Eulophia maculata

Eulophia maculata (Lindl.) Rchbf..  

Synonym: Oeceoclades maculata

Common Names: African Spotted Orchid

Family: Orchidaceae

Habit: Eulophia maculata grows among leaf detritus and rocks. It produces a very short rhizomatous stem that is covered with secondary stems that are expanded to form below ground, rounded pseudobulbs up to 6 cm in length.  From the top of the pseudobulb flattened a single linear leaf emerge that is up to 40 cm in length.  The leaf is green but often has white spots.

The complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers are arranged in terminal racemes up to 50 cm in height (typically shorter) and contain 3-10 flowers.  The flowers have triangular bracts and the calyx has 3 greenish sepals that turn brown with age. The corolla has 3 petals with one forming the labellum.  The labellum is white and 3 lobed developing reddish purple lines as the flower ages.  Two smaller erect lobes of the labellum wrap around the white column.  The corolla has a nectar spur and 2 pink spots where the labellum and other petals connect. The column is formed from a fusion of the stamens and ovary into a single structure. The ovary is inferior.  The fruit is a capsule at maturity up to 4 cm in length that opens along six suture lines and hangs allowing wind to assist in seed dispersal.

HabitatEulophia maculata grows in leaf detrius along the floor of Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation – Forests (coppice).

Distribution: Eulophia maculata originally thought to be native in the Lucayan Archipelago and the rest of the new world it is now understood that it is a relatively recent introduction from Africa.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: While there are no medicinal uses of Eulophia maculata like all orchids they are prized for their beautiful flowers. ALL orchids are protected internationally by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and should not be collected from the wild.