Genus Lepidogyne

Lepidogyne Blume,
Coll. Orchid. (1858) 93, t. 25

Sympodial terrestrial plants. Stem elongated but relatively short. Leaves many, crowded, sheathing at the base, glabrous, dorso-ventrally flattened, not articulate, convolute, herbaceous. Inflorescence terminal, a raceme. Flowers small, resupinate, (orange-)red or brownish. Sepals free. Petals free, about as long as the median sepal, usually cohering at the apices. Lip without spur, not mobile, concave, inside with a transverse row of papillae. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 2, sectile, caudicles present, stipe absent, viscidium present. Stigma 1.

Peninsular Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea. Probably only one species [Lepidogyne longifolia (Blume) Blume].

Terrestrial in hill and lower montane forest.

In the subtribe Goodyerinae, which consists mainly of small, delicate plants, Lepidogyne is a giant among dwarfs. The tall torch-like inflorescences with numerous, closely packed, orange to light brown flowers may reach two meter in height, although they are usually about half this size. The long, relatively narrow leaves are also unusual in this alliance. The more brightly coloured forms would be well worth cultivating, but they do not appear to be easy subjects to grow. In the Lake Kutubu area of Papua New Guinea this stately orchid is fed to pigs as it is supposed to possess medicinal properties.

In the morphology of the flowers Lepidogyne is very similar to certain species of Goodyera, e.g. G. rubicunda (Blume) Lindl., which suggests that the generic status of Lepidogyne may need to be reconsidered.