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Genus Phalaenopsis

Genus Phalaenopsis

Phalaenopsis Blume, Bijdr. (1825) 294


  • Genus Grafia A.D.Hawkes, Phytologia 13 (1966) 305
  • Genus Polychilos Breda, Gen. Sp. Orchid. Asclep. (1) (1828) t. (1)
  • Genus Polystylus Hasselt ex Hassk., Retzia (1855) 3
  • Genus Stauritis Rchb.f., Hamburger Garten-Blumenzeitung 18 (1862) 34
  • Genus Stauroglottis Schauer, Nov. Actorum Acad. Caes. Leop.-Carol. Nat. Cur. 19
  • Genus Synadena Raf., Fl. Tellur. 4 (1836) 9

Monopodial epiphytes, some continental Asian species leafless in the dry season. Stem very short. Leaves few, sheathing at the base, arranged in two rows, often broad, glabrous, deciduous, duplicate, leathery. Inflorescence lateral from the stem, a raceme or a panicle. Flowers often appearing in succession, small to large, resupinate, often showy. Sepals free. Petals free, sometimes similar to the dorsal sepal, but often distinctly broader or narrower. Lip with (Kingidium) or without spur, not mobile, distinctly lobed, with a bilobed or fringed callus at the base of the midlobe and often with a forked callus between the lateral lobes, the lateral lobes in addition with a simple callus on their lower half. Column-foot well-developed. Pollinia 2, incompletely cleft, or rarely 4, solid, caudicles absent, stipe present, viscidium present.

Species present in New Guinea:

Phalaenopsis amabilis

Tropical continental Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia. About 45 species; 4 in Thailand, 2 in Lao, 8 in Vietnam; in New Guinea one species [Phalaenopsis amabilis (L.) Blume].

Epiphytes in lowland and hill forest, often in shady positions.

  • Christenson, E.A. 2001. Phalaenopsis: a monograph. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.
  • Gruss, O. and M. Wolff. 1995. Phalaenopsis. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart.
  • Sweet, H.R. 1980. The genus Phalaenopsis. Orchid Digest Inc.
  • Subfamily Epidendroideae
  • Tribe Vandeae
  • Subtribe Aeridinae
  • Genus Phalaenopsis

Phalaenopsis is extensively used in hybridisation and presently one of the most common windowsill plants in the world. It is very poorly represented in New Guinea, with only a single, non-endemic species. The latter is a form or subspecies of Phalaenopsis amabilis with slightly smaller flowers than the type, which is compensated by the fact that the flowers are fragrant, contrary to the norm for this species.

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Genus Phalaenopsis

Phalaenopsis amabilis (L.) Blume subsp. rosenstromii (F.M.Bailey) Christenson, Flowers, photo A. Vogel, based on Leiden cult. 32092, from PNG, Lake Kutubu

Genus Phalaenopsis

Phalaenopsis amabilis (L.) Blume subsp. rosenstromii (F.M.Bailey) Christenson, habit, drawing N.H.S. Howcroft 240

Genus Phalaenopsis

Phalaenopsis amabilis (L.) Blume subsp. rosenstromii (F.M.Bailey) Christenson, floral analysis, drawing N.H.S. Howcroft 423