Plant of interest

         Ansellia  africana

Ansellia africana


Photos courtesy of Gary Yong Gee

These African species are quite interesting and tend to differ somewhat in cultivation from other orchids. One point of note is that if the plant is getting adequate nourishment caused by the fertilization of nitrogen then it looks like any other orchid in growth. But if it gets insufficient nourishment then it will develop roots that grow upright and tends to form a catchment area for plant litter which in turn decomposes and subsequently feeds the plant.

It is a very hardy grower and can grow pseudo bulbs up to nearly a meter in length and if left will form into a very large plant. It is so hardy that it can stand long periods of drought and in domestic cultivation if grown in pots it should have at least one to two months of no water during winter so as to prepare the plant for its next flowering.

The plant demands very high light and will grow well outside in a subtropical climate. The flowers are very attractive and the spotting can be quite varied, hence the reference to the plant sometimes called ‘ the leopard plant ‘.


Ansellia africana mature plant