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Ansellia is considered a monotypicgenus of orchid, with only one species, Ansellia africana, commonly known as African ansellia or leopard orchid, however, it is in fact a complex group of species which share common floral structure and growth habit.
The plants are found throughout neotropical and subtropical Africa. It was named after John Ansell, an English assistant botanist. who found the first specimens in 1841 on the Fernando Po Island in West Africa. This genus is abbreviated as Aslla in horticultural trade.
It is referred to along with Grammatophyllum as a “trash basket” orchid due to its odd habit of creating a makeshift container of aerial roots to catch falling leaf litter for nutrients.
This orchid is native to tropical and southern Africa, found alongside coasts and rivers in the canopy of trees, usually at elevations lower than 700 m (occasionally up to 2,200 m).
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