Acrolophia is a genus of seven evergreen geophytes in the Orchidaceae family known as Cinderella Orchids native to the Western and Eastern Capes of South Africa. Plants have few to numerous tough, linear leathery leaves scattered on an unthickened stem. The lip of the flower is quite prominent and ridged with small knobs. The inflorescence appears from within the leaves.

Acrolophia bolusii Rolfe is a robust rhizomatous species found on sandy coastal flats in the southern Cape (Hopefield to Bredasdorp). It grows from 30 to 80 cm with linear leathery leaves in 2 rows and a branched inflorescence with many, sparsely arranged, nodding faintly scented brownish flowers with a dull yellow white lip with wavy margins. It flowers October to December.

Acrolophia capensis (P.J. Bergius) Fourc. is a widespread species that occurs from Ceres to Grahamstown where is grows on rocky outcrops and slopes and flowers in summer (December to January). Plants grow up to 1 m tall with upright leaves and flowers that are greenish yellow to brown with a creamy white lip. There is a small rounded spur at the base of the flowers. Photo from the book Plants of the Klein Karoo courtesy of Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok.

Acrolophia capensis, Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok

Acrolophia cochlearis (Lindl.) Schltr. & Bolus is a rhizomatous geophyte found in sandy places, occasionally in grassland and forest edges, often coastal, from the Western Cape to KwaZulu-Natal. Growing to 1 m tall and flowering September to December, plants have stiff, keeled pointed leaves in a basal fan and many brownish and creamy yellow flowers with a sac-like spur on the lip arranged in a branched spike. Flowering is August to January.

Acrolophia lamellata (Lindl.) Schltr. & Bolus is a rhizomatous species distributed occasionally in sandy soil on flats and mountains in the Southwest Cape, flowering October to November. It grows from 30 to 60 cm and has sword shaped leaves in two rows and dull greenish-brown flowers. The lip has a white central lobe and purple lateral lobes. It is similar to Acrolephia capensis, but has larger flowers.

Acrolophia ustulata (Bolus) Schltr. & Bolus, commonly known as the Black Orchid, in a rare species that is widespread in southern South Africa from the Cape Peninsula to George where it grows in fynbos and flowers November to December the second year after a fire. A small species that is rarely over 10 cm tall, it has upright linear-lanceolate leathery leaves and greenish yellow or maroon black flowers. Photos from the book Plants of the Klein Karoo courtesy of Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok.

Acrolophia ustulata, Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-VlokAcrolophia ustulata, Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok

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