38. Bletia Ruiz & Pavon, Fl. Peruv. Prodr. 119, plate 26. 1794.
[For Luis Blet, a Catalonian apothecary of the eighteenth century who accompanied Ruiz and Pavón on their New World explorations]
James D. Ackerman
Plants herbs, terrestrial, cespitose, sympodial. Roots fleshy, velamentous. Stems short, stout rhizomes and pseudobulbs. Leaves deciduous, 3–5, basal and cauline, petiolate; blade articulate, pleated, thin. Inflorescences lateral, racemes or sparsely branched panicles, erect, scapose, 3–80-flowered; floral bracts distant, tubular. Flowers resupinate; sepals and petals subsimilar, distinct; lip attached to base of column, margins entire to 3-lobed; disc smooth, lamellate or with 5–7 denticulate crests; column elongate, arcuate, sometimes winged distally; anther terminal, incumbent; pollinia 8 in 2 sets of 4, yellow, compressed, hard, waxy or rarely mealy; stigma entire; ovary pedicellate. Fruits capsules, cylindric.
Species 31 (2 in the flora): s Florida, Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America.
Dodson, C. H. and P. M. Dodson. 1980. Bletia purpurea. Icon. Pl. Trop. 1: plate 7. Dressler, R. L. 1968. Notes on Bletia (Orchidaceae). Brittonia 20: 182–190.