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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Orchidaceae

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.

1 Sepals (12–)15–26 mm; pedicellate ovary 9–18 mm; column foot present.   1 Bletia purpurea
+ Sepals 30–40 mm; pedicellate ovary 20–35 mm; column foot absent.   2 Bletia patula

Lower Taxa


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