Stem short, erect, terete, few-leaved. Leaves with a long-petiolate base dilating into an amplexicaul sheath at base; lamina ovate, green and sometimes tessellated with white spots. Inflorescence pubescent; peduncle slender, bearing several well-spaced, lanceolate, sheathing bracts; floral bracts glabrous, subequal in length to the pedicel plus ovary. Flowers resupinate, glabrous or pubescent on outer surfaces of sepals, not opening widely, pinkish brown. Dorsal sepal forming with the petals a deeply concave hood over the column. Lateral sepals spreading above, connate and forming a spur-like mentum below, narrower than the dorsal sepal; mentum adnate to the ovary for its entire length. Petals obliquely oblong, upper margins adnate to dorsal sepal. Labellum united below to the lateral sepals; hypochile cucullate, with erect sides, oblong when spread, margins papillate, basal half containing rows of fleshy appendages, base with two marginal, reflexed or backwards- directed, fleshy calli; epichile broadly ovate or deeply calceiform, shortly apiculate or emarginate. Column with a nectary adnate to ovary; anther transversely oblong; pollinia bipartite, attached by short caudicles to viscidium; rostellum apex retuse; stigma oval, plate-like; staminodes falcate, wing-like, lateral on either side of the anther cap and enclosing it, scalloped on margins. Ovary narrowly obconical, geniculate or straight, glabrous or pubescent, untwisted. Capsule elliptic-conical. Seeds not seen. (PC).
A genus of two species endemic to tropical Africa. One is widespread from Sierra Leone to Uganda and Zaire, the other from Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea (Salazar et al., in press). (PC).
Manniella gustavi and M. cypripedioides Salazar, T. Franke, Zapfack & Benkeen occur in deep shade of damp evergreen forests up to 1200m. (PC).
Lawler (1984) reported that fluid from the entire plant of M. gustavi was used in the Congo as a poison antidote and purgative as well as a treatment for infertile women. (AP). CULTIVATION. Manniella is not known in CULTIVATION. (PC).
Nothing is known of pollination in Manniella. (PC).
Manniella is distinctive with a strange, bent column and prominent staminodes that clasp the anther (Halle 1965). Dressier (1993), Szlachetko (1995c), and Szlachetko and Rutkowski (2000) have all followed Schlechter (1926) in placing it in its own subtribe, Manniellinae, which is here considered a member of tribe Cranichideae. Molecular evidence supports the subtribal status of this group (Salazar et al., submitted). (PC).