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2Department of Agriculture, HTTTC Kumba, University of Buea, P.O. Box 249 Kumba, Cameroon
A study was conducted in the Mount Cameroon Region from January 2013 to December 2015 on the reproductive biology of orchids. Sixty-nine species of orchids were collected and identified and their flowering times noted. Observations on the flowering phenology of the collected species suggests that most of the orchids flowered during the months of February, March, April, August and September when the rains are intense. Visitors and their rates of visitation of Ansellia africana, Bletilla striata, Bulbophyllum lupulinum, Liparis epiphytica and Polystachya laxiflora were also studied through a “sit and watch” approach. The number of visits varied significantly with the type of visitor. Ants were the only visitor to all 5 orchid species. There was a strong positive correlation between reproductive success and total number of fruits but a weaker correlation between reproductive success and total number of flowers. The species with the highest success rate was Habenaria procera (86.44%), while that with the least success rate was Listrostachys pertusa (01.68%). The reproductive life cycle of orchids from flowering to dehiscence takes approximately 4 months (flowering ± 30 days; fruiting ± 30 and dehiscence (maturing of fruits to busting of capsules) ±50 days. Polystachya laxiflora flowered all year round.Fruiting and dehiscence showed no significant trends in all species of orchids. Both factors were dependent on flowering times or respective species. Temperature, rainfall and relative humidity had no significant influence on fruiting and dehiscence of capsules but were important in flowering. The changing climate could therefore significantly sift phenological patterns of the species.