Fernkloof Nature Reserve
Scientific name - Acrolophia ustulata
Common name - Black Orchid
Red datalist - Vulnerable
This website was last updated on
Habitat Dryish fynbos habitat on coarse, stony soil
Flowering time October to December
Description One of our tiniest orchids only growing up to 10cm. It is very seldom seen, mostly second year post-fire.
The leaves are stiff and leathery, overlapping and almost folded together. The flowers are either dark maroon or greenish-yellow and resupinate (lip is lowermost petal). The lip is papillate (has small pimple-like projections), except along the margins.
The yellow colour form comprises only 12% of the plant populations.
Acrolophia ustulata is referred to as the 'black orchid' and is one of only 2 Cape orchids to have the maroon-black floral colouration.
This species is listed as Vulnerable in the Red Data List. It appears to be highly sensitive to fire intensity.
It is known from only 5 locations.
Acrolophia from Greek meaning crests on lip: akros, end or summit; lophos, crest.
Latin ustulatus refers to the burnt, seared look of flower; ustus - to burn, -atus - likeness to.
2017 / 3 / 27