Leopard Orchid (Ansellia africana)
The leopard orchid is an epiphytic plant, meaning it grows on another plant yet not as a parasite. It fastens its roots on the branches of trees and usually grows in full sunlight. It blooms in August and September, carrying fragrant yellow flowers sometimes spotted in brown.
This orchid can be found in South Africa in Mpumalanga Lowveld, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. It also occurs in northern Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. It grows in hot, arid river valleys.
The leopard orchid is a sought after to plant in gardens as an impressive attraction. It is planted at homesteads to ward off lightning. The roots anchored at tree branches ensure its successful survival as an epiphyte. It is said to be a love charm and a remedy for nightmares. Its fragrant flowers are a food source to hawk moths at night time.