Luisia Gaudich.

This genus is accepted, and its native range is Tropical & Subtropical Asia to W. Pacific.

General Description

Epiphytic or lithophytic herbs. Roots flattened, borne from lower nodes. Stem elongate, erect or climbing, often branched at base giving a tufted habit, some with a single shoot, terete, usually stiff, enclosed in leaf-bases. Leaves many, well-spaced, linear, terete, distichous, quaquaversal or secund, articulated to a tubular sheathing base. Inflorescence lateral, erect or ascending, racemose, subsessile, fewer than 10-flowered, with few to several flowers opening simultaneously, sometimes reduced to a solitary flower; peduncle and rachis attenuate, rachis congested. Flowers resupinate, usually greenish with a maroon labellum, continuing to increase in size for some days after they open, long lasting. Sepals and petals free, similar or petals longer and narrower, spreading, lateral sepals often cymbiform and dorsally carinate or narrowly winged toward apex. Labellum firmly adnate to base of column, spur absent, pendent, flat, often distinctly divided by a transverse, curved furrow into a narrow basal hypochile and a broader apical epichile of different thickness and texture, hypochile often concave, base sometimes with lateral lobes embracing column, epichile often extending forward, adaxial surface often longitudinally wrinkled, grooved or tuberculaterugose. Column straight, semi-cylindrical, column foot absent, clinandrium shallowly excavate; anther cap terminal, operculate, pollinia two, waxy, globular, solid, with a short slit, caudicles absent, attached by a short and broad stipe to a single short, broad viscidium; rostellum apex subtruncate, entire or slightly emarginate; stigma transverse. Ovary triangular in cross-section.


Schill and Pfeiffer (1977) studied pollen of L. teretifolia Gaudich. (= L. tristis (G.Forst) Hook.f.) and an unknown entity named ‘L. birdean’, which might have been L. birchea Blume (= L. tenuifolia Blume). Pollen tetrads were convex with a laevigate surface.


Species are epiphytic in forests, sometimes lithophytic, at 0 to 2000 m.


The approximately 40 species of Luisia are collectively distributed in Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan, China, Thailand, Indochina, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, New Guinea, and east to Fiji and Samoa in the Pacific islands.


Subedi et al. (2011) reported the use in Nepal of a paste made from the leaves of L. trichorrhiza (Hook.) Blume applied externally against muscular pain and of the sap of L. tristis to treat chronic wounds. Similar and other medicinal uses have been reported for Luisia species from India, Sri Lanka, China, and Vietnam (Lawler 1984). Various species of Luisia are sometimes cultivated.

Doubtfully present in:


Native to:

Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Bismarck Archipelago, Borneo, Cambodia, China South-Central, China Southeast, East Himalaya, Fiji, Hainan, India, Japan, Jawa, Korea, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Maluku, Marianas, Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Guinea, Nicaragua, Nicobar Is., Northern Territory, Ogasawara-shoto, Philippines, Queensland, Samoa, Solomon Is., Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Taiwan, Thailand, Vanuatu, Vietnam, West Himalaya

Luisia Gaudich. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Voy. Uranie: 426 (1829)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Monocotyledons Database in ACCESS: 1-71827. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Pridgeon, A.M., Cribb, P.J., Chase, M.C. & Rasmussen, F.N. (2014). Genera Orchidacearum 6: 1-544. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford.

  • Aeridinae:

    All Rights Reserved

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.