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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Orchidaceae

30. Habenaria Willdenow, Sp. Pl. 4(1): 5, 44. 1805.

Rein orchid [Latin habena, rein or strap]

Charles J. Sheviak

Herbs perennial, terrestrial or semiaquatic, often rather succulent. Roots scattered along basal portion of stem, both slender and tuberous, fleshy; tuberoids usually spheroid. Stems: leaves basal, abruptly reduced to bracts or scattered, gradually reduced toward inflorescence. Leaves several, alternate, ascending to spreading, conduplicate, bases sheathing stem. Inflorescences terminal, lax to rather dense spicate racemes; bracts large and foliaceous to reduced. Flowers few to many, resupinate, pedicellate, sometimes showy; petals 2-lobed, lateral lobe on abaxial margin; lip 3-lobed, spurred at base; pollinaria 2; pollinia 2; viscidia free; stigma with 2 fleshy processes flanking or encircling mouth of spur. Fruits capsules, ellipsoid.

Species ca. 600 (4 in the flora): pantropical.

A recently identified species, Habenaria macroceratitis, is described but not fully treated here.


Ames, O. 1905–1922. Orchidaceae: Illustrations and Studies of the Family Orchidaceae Issuing from the Ames Botanical Laboratory…. 7 vols. Boston and New York. Vol. 4.

1 Lateral lobes of lip and petals greatly reduced; lip hastate-auriculate; petals auriculate on abaxial margin.   1 Habenaria odontopetala
+ Lateral lobes of lip and petals prominently filiform, nearly equal to or exceeding other lobes; lip conspicuously 3-lobed; petals conspicuously 2-lobed.   (2)
2 (1) Spur more than 4 cm (often much more).   2 Habenaria quinqueseta
+ Spur at most 2 cm (often much shorter).   (3)
3 (2) Leaves basal, spreading, broadly elliptic to ovate or obovate; spur slenderly clavate.   3 Habenaria distans
+ Leaves scattered along length of stem, ascending, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, narrowly elliptic, or oblanceolate; spur slenderly cylindric to scarcely clavate.   4 Habenaria repens

Lower Taxa


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