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Cheirostylis Blume

指柱蘭 (叉柱蘭)屬

LEOU, Chong-Sheng

Small terrestrial herbs without normal roots. Stems decumbent below and rhizome-like, ascending or erect and leafy above; rhizomes often moniliform, with many constricted nodes, internodes with 2 to several rows of root-ridges, longitudinally grooved between root-ridges, ridges densely covered with long hairs; erect stems short or long, sometimes slightly swollen at internodes. Leaves few to many, congested near base of stem or more evenly cauline, ovate, membranaceous, 5-nerved, petioles sheathed at base. Inflorescence terminal, pedunculate or rarely sessile, racemose. Flowers few to many, small, resupinate; sepals membranaceous, connate for more than half their length forming a tube; petals free, falcate, appressed to sepal tube; lip often tripartite and joined with column at base, rarely undivided and attached to base of column, hypochile saccate, bearing 2 or 2 rows of papillae on lateral side, mesochile clawed, epichile protruding beyond sepal tube, dilated and bilobed, lobes dentate or pectinate at margins; column erect, with 2 appendages on ventral side, appendages (stylids) subequal in length and parallel to rostellum, rarely reflexed or low and flange-like; anther terminal on dorsal side of column, erect, 2-celled; pollinia 2, sectile, clavate or cylindrical, with a slender stalk attached to a tegula stipe, stipe as long as or longer than pollinia; stigma 2, on lateral sides of column , near base of restellum; rostellum erect, triangular, deeply cleft into long arms, with long or short viscidium on ventral side.

About 22 species, distributed in tropical Africa and Asia, extending from Pacific islands to Australia and Papua New Guinea. Seven species in Taiwan.


1 Leafy part of stem, less than 2 cm long; leaves 2-4, congested; inflorescence with peduncle much longer than leafy part of stem.   (2)
+ Leafy part of stem longer than 4 cm; leaves 4-7, lower ones distantly arranged; inflorescence with peduncle as long as leafy part of stem or rarely longer, or raceme nearly sessile.   (5)
2 (1) Lip tripartite; ventral appendages of column (stylids) as long as restellum.   (3)
+ Lip undivided; ventral appendages of column (stylids) shorter than restellum or low and flange-like.   (4)
3 (2) Epichile of lip dentate at margins; ovary and sepals hairy.   Cheirostylis chinensis
+ Epichile of lip pectinate at margins; ovary and sepals glabrous.   Cheirostylis cochinchinensis
4 (2) Ovary and sepals glabrous; lip spatulate.   Cheirostylis hungyehensis
+ Ovary and sepals hairy; lip oblong.   Cheirostylis takeoi
5 (1) Leaves pale green on lower surface; inflorescence nearly sessile; flowers 1 or 2, rarely 3; ovary and sepals glabrous.   Cheirostylis inabai
+ Leaves more or less purplish on lower surface; inflorescence pedunculate; flowers many; ovary and sepals hairy.   (6)
6 (5) Leaves broadly ovate or ovate, dark green on upper surface; epichile of lip wavy or shallowly 2-3-toothed.   Cheirostylis liukiuensis
+ Leaves ovate-lanceolate, green but more or less tinged with purple on upper surface; epichile of lip deeply 4-5-laciniate.   Cheirostylis tortilacinia

Lower Taxa

Related Synonym(s):


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