By Nina Rach
In the Foreword to Orchidiana Philippiniana, Dr. Helen Valmayor writes “Philippine orchids continue to fascinate orchid growers because of their sheer variety and number. ... There are a fair number of terrestrial orchids, such as Calanthe, Habernaria, Eulophia, Malaxis, Phaius, Zeuxine and Ludisia. Some have very attractive flowers like the Calanthe, Phaius and Spathoglottis. Others belong to the so-called “Jewel Orchids,” which are cultivated for their attractive foliage, like Zeuxine, Ludisia, and Anoectochilus.”
Some Terrestrial Genera in the Philippines:
Acanthephippium Blume (1837)
Named from the Greek akantha (thorn) and ephippion (saddle). The genus is easily recognized by the large, urn-shaped flowers. 15 species overall, one in the Philippines: A. mantinianum (L.) Linden & Cogn., which grows as a large plant with erect stems and thin, broad leaves. Flowers are large (4cm) and fleshy, yellow with red.
Anoectochilus Blume (1825)
Derived from the Greek words anoectos (open) and cheilos (lip). 25 species overall; according to Ames (1915), one of these “jewel orchids” is found in the Philippines. Allied to Eucosia, Goodyera and Macodes, and grows in deep shade in leaf litter The plants have dark green leaves with red veins, red underside, and white flowers; column has two wings.
Aphyllorchis Blume (1825)
From the Greek a (without), phyllon
(leaf), and orchis (testicle) referring to the leafless state of these
orchids. 20 species overall, three in the Philippines (all leafless saprophytes
with thick fleshy roots and open, starry flowers):
A. halconensis Ames grows to 115cm tall on Mt. Halcon, with bluish-purple and white flowers; A. montana Rchb.f. grows to 40cm tall in dry, pine forest ridges, with yellow and brown flowers; A. pallida Bl. grows to 30cm tall in humid forests, flowers grey & purple.
Apostasia Blume (1825)
From the Greek word apostasia (separation, divorce). Six species overall; according to Comber (1990) one grows in the Philippines: Apostasia wallichi R. Br. Ex Wall. Is an evergreen terrestrial grows in moist soils in shady ridge forests and has slender branched stems to 30cm and yellowish flowers about 1cm across.
Appendicula Blume (1825)
Genus name derived from the Latin word appendicula (little appendix), describing the appendiculate calluses of the lip. 110 species divided into five sections; 23 species known in the Philippines; mostly epiphytic, with the following exceptions: Appendicula anceps Bl. is a 15-cm tall terrestrial with terminal inflorescenses of tiny, yellowish-green flowers. Appendicula micrantha Lindl. grows near streams, both epiphytically and terrestrially to 50 cm, and bears tiny, white and purple flowers clustered at the base of the leaves, close to the stem.
Arachnis Blume (1825)
Bromheadia Lindley (1841)
Named for Sir Edward French Bromhead. 11 species; two in the Philippines, one is terrestrial: Bromheadia finlaysoniana
(Lindl.) Rchb.f. Grows to 1m, occasionally 2m, bearing erect inflorescenses with one or two starry, white to cream-colored flowers open at a time; lip yellow with purple spots.
Calanthe R. Brown (1821)
The genus name derives from the Greek calos (beautiful) and anthos (a flower). 150 species found over a wide range, with 14 found in the Philippines (9 endemic*); 12 of these are terrestrial, with large pleated leaves and fleshy, corm-like pseudobulbs:
Calanthe angustifolia (Bl.) Lindl. conspicua Lindl.*
davaensis Ames* elmeri Ames*
halconensis Ames* lacerata Ames*
maquilingensis Ames* mcgregorii Ames*
mindorensis Ames* pulchra (Bl.) Lindl.
triplicata (Willem.) Ames vestita Lindl.
Cephalantheropsis Guillaumin (1960)
Two species in the Philippines: Ceph. Gracilis (Lindl.) S.Y. Yu, which grows to 60cm tall with long, axillary inflorescenses; and Ceph. Halconensis (Ames) Liu & Siu, growing to 10 cm tall with slender pseudobulbs and white flowers.
Cheirostylis Blume (1825)
From the Greek cheir (hand) and stylis (style), named presumably for the flowers resemblance to a hand. Allied to Zeuxine; about 20 species overall, with two in the Philippines: Cheir. chinensis Rolfe, a succulent terrestrial 6-12 cm high bearing white flowers with two green blotches in the throat; and Cheir. octodactyla Ames, short and stout, 4-8cm high with white, 1cm flowers. Grows in mossy thickets and not recommended for cultivation.
Coelogyne Lindley (1825)
Name derived from the Greek koilos (hollow) and gyne (female). About 150 species, mostly epiphytic, but some are lithophytic and others “grow as terrestrials in grassy meadows or rocky places”. Very hardy and capable of withstanding droughts.
Name taken from the Greek kystis (bladder) and orchis (testicle). One of the “Jewel orchids.”
Jim Comber (1990). Orchids of Java.
Eduardo Quisumbing (1951). “Coelogyne of the Philippines,” in: Phil. Orchid Rev. 4(2):8-14.
Helen L. Valmayor (1984) Orchidiana Philippiniana. Manila: Eugenio Lopez Foundation, two volumes in slipcases.