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Little, brown orchids

August 10, 2011

There is a group of native Thai orchid genera with small brownish flowers which may resemble each other quite a lot. These orchids are monopodial epiphytes  without pseudobulbs. The lip usually has a prominent spur.

1. Pollinia 4, sometimes densely packed in two bodies (press the bodies gently to see if they split). 2.

1. Pollinia 2……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………4.

2. Cut the spur: Large tumour-like structure (callus) at the mouth of the spur…………….Cleisostoma.

2. Cut the spur: No callus, or no spur at all…………………………………………………………………………….3.

3. Cut the spur: Erect lamellae inside…………………………………………………………………..Pomatocalpa.

3. No spur, or if a spur then lip with a hairy lamella……………………………………………….Trichoglottis.

4. Pollinia cleft. Lip not recurved…………………………………………………………………………….Robiquetia.

4. Pollinia entire. Lip clearly recurved………………………………………………………………………...Malleola.

Pelatantheria is another genus which is considered synonymous with Cleisostoma.

Staurochilus is now synonymous with Trichoglottis.

Phalaenopsis (Lesliea) mirabilis has fairly large flowers (7mm) and 4 solid pollinia. Only in Thailand.

Malleola dentifera (Orchidaceae) is the sole representative of its genus here in northern Thailand. The picture is from the Orchid Ark at Dokmai Garden in Chiang Mai. Note the characteristic recurved lip in the left background flower! July 31, 2011.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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