Genus Zeuxine

Zeuxine Lindl.,
Collect. Bot. Append. (1826) n. 18 ['Zeuxina']

Sympodial terrestrial plants. Stem elongated, slightly succulent, basal part creeping, forming a rhizome, apical part erect, few-leaved, rarely stem very short, and then with narrow, grass-like leaves, otherwise leaves not narrow and grass-like. Leaves few, sheathing at the base, glabrous, persistent, convolute, green or light brownish, often withered at the time of flowering, herbaceous. Inflorescence terminal, a few- to many-flowered raceme. Flowers small, resupinate, usually brownish or green with a white lip. Sepals free. Petals free, about as long as the dorsal sepal, usually cohering at the apices. Lip without spur, not mobile, at the base with one or two papillae on each side. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 2, sectile, caudicles present, stipe present (always?), viscidium present.

Tropical Africa, tropical continental Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Pacific islands, east to Samoa and Tonga. About 50 species; in New Guinea about 7 species.

Terrestrial in evergreen lowland and montane forest, one species [Zeuxine strateumatica (L.) Schltr.] in grassland, even occurring as a lawn weed e.g. in Singapore and Florida.

A poorly studied genus of inconspicuous terrestrials, related to Myrmechis, Cheirostylis, Rhomboda, Hetaeria, and Anoectochilus. All these genera agree in an obscure, but important detail, in that the stigmatic surface, i.e. the part of the flower that receives the pollen, is clearly divided into two separate lobes, situated on the sides of the column near its apex. In contrast to some other genera in this alliance, Zeuxine has plain green foliage and thus little horticultural appeal.

Schlechter (1911) divided the genus into three sections. One of these, sect. Hetaeriopsis, is now a synonym of the genus Rhomboda. Of the two remaining sections, sect. Eu-Zeuxine (properly sect. Zeuxine) contains only the aberrant, narrow-leaved Zeuxine strateumatica (syn. Zeuxine wariana Schltr.). All the other species belong to the section Monochilus, with broader leaves that are clearly differentiated into a sheath and a blade.