 1: 56 (1983). —Cribb in F.T.E.A., Orchidaceae: 320 (1984). —Vermeulen, Orchid Monogr. 2: 116 (1987). —la Croix et al., Orch. Malawi: 206 (1991). —Geerinck in Fl. Afr. Centr., Orchidaceae pt. 2: 352 (1992). Type from South Africa.

in J.L.S. 25: 181 (1889); Ball, Epiph. Orch. S. Afr.: 86 (1978).

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Africa East Tropical Africa Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Northeast Tropical Africa Chad
  • Ethiopia
  • Sudan
  • South Tropical Africa Angola
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Southern Africa Cape Provinces
  • KwaZulu-Natal
  • West Tropical Africa Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Ivory Coast
  • Liberia
  • Nigeria
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo
  • West-Central Tropical Africa Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Congo
  • Gabon
  • Gulf of Guinea Is.
  • Zaire


  • 1 Szlachetko, D.L. (2008). Orchidaceae of Ivory Coast. Ruizia 20: 1-396.
  • 2 Szlachetko, D. & Kowalkoska, A. (2007). Contributions to the orchid flora of Guinea, West Africa. Polish Botanical Studies 25: 1-259.
  • 3 Demissew, S., Cribb, P. & Rasmussen, F. (2004). Field Guide to Ethiopian Orchids: 1-300. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 4 Szlachetko, D.L. & al. (2004). Flore du Gabon 36: 1-231. Muséum National D'Histoire Naturelle, Paris.
  • 5 Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Monocotyledons Database in ACCESS: 1-71827. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 6 Harris, D.J. (2002). The vascular plants of the Dzanga-Sangha Reserve, Central African Republic: 1-274. National Botanic Garden (Belgium), Meise.
  • 7 Govaerts, R. (1996). World Checklist of Seed Plants 2(1, 2): 1-492. Continental Publishing, Deurne.
  • 8 I. la Croix and P.J. Cribb (1995) Orchidaceae. Flora Zambesiaca 11 (1)

 Information From

Flora Zambesiaca
Flora Zambesiaca. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/efloras/
Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/efloras/
WCS higher taxonomy
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World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
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