Hits the Spot

The leopard orchid shows off its spotted glory in the Climatron at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Information provided by John Dedeke, Missouri Botanical Garden.


Ansellia africana is also known as the leopard orchid due to its beautiful spotted yellow flowers. It is also known as the "trash bucket" orchid because it will produce numerous non-absorbing airborne roots to collect leaf litter when nitrogen levels are not sufficient. This leaf litter will then break down and provide the plant with nutrients. Ansellia africana is a very large species that can reach weights of over a metric ton with pseudobulbs reaching 60 centimeters long. Flowers have a fragrance similar to cut Christmas greens. This orchid is endangered in the wild. The Garden’s conservation goals lead us to target rare or endangered species like this one for our collection, where we can study and preserve them for the future.  

Region: Tropical and southern Africa

Conservation status: Vulnerable. Trade should be controlled to prevent the threat of extinction.

How long in the Missouri Botanical Garden’s collection: First specimen received in 1958

Where to find it at the Garden: Climatron, blooming in January and February