Tab. Pl. Jav. Orchid. (1825) f. 77
Leafless sympodial terrestrial plants with underground rhizome. Inflorescence a few- to many-flowered raceme. Flowers small to medium-sized, resupinate, often whitish with violet markings. Sepals free. Petals free, fairly similar to the lateral sepals. Lip without spur, not mobile, divided into a concave basal part with side-lobes, and a flat apical part, which is more or less clearly 3-lobed. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 2, mealy, caudicles present, stipe absent, viscidium absent.
Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia. About 15 species; in New Guinea 4 species.
Terrestrial in deep humus in lowland and montane forest.
One of several leafless terrestrial orchid genera that are often called 'saprophytes', although they are in fact parasites on fungi. Species of these genera have little or no chlorophyll, consequently the plants are whitish, brownish, or purplish instead of green. Aphyllorchis is characterised by the structure of the lip, which consists of a strongly concave hypochilium with lateral lobes and a flat, more or less three-lobed epichilium. It is not in cultivation and would probably be very difficult to cultivate outside a laboratory.