Genus Phalaenopsis

Phalaenopsis Blume,
Bijdr. (1825) 294

Monopodial epiphytes, some continental Asian species leafless in the dry season. Stem very short. Leaves few, sheathing at the base, arranged in two rows, often broad, glabrous, deciduous, duplicate, leathery. Inflorescence lateral from the stem, a raceme or a panicle. Flowers often appearing in succession, small to large, resupinate, often showy. Sepals free. Petals free, sometimes similar to the dorsal sepal, but often distinctly broader or narrower. Lip with (Kingidium) or without spur, not mobile, distinctly lobed, with a bilobed or fringed callus at the base of the midlobe and often with a forked callus between the lateral lobes, the lateral lobes in addition with a simple callus on their lower half. Column-foot well-developed. Pollinia 2, incompletely cleft, or rarely 4, solid, caudicles absent, stipe present, viscidium present.

Tropical continental Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia. About 45 species; 4 in Thailand, 2 in Lao, 8 in Vietnam; in New Guinea one species [Phalaenopsis amabilis (L.) Blume].

Epiphytes in lowland and hill forest, often in shady positions.

Phalaenopsis is extensively used in hybridisation and presently one of the most common windowsill plants in the world. It is very poorly represented in New Guinea, with only a single, non-endemic species. The latter is a form or subspecies of Phalaenopsis amabilis with slightly smaller flowers than the type, which is compensated by the fact that the flowers are fragrant, contrary to the norm for this species.