Genus Phaius

Phaius Lour.,
Fl. Cochinch. 2 (1790) 529

Sympodial terrestrial or less often epiphytic plants with very short rhizomes. Pseudobulbs short and thick, or elongated, or absent, consisting of more than one internode, few-leaved; when absent stem elongated, few- to several-leaved. Leaves sheathing at the base, glabrous, plicate, deciduous, convolute, thin-textured. Inflorescence lateral or basal, a few- to many-flowered raceme. Flowers medium-sized to large, resupinate, often showy. Sepals free. Petals free, usually rather similar to the sepals. Lip with or without spur, fused to the base of the column, basal part clasping the column. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 8, solid, caudicles present, stipe absent, viscidium absent.

Tropical Africa, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, tropical continental Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia, east to Tahiti. About 45 species; in New Guinea 4 species, none of which are endemic.

Terrestrial or epiphytic in lowland and montane forest, or terrestrial in open places in the mountains.

In New Guinea this genus is represented by only four, non-endemic species. Three are robust plants with tall inflorescences and large plicate leaves, the fourth, Phaius flavus, is smaller-sized. Phaius is related to Calanthe, but the flowers look quite different as the column is largely free from the lip, while the lip partly envelopes the column. Phaius tankervilleae is very common in cultivation, the other species are much less frequently encountered.