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Genus Hymenorchis

Genus Hymenorchis

Hymenorchis Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1 (1913) 994

Monopodial epiphytic plants. Stem elongated. Leaves 4-many, sheathing at the base, glabrous, dorso-ventrally flattened, articulate, duplicate, leathery; sheaths and blade with serrate margins. Inflorescence lateral, a raceme. Flowers small, resupinate, pale green or whitish, usually with a deeper green lip. Sepals free, margins usually serrate. Petals free, intermediate in shape between the lateral sepals and the dorsal sepal. Lip adnate to the column, spurred, not mobile. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 2, solid-waxy, caudicles absent, stipe present, viscidium present.


Species present in New Guinea:

Hymenorchis caulina
Hymenorchis foliosa
Hymenorchis glomeroides
Hymenorchis kaniensis
Hymenorchis nannodes
Hymenorchis saccata
Hymenorchis serrata
Hymenorchis tanii


Java, Philippines, New Guinea, New Caledonia . About 8 species; in New Guinea c. 7 species, but several more, known from herbarium material, appear to be undescribed.

Epiphytes in montane forest, often on exposed twigs high in the canopy.

  • Subfamily Epidendroideae
  • Tribe Vandeae
  • Subtribe Aeridinae
  • Genus Hymenorchis

This is an unusual genus of charming miniature orchids, often growing on thin lichen-covered branches. The leaves in most species have serrate margins, which is highly uncommon in the orchid family, and similar margins are usually present on the flower parts, often including the ribs of the ovary. The flowers are relatively large for the plant, whitish or pale green, almost always with a contrasting dark green lip.


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Genus Hymenorchis

Hymenorchis nannodes Schltr., cf., inflorescence, photo Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, based on Edinburgh cult. 930906

Genus Hymenorchis

Hymenorchis sp., habit, photo T. M. Reeve, based on Reeve 1052

Genus Hymenorchis

Hymenorchis sp., photo G. Stocker

Genus Hymenorchis

Hymenorchis sp., photo G. Stocker

Genus Hymenorchis

Hymenorchis sp., flower detail, photo P. Jongejan, based on Jongejan 3027, from Papua New Guinea