Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

 
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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

ORCHIDACEAE

ORCHID FAMILY

Dieter H. Wilken and William F. Jennings

Perennial, terrestrial in CA, some nongreen, generally from rhizomes
Leaves linear to ± round or scale-like, generally sessile
Inflorescence: generally raceme or spike, bracted
Flower bisexual, bilateral, sometimes spurred; sepals generally 3, generally petal-like, generally free, uppermost generally erect; petals 3, lowest different ("lip"); stamen generally 1, fused with style and stigma into column, pollen generally sticky, generally removed as sessile anther sacs; ovary inferior, generally twisted 180° (so lip appears to be lowest perianth segment), 1-chambered, placentas 3, parietal; stigmas 3, generally under column tip
Fruit: capsule
Seeds very many, minute
Genera in family: ± 800 genera, ± 18,000 species: especially tropical (worldwide except deserts). Many cultivated for ornamental, especially Cattelya, Cymbidium, Epidendrum, Oncidium, Paphiopedalum; Vanilla planifolia fruits used as source of food flavoring
Reference: [Luer 1975 Orchids US and Can, NY Bot Garden; Coleman 1995 Wild Orchids of California, Cornell Univ.]
Nongreen plants derive nutrition through fungal intermediates.

MALAXIS

Caudex short, slender to bulb-like; rhizome 0
Leaves ± basal, 1–5, sheathing
Inflorescence: spike or raceme; bracts << flowers
Flower: lower sepals free, spreading to ascending, generally green; lateral petals generally < and narrower than sepals, spreading to erect; lip spreading to ± pendent; column generally > petals, oblong to triangular, generally concave
Fruit spreading to erect
Species in genus: ± 100 species: worldwide (except Africa)
Etymology: (Greek: soft, from leaves)

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