Whats flowering – Bonatea speciosa

Following the good spring rains in the Overberg the green wood orchid (Bonatea speciosa) green wood orchid - photograph Heiner Lutzeyerhas been flowering profusely the last few weeks. This magnificent plant was considered by Darwin to be the most ‘profoundly modified’of all orchids. It is characterized by robust, erect leaves that are oblong to broadly lance-shaped and produces large inflorescence’s with many green and white flowers up to 90 mm long. These flowers have 25-47 mm long spurs and are pollinated by hawk moths.

It is found in coastal scrub, often growing on the edge of paths or roads in thicket areas where there seems to be just the right amount of light for healthy growth. It has a natural distribution from Yzerfontein on the West Coast just north of Cape Town up to Zimbabwe.

 

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