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Genus Trichoglottis

Genus Trichoglottis

Trichoglottis Blume, Bijdr. (1825) 359


  • Genus Staurochilus Ridl., J. Linn. Soc.
  • Genus Stauropsis Rchb.f., Hamburger Garten-Blumenzeitung 16 (1860) 117
  • Genus Synptera Llanos, Fragm. (1851) 98

Monopodial epiphytes. Stem elongated. Leaves many, arranged in two rows, sheathing at the base, glabrous, deciduous, duplicate, leathery. Inflorescence lateral, a raceme, a panicle, or carrying a single flower. Flowers small to medium-sized, resupinate, often with red-brown spots. Sepals free. Petals free, usually narrower than the sepals. Lip with or without spur, not mobile, at the base with a hairy lamella. Column at the apex often with two stelids, column-foot absent. Pollinia 4, unequal, arranged in two bodies, solid, caudicles absent, stipe present, viscidium present.

Species present in New Guinea:

Trichoglottis lasioglossa
Trichoglottis litoralis
Trichoglottis sororia

Tropical Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Solomon Islands. About 60 species; in New Guinea 3 species.

Epiphytes in lowland and hill forest.

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

The members of this monopodial genus can be divided into two groups: those with inflorescences much shorter than the leaves, and those with inflorescences at least as long as the leaves. The latter group, in New Guinea represented by the aberrant Trichoglottis lasioglossa, is often considered to be a separate genus, called Staurochilus. In both groups, however, the structure of the flowers is very similar, and there seems to be little justification in keeping them apart based on inflorescence characters alone. The lip varies from shallowly concave at the base to distinctly spurred; in each case an erect, hairy lamella is found at the base of the lip, arising from the back wall of the spur if this is present. This 'hairy tongue' gave the genus its name. Species of Trichoglottis, in particular species from the Philippines and continental Asia, are often cultivated by amateurs. The New Guinea species, however, are not among the showier ones.

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Genus Trichoglottis

Trichoglottis litoralis Schltr., flowers, front view and oblique front view, photo E.F. de Vogel

Genus Trichoglottis

Trichoglottis litoralis Schltr., plant habit, photo E.F. de Vogel, based on Leiden cult. 20031646

Genus Trichoglottis

Trichoglottis sororia Schltr., flowering stem, photo A. Schuiteman, based on Leiden cult. 20030651

Genus Trichoglottis

Trichoglottis sororia Schltr., flower lateral view, photo A. Schuiteman, based on Leiden cult. 20030651

Genus Trichoglottis

Trichoglottis litoralis Schltr., floral analysis, drawing N.H.S. Howcroft 325, from Manus