Leopard Orchid

Scientific Name
Ansellia africana Lindl.
Higher Classification
Ansellia africana Lindl. var. australis Summerh., Ansellia africana Lindl. var. nilotica Baker, Ansellia gigantea Rchb.f., Ansellia gigantea Rchb.f. var. gigantea, Ansellia gigantea Rchb.f. var. nilotica (Baker) Summerh., Ansellia humilis Bull., Ansellia nilotica (Baker) N.E.Br.
Common Names
Imfeyenkawu (z), Leopard Orchid (e), Luiperdorgidee (a), Tiger Orchid (e), Tree Orchid (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
V.L. Williams, D. Raimondo, N.R. Crouch, A.B. Cunningham, C.R. Scott-Shaw, M. Lötter, A.M. Ngwenya, J.E. Victor, D. McMurtry, L. Grobler & S. Burns
Local extirpations have been observed in some subpopulations and it has a constant presence in the markets. An overall continuing decline is suspected.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga
Widespread in tropical Africa, in South Africa confined to northern KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga and Limpopo Lowveld.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Forest, Savanna
In hot dry mixed deciduous woodlands at medium to low altitudes, in riverine vegetation and miombo woodlands near rivers, on Hyphaene, Adansonia, Colophospermum, Ficus, Brachystegia, Parinari, Terminalia, Uapaca and Albizia spp., also sometimes on rocks in shade, rarely in forest 0-2200 m.
This species is declining severely across its range due to over-collecting for commercial purposes, and harvesting for medicinal use (Cunningham 1988; von Ahlefeldt 2003; Williams 2007). Local extirpations occurring, especially in communal areas (N.R. Crouch, pers. comm., 2008). However, accessibility to populations may be a mitigating factor (R. Scott-Shaw, pers. comm., 2008).
Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Ansellia africana Lindl.Declining Raimondo et al. (2009)
Ansellia africana Lindl.Lower Risk - Near Threatened Victor (2002)
Ansellia africana Lindl.VU A1A2dScott-Shaw (1999)
Ansellia africana Lindl.Vulnerable Hilton-Taylor (1996)
Ansellia gigantea Rchb.f.Indeterminate Hall et al. (1980)

Hall, A.V., De Winter, M., De Winter, B. and Van Oosterhout, S.A.M. 1980. Threatened plants of southern Africa. South African National Scienctific Programmes Report 45. CSIR, Pretoria.

Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. Red data list of southern African plants. Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Khayota, B. 1993. The genus Ansellia. Kew Magazine 10(1):27-35.

La Croix, I. and Cribb, P.J. 1998. Orchidaceae (Part 2). In: G.V. Pope (ed). Flora Zambesiaca 11 (Part 2):321-569. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Linder, H.P. and Kurzweil, H. 1999. Orchids of southern Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. Red List of South African Plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Scott-Shaw, C.R. 1999. Rare and threatened plants of KwaZulu-Natal and neighbouring regions. KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service, Pietermaritzburg.

Victor, J.E. 2002. South Africa. In: J.S. Golding (ed), Southern African plant Red Data Lists. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 14 (pp. 93-120), SABONET, Pretoria.

Von Ahlefeldt, D., Crouch, N.R., Nichols, G., Symmonds, R., McKean, S., Sibiya, H. and Cele, M.P. 2003. Medicinal plants traded on South Africa's eastern seabord. Porcupine Press, Durban.

Williams, V.L. 2007. The design of a risk assessment model to determine the impact of the herbal medicine trade on the Witwatersrand on resources of indigenous plant species. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Williams, V.L., Raimondo, D., Crouch, N.R., Cunningham, A.B., Scott-Shaw, C.R., Lötter, M., Ngwenya, A.M., Victor, J.E., McMurtry, D., Grobler, L. & Burns, S. 2016. Ansellia africana Lindl. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/07/17

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Distribution map

© H.F. Glen

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