Genus Cryptostylis

Cryptostylis R.Br.,
Prodr. (1810) 317

Stemless sympodial terrestrial plants without rhizomes. Shoots 1-leaved, clustered. Leaves not sheathing at the base, with a distinct petiole, glabrous, persistent, convolute, herbaceous. Inflorescence arising from the base of the plant, a raceme. Flowers medium-sized, not resupinate. Sepals free, narrow. Petals similar. Lip without spur, not mobile, usually yellowish or red-brown with darker spots. Column hidden in a basal cavity of the lip, lacking a column-foot. Pollinia 4, mealy, caudicles absent, stipe absent, viscidium present.

Sri Lanka, India, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Fiji, Samoa. About 15 species; in New Guinea 10 species.

Terrestrial in lowland and lower montane forest.

An unmistakable genus, easily recognised by the stalked leaves that are not plicate, and by the spidery flowers having the lip uppermost. Species of Cryptostylis are very rarely cultivated. The taxonomy of the New Guinea species is desperately in need of revision.