Genus Arundina

Arundina Blume,
Bijdr. (1825) 401

Sympodial terrestrial plants with very short rhizomes. Stem elongated, cane-like, not fleshy, many-leaved. Leaves sheathing at the base, arranged in two rows, glabrous, deciduous, convolute, narrow, stiff. Inflorescence terminal, a several-flowered raceme, sometimes branching, with the flowers opening in succession, one or two at a time. Floral bracts small. Flowers short-lived (c. 3 days), fairly large, resupinate, showy, white or pink with a magenta-purple lip. Sepals free. Petals much broader than the sepals. Lip without spur, not mobile. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 8, solid, caudicles present, stipe absent, viscidium absent.

Sri Lanka, tropical continental Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia (east to Sulawesi), naturalised in several Pacific islands, including New Guinea. Probably only one widespread and variable species [Arundina graminifolia (D.Don) Hochr.].

Open vegetation, such as road banks and secondary grasslands, on poor soils in the lowlands and at moderate altitudes in the mountains.

A familiar orchid to travellers in Southeast Asia, easily recognised by the reed-like stems carrying Cattleya-like flowers, which unfortunately last only a few days. As it may colonise open, sunny localities, Arundina graminifolia is among the few tropical orchid species that profit from human disturbance, such as forest clearing, road building, etc. It is not a native species in New Guinea, but its weed-like qualities have enabled it to escape from cultivation.