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ORCHIDACEAE ORCHID FAMILY

Ronald A. Coleman, Dieter H. Wilken & William F. Jennings, except as noted

Perennial herb, terrestrial [growing on other plants], non-green (nutrition from association of roots with fungi) or green, generally from rhizomes or tubers with few to many fleshy to slender roots; cauline leaves ± reduced to sheathing stem bracts or not. Leaf: 1–many, basal to cauline, linear to ± round, alternate to opposite (if only 1 pair), generally sessile. Inflorescence: flowers 1–many, spike or raceme, bracted. Flower: bisexual, bilateral, in bud generally rotating 180° by twisting ovary (position of parts indicated after twisting); sepals generally 3, generally free, generally petal-like, uppermost generally erect, lateral with chin- or spur-like projection (mentum) or not; petals 3, 1 (lip) different, spurred or not; stamens generally 1 (3 in Cypripedium, 2 functional, 1 a staminode), fused with style, stigma into column, pollen generally lumped, generally removed as unit by insect; ovary inferior, 1-chambered, placentas 3, parietal, stigma 3 lobed, generally under column tip. Fruit: capsule. Seed: many, minute.
± 800 genera, ± 25000 species: especially tropics (worldwide except Antarctica). Many cultivated for ornamental, especially Cattleya, Cymbidium, Epidendrum, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum; Vanilla planifolia Andrews fruits used to flavor food. [Romero-Gonzalez et al. 2002 FNANM 26:490–651] Platanthera may be paraphyletic without inclusion of Piperia (Bateman et al. 2009 Ann Bot 104:431–445); study needed. —Scientific Editors: Ronald A. Coleman, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Luer 1975 Orchids US and Can, NY Bot Garden; Coleman 1995 Wild Orchids of California. Cornell Univ.]

Key to Orchidaceae

MALAXIS
Caudex short, slender to bulb-like; rhizome 0. Leaf: ± basal, 1(2[5]), sheathing. Inflorescence: raceme [spike]; bracts << flowers. Flower: lower sepals free [basally united], spreading to ascending, generally green; lateral petals generally narrower than sepals, spreading to erect, lip spreading to ± pendent; column generally > petals, oblong to triangular, generally concave. Fruit: spreading to erect.
± 200 species: worldwide (except Africa). (Greek: soft, from leaves)

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Next taxon: Malaxis monophyllos var. brachypoda

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Nov 1 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Malaxis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=10955, accessed on Nov 1 2014

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