Edwards's Bot Reg. (1841) App. 90
Sympodial epiphytic or terrestrial plants with short rhizomes. Stem elongated, not branching, not fleshy, with few to several leaves arranged in two rows. Leaves sheathing at the base, glabrous, dorso-ventrally flattened or bilaterally compressed, deciduous, duplicate, leathery. Inflorescence terminal or rarely lateral, a raceme or rarely a panicle, often with swollen and laterally flattened rachis, with the flowers appearing in succession. Flowers medium-sized to rather large, ephemeral, resupinate, sepals and petals usually white or creamy yellow, sometimes reddish. Sepals free. Petals free, fairly similar to the lateral sepals but more thin-textured. Lip without spur, not mobile. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 2, solid, provided with a small pore, caudicles absent, stipe present, viscidium present (forming a single structure with the stipe).
Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia (not in Java), the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia. About 25 species; in New Guinea 2 species.
Terrestrial in open places on poor soils, or epiphytic in lowland forest.
A highly distinctive genus without close allies. The flowers are rather showy, but unfortunately very short-lived, lasting less than a day; they appear one-by-one from the same inflorescence over a long period. Of the two species in New Guinea one is locally common (the terrestrial Bromheadia finlaysoniana (Lindl.) Miq.), the other has been found only once and then without flowers (the epiphytic Bromheadia falcifolia Schltr.).
Bromheadia is currently divided into two sections, both of which occur in New Guinea:
Aporodes - leaves laterally flattened;
Bromheadia - leaves dorsoventrally flattened.