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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

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



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.


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)


M. monophyllos (L.) Sw. subsp. brachypoda (A. Gray) Á. Löve & D. Löve


Plant 10–15 cm; caudex bulb-like
Leaf 1, 4–5.5 cm, widely lanceolate to ovate, sheath 2–3 cm
Inflorescence: raceme, 2–6 cm, open; pedicels < 1.5 mm
Flower green to yellow; sepals 1–2 mm, narrowly lanceolate; lateral petals ± = lip, linear, ± curved behind flower; lip 1.5–3 mm, triangular, base cordate, tip beak-like; column < 1 mm
Fruit 3.5–5.5 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=28
Ecology: Wet meadows, shaded places, coniferous forest
Elevation: 2200–2700 m.
Bioregional distribution: San Bernardino Mountains, San Jacinto Mountains (where presumed extinct)
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, ne N.America, Colorado
Synonyms: M. brachypoda (A. Gray) Fernald
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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bioregional map for MALAXIS%20monophyllos%20subsp.%20brachypoda being generated

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