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Published In: Genera Plantarum 64–65. 1789. (4 Aug 1789) (Gen. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
Contributor Text: J. RENZ
Contributor Institution: Basel, Switzerland.
General/Distribution: Cosmopolitan. Distributed in all climatic zones, except polar and extreme desert regions. Approx. 800 genera with 25,000-30,000 taxa. 47 species, all terrestrial, belonging to 26 genera, are represented in our area.
Comment/Acknowledgements: Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for financing this research under PL-480. Thanks are also due to the Directors of the various herbaria for providing all the facilities to the author.


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Plants with tuberoids or rhizomes, terrestrial or epiphytic, occasionally saprophytic. Leaves radical or cauline, sometimes reduced to sheaths. Inflorescence one to many-flowered. Flowers zygomorphic, hermaphrodite, usually reversed (resupinated) by torsion of ovary or pedicel. Perianth-segments in 2 whorls: the outer of 3 ± equal segments (sepals), the inner with 2 lateral equal (petals) and one unequal, medium (labellum). Labellum highly modified in shape and coloration, with or without a spur. Style and stamen ± fused to a column (gynostemium). Fertile anthers 1 or 2, the steriles transformed into staminodes near base of column. Fertile stigmas 2-3, usually confluent, a sterile modified into the rostellum, a tissue separating the anther from the fertile stigma. Pollinia 2, sometimes 2-4 parted, or 4, waxy or powdery-granulose, often attached by stalk-like caudicles to 1 or 2 viscid glands (viscidia), which can be free or enclosed in 2 or a single pouch (bursicula). Ovary inferior, sessile or pedicellate; placentation parietal, 1-locular, rarely 3-locular. Fruit a capsule, longitudinally dehiscing by 3 or 6 slits. Seeds tiny, numerous, without endosperm.

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1 Labellum not slipper-shaped. Fertile anther one (2)
+ Labellum slipper-shaped. Fertile anthers two 1 Cypripedium
2 (1) Plants saprophytic, leafless or autotrophic with rudimentary leaves. Stem with pale brown or greenish-sheaths (3)
+ Plants autotrophic, with well-developed green leaves (7)
3 (2) Sepals and petals free, ± spreading (4)
+ Sepals and petals fused, bell-shaped 18 Gastrodia
4 (3) Flowers reversed (resupinated); labellum facing downwards (5)
+ Flowers not reversed; labellum facing upwards 4 Epipogium
5 (4) Rhizome creeping and branched. Labellum whitish with red spots (6)
+ Rhizome short, with cluster of fleshy roots Labellum green to dark olive-green 2 Neottia
6 (5) Rhizome thick, not much branched. Inflorescence 2-5(-8)-flowered. Flowers erect-spreading, large; sepals c. 25 mm long 25 Cymbidium
+ Rhizome much coralloid-branched. Inflorescence up to 12-flowered. Flowers pendent, small; sepals c.5 mm long 24 Corallorrhiza
7 (2) Plants with palmate tuberoids (8)
+ Plants with entire tuberoids, tuberous corms or rhizomes (10)
8 (7) Spur cylindric, ± as long as ovary, c.8-12 mm long (9)
+ Spur saccate, much shorter than ovary, c. 2 mm long 12 Coeloglossum
9 (8) Viscid glands of pollinia without pouch 10 Gymnadenia
+ Viscid glands of pollinia enclosed in a pouch(bursicula) 9 Dactylorhiza
10 (7) Plants with entire tuberoids or tuberous corms (11)
+ Plants with rhizomes (16)
11 (10) Labellum without spur, sometimes ± conically hollowed at base (12)
+ Labellum with l or 2 spurs (13)
12 (11) Leaves solitary or few, spathulate or lanceolate to linear, contemporaneous with flowers on terminal inflorescence 11 Herminium
+ Leaf 1, petiolate, roundish, cordate at base, appearing after inflorescence-bearing stem scape 19 Nervilia
13 (11) Flowers reversed; labellum facing downwards with 1 spur (14)
+ Flowers not reversed; labellum facing upwards with 2 spurs 16 Satyrium
14 (13) Stigma sessile, cushion-like, ± confluent (15)
+ Stigma 2 on distinct processes 13 Habenaria
15 (14) Flowers large, 6-10 cm in diameter. Spur more than 8 mm long. Anther-canals ± elongated. Staminodes small, globose 15 Pecteilis
+ Flowers small, 2-3 mm in diameter. Spur 1 mm long. Anther-canals short. Staminodes filiform-elongate 14 Diphylax
16 (10) Labellum divided in hypochile and epichile (17)
+ Labellum entire or lobed (18)
17 (16) Ovary ± sessile; flowers erect 5 Cephalanthera
+ Ovary with short twisted pedicel; flowers ± pendulous 6 Epipactis
18 (16) Base of stem, thickened into leafy corm (pseudobulb) (19)
+ Base of stem not thickened (21)
19 (18) Plants slender. Leaves 4-8, membranaceous. Flowers small, unpretentious, green or greenish-lilac (20)
+ Plants robust. Leaves 2-4, papery. Flowers showy, lilac or orange-red and white 26 Calanthe
20 (19) Flowers reversed; labellum facing downwards. Column slender, elongate, c. 5 mm 20 Liparis
+ Flowers not reversed; labellum facing upwards. Column very short, cylindric, c.0.5 mm 21 Malaxis
21 (18) Roots fibrous. Flowers on a straight axis, not spirally arranged (22)
+ Roots fusiform-fleshy. Flowers spirally arranged in a single row on twisted axis 17 Spiranthes
22 (21) Rhizome elongated into irregularly shaped ovoid or oblong corm. Flowering stem(scape) separate from leaf-bearing stem, both arising from the corm (23)
+ Rhizome not tuberous. Leaves and flowers on terminal inflorescence (24)
23 (22) Pollinia 2. Leaves produced with (E.graminea) or after the flowers 23 Eulophia
+ Pollinia 4. Leaves produced with the flowers 22 Oreorchis
24 (22) Rhizome short, ascendent. Leaves cauline, not petiolate, parallel-nerved. Flowers on all sides (25)
+ Rhizome repent. Leaves ± radical, petiolate, reticulate-nerved. Flowers ± secund 7 Goodyera
25 (24) Leaves two, broad, subopposite in about the middle of the stem 3 Listera
+ Leaves numerous, linear-lanceolate, very much crowded 8 Zeuxine