Gastrodia ballii P.J.Cribb & Browning

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Gastrodia ballii

Photo: Mark Hyde

Gastrodia ballii

Photo: Mark Hyde

Gastrodia ballii

Photo: Mark Hyde

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Didymoplexis africana sensu la Croix & Cribb
Gastrodia sp. no. 1 sensu Grosvenor (1976)
Common names:
Frequency: Rare but possibly overlooked
Status: Native
Leafless holomycotrophic herb up to c. 20 cm high, growing from a fusiform tuber up to 4 cm long. Inflorescence densely 1-many-flowered. Flowers spreading or erect, purple-brown. Tepals forming a 2-lipped tube. Sepals all more or less verrucose outside. Lip yellow-green with an apricot tip and a transverse fleshy callus; spur absent. Flowers short-lived and pedicels elongating rapidly as the capsule matures.
Notes: This species was formerly wrongly assumed to be Didymoplexis africana Summerh. which is not found in the Flora Zambesiaca region.
Derivation of specific name: ballii: named after John Ball, orchidologist, who collected the type for this species.
Habitat: In leaf litter in deeply shaded evergreen forest.
Altitude range: Up to 800 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Mozambique distribution: MS
Growth form(s): Terrestrial.
Endemic status:
Red data list status: Vulnerable
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Saturday 23 July 2016

Ball, J.S. (2009). Terrestrial African Orchids, A Selected Review. Pages 174 - 175. (Includes a picture).

Cribb, P.J.,Fischer, E. & Killmann, D. (2010). A revision of Gastrodia (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae, Gastrodieae) in tropical Africa Kew Bulletin 65(2) Pages 317 - 320. Protologue (Includes a picture).

Fibeck, W. & Dare, M. (1993). Terrestrial Orchids in Zimbabwe. Excelsa 16 Page 55. as Didymoplexis africana

Golding, J.S. (ed.) (2002). Zimbabwe Plant Red Data List. Southern African Plant Red Data Lists. SABONET 14 Page 180. As Didymoplexis africana

Grosvenor, R.K. (1976). A list of orchids indigenous in Rhodesia. Excelsa 6 Page 82. as Gastrodia sp. no. 1

La Croix, I. & Cribb, P.J. (1995). Orchidaceae (Part 1) Flora Zambesiaca 11(1) Pages 268 - 271. as Didymoplexis africana (Includes a picture).

La Croix, I. et al. (1991). Orchids of Malawi A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam Page 171. as Didymoplexis africana (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 95. as Didymoplexis africana

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 134. as Didymoplexis africana

Other sources of information about Gastrodia ballii:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Gastrodia ballii
Flora of Zimbabwe: Gastrodia ballii

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Gastrodia ballii
African Plant Database: Gastrodia ballii
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Gastrodia ballii
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Gastrodia ballii
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Gastrodia ballii
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Gastrodia ballii
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Gastrodia ballii
JSTOR Plant Science: Gastrodia ballii
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Gastrodia ballii
Plants of the World Online: Gastrodia ballii
Tropicos: Gastrodia ballii
Wikipedia: Gastrodia ballii

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave 2007-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Mozambique: Species information: Gastrodia ballii., retrieved 18 April 2024

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