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Genus Bromheadia

Genus Bromheadia

Bromheadia Lindl., Edwards's Bot Reg. (1841) App. 90

Sympodial epiphytic or terrestrial plants with short rhizomes. Stem elongated, not branching, not fleshy, with few to several leaves arranged in two rows. Leaves sheathing at the base, glabrous, dorso-ventrally flattened or bilaterally compressed, deciduous, duplicate, leathery. Inflorescence terminal or rarely lateral, a raceme or rarely a panicle, often with swollen and laterally flattened rachis, with the flowers appearing in succession. Flowers medium-sized to rather large, ephemeral, resupinate, sepals and petals usually white or creamy yellow, sometimes reddish. Sepals free. Petals free, fairly similar to the lateral sepals but more thin-textured. Lip without spur, not mobile. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 2, solid, provided with a small pore, caudicles absent, stipe present, viscidium present (forming a single structure with the stipe).

Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia (not in Java), the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia. About 25 species; in New Guinea 2 species.

Terrestrial in open places on poor soils, or epiphytic in lowland forest.

  • Subfamily Epidendroideae
  • Tribe Cymbidieae
  • Subtribe Bromheadiinae
  • Genus Bromheadia
  • Kruizinga, J., H.J. van Scheindelen, and E.F. de Vogel. 1997. Revision of the genus Bromheadia. Orchid Monogr. 8: 79-118.

A highly distinctive genus of c. without close allies. The flowers are rather showy, but unfortunately very short-lived, lasting less than a day; they appear im succession from the same inflorescence over a long period. Of the two species in New Guinea one is locally common (the terrestrial Bromheadia finlaysoniana (Lindl.) Miq.), the other has been found only once and then without flowers (the epiphytic Bromheadia falcifolia Schltr.).

Bromheadia is currently divided into two sections, both of which occur in New Guinea:

Section Aporodes - 20 species
Section Bromheadia - 7 species


1a. Leaves laterally flattened; leaf blade at the base not narrowed, its articulation with the sheeath more or less parallel with the stem; apex acute == Section Aporodes
1b. Leaves dorsoventrally flattened; leaf blade more or less narrowed at the base, its articulation with the sheath more or less perpendicular to the stem; apex bilobed == Section Bromheadia

Bromheadia is present in New Guinea with 2 species::

Bromheadia falcifolia
Bromheadia finlaysoniana

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Genus Bromheadia

Bromheadia finlaysoniana (Lindl.) Miq. Drawing by Ed de Vogel in Orchid Monogr. 8 (1997) fig. 34