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Genus Cheirostylis Family Orchidaceae

Description: Terrestrial or humus-epilithic herbs, sympodial; roots reduced to hairy discs on the underside of the rhizome. Stems differentiated into a thick horizontal rhizome with constrictions at the nodes and thin erect leafy portion.

Leaves often withered at flowering time, scattered along the stem and tufted at apex, 3 or more per shoot, convolute, shortly petiolate.

Inflorescence racemose, 1–several-flowered, terminal; flowers resupinate. Dorsal sepal fused to lateral sepals for about half their length. Lateral sepals fused to each other almost to the tips, about as long as, but narrower than dorsal sepal. Lateral petals free, as long as, but narrower than dorsal sepal. Labellum free, attached at base of column, shallowly saccate at the base, with 2 calli in the sac; lamina 2-lobed, the lobes terminally toothed, unornamented. Column lacking free filament and style; column wings absent; column foot absent. Anther erect, parallel to the axis of the column, persistent. Pollinia 2, granular. Stigma with 2 distinct, lateral lobes. Rostellum of 2 prominent lateral parallel arms projecting beyond anther apex.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 15 species, southern Asia, Malesia, Australia. Australia: 1 species (endemic).

Text by P. H. Weston
Taxon concept:

One species in NSW: Cheirostylis ovata

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