Bijdr. (1825) 359
Monopodial epiphytes. Stem elongated. Leaves many, arranged in two rows, sheathing at the base, glabrous, deciduous, duplicate, leathery. Inflorescence lateral, a raceme, a panicle, or carrying a single flower. Flowers small to medium-sized, resupinate, often with red-brown spots. Sepals free. Petals free, usually narrower than the sepals. Lip with or without spur, not mobile, at the base with a hairy lamella. Column at the apex often with two stelids, column-foot absent. Pollinia 4, unequal, arranged in two bodies, solid, caudicles absent, stipe present, viscidium present.
Tropical Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Solomon Islands. About 60 species; in New Guinea 3 species.
Epiphytes in lowland and hill forest.
The members of this monopodial genus can be divided into two groups: those with inflorescences much shorter than the leaves, and those with inflorescences at least as long as the leaves. The latter group, in New Guinea represented by the aberrant Trichoglottis lasioglossa, is often considered to be a separate genus, called Staurochilus. In both groups, however, the structure of the flowers is very similar, and there seems to be little justification in keeping them apart based on inflorescence characters alone. The lip varies from shallowly concave at the base to distinctly spurred; in each case an erect, hairy lamella is found at the base of the lip, arising from the back wall of the spur if this is present. This 'hairy tongue' gave the genus its name. Species of Trichoglottis, in particular species from the Philippines and continental Asia, are often cultivated by amateurs. The New Guinea species, however, are not among the showier ones.