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Genus Cryptostylis Family Orchidaceae
Common Name: Tongue orchids

Description: Terrestrial herbs wit leaves and inflorescences arising from a crowded rhizome; roots subterranean, usually fleshy.

Leaves absent or basal and 1 per shoot, convolute, often purple on lower surface, distinctly petiolate.

Inflorescence racemose, >1-flowered, lateral; flowers not resupinate. Sepals and lateral petals free, similar, narrow. Labellum free, attached at base of column; lamina not lobed, insectiform, with 1–4 basal, longitudinal keels and sometimes a terminal callus. Column lacking free filament and style, stubby; column wings partly to the side and back of anther and often exceeding it in height. Column foot absent. Anther erect, parallel to the axis of the column, persistent. Pollinia 4, granular. Stigma entire. Rostellum ventral.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 20 species, Malesia, Australia, New Caledonia, Melanesia. Australia: 5 species (3 species endemic), all States except N.T.

Various species are pollinated by male ichneumon-wasps (Lissopimpla semipunctata).

Text by P. H. Weston
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Leaves absentCryptostylis hunteriana
Leaves present2
2Labellum straight, spreading or angled downwards, with revolute margins forming a tube; leaves dark green to yellow green on both surfacesCryptostylis subulata
Labellum abruptly erect just above the base enclosing the column, margins not revolute; leaves dark green above, purple beneath
                       Back to 1
3
3Labellum 10–15 mm wide, deeply concave forming a hood, not recurved at the tip, mostly lilac with conspicuous maroon striationsCryptostylis erecta
Labellum 4–5 mm wide, with recurved margins, recurved at the tip, maroon with black central stripe and a row of 6–9 black spots on each side
                       Back to 2
Cryptostylis leptochila

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