Genus Myrmechis

Myrmechis Blume,
Coll. Orchid. (1858) 76, t. 21

Very small sympodial terrestrial or rarely epiphytic plants. Stem elongated, sometimes creeping at the base. Leaves few, very small, distributed along the stem, or crowded near its apex, sheathing at the base, glabrous, persistent, convolute, plain dark green or (in the southeastern part of the distributional range) with silvery or golden veins, herbaceous. Inflorescence terminal, a few-flowered raceme. Flowers small, resupinate, white. Sepals connate or free. Petals free, about as long as the dorsal sepal. Lip without spur, not mobile, at the base with 2 warts. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 2, sectile, caudicles present, stipe absent, viscidium present. Stigma with two clearly separated lobes, each on a short lateral projection.

Japan, tropical East Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea. About 6 species; in New Guinea one species [Myrmechis chalmersii (Schltr.) Schuit.].

Terrestrial in montane forest, rarely epiphytic on mossy tree trunks.

The only species of Myrmechis known from New Guinea was originally described as a species of Cheirostylis. Myrmechis differs from Cheirostylis and Zeuxine in the structure of the stigma, of which the lobes are situated on short lateral processes. Unlike Myrmechis and Zeuxine, Cheirostylis often has a markedly swollen rhizome, as well as two sterile appendages at the apex of the column and usually obovoid ovaries. It would seem that Myrmechis is very rare in New Guinea, as it has only been collected once, as far as we can tell.