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Family: Orchidaceae

Scientific name: Polystachya sandersonii

Authority: Harv.

Synonyms: Dendrorkis pachyglossa (Rchb.f.) Kuntze, Polystachya pachyglossa Rchb.f.

Zulu names: amabelejongosi, iphamba, iphamba lehlathi

Other name: velvet snout orchid

Plant description: P. sandersonii is an epiphytic orchid. It has conical pseudobulbs that are clumped together with each pseudobulb having three-to-five linear strap-like leaves and bright yellow flowers. This orchid can be found growing in the forest of the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo.

P. sandersonii is often confused with P. zambesiaca, due to the similarities in their morphology.  


  • The pseudobulb and root of the plant are used as ikhubalo, an emetic protective charm. 
  • The pseudobulb and root of the plant are used as an emetic love charm.

Safety precaution:

Using traditional medicine responsibly can enhance your overall health and well-being. Misuse and abuse can lead to complications. You can inquire about the correct use of traditional medicine from a knowledgeable herbalist and practitioner. You can also visit or email: to learn more about traditional medicine

References and further reading: 

  • Ashton, P., 2018. The genus Polystachya in South Africa.
  • Chinsamy, M., 2012. South African medicinal orchids: a pharmacological and phytochemical evaluation (Doctoral dissertation).
  • Chinsamy, M., Finnie, J.F. and Van Staden, J., 2011. The ethnobotany of South African medicinal orchids. South African Journal of Botany, 77(1), pp.2-9.
  • Cunningham, A.B., 1993. African medicinal plants. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization: Paris, France.
  • Hutchings, A., Scott, A.H., Lewis, G., and Cunningham, A., 1996. Zulu medicinal plants. Natal University Press, Pietermaritzburg.

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