Genus Sarcochilus

Sarcochilus R.Br.,
Prodr. (1810) 332

Monopodial epiphytic plants. Stem short or elongated. Leaves many, sheathing at the base, glabrous, dorso-ventrally flattened, not articulate, duplicate, leathery. Inflorescence lateral, a raceme or carrying a single flower. Flowers small to medium-sized, resupinate, yellow or white, the lip often with purple spots. Sepals free. Petals free, fairly similar to the sepals. Lip with or (not in New Guinea) without spur, mobile, spur inside with callosities. Column-foot present, about as long as the column proper. Pollinia 4, solid-waxy, caudicles absent, stipe present, viscidium present.

New Guinea, Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji. About 15 species; in New Guinea 4 species.

Epiphytes in lowland and montane forest.

Sarcochilus is a well known and widely cultivated genus, at least as far as its Australian members are concerned. The New Guinea species of Sarcochilus are rather different from the Australian ones, not so much in the structure of the flowers as in the habit of the robust, long-stemmed plants with very short, one-flowered inflorescences. They were recently separated into the new genus Monanthochilus, which we have not adopted here, since we believe that the whole Sarcochilus alliance is badly in need of a careful phylogenetic analysis.