Phymatidium Lindl.

This genus is accepted, and its native range is E. & S. Brazil to NE. Argentina.


De Brito, A. (2007). A Taxonomic Revision of the Genus Phymatidium (Orchidaceae: Oncidiinae). Kew Bulletin, 62(4), 529-560. Retrieved from

Morphology General Habit
Delicate, monopodial epiphytic herbs, usually forming dense and intricate clumps
Morphology Leaves
Leaves few to many in a dense and irregular spiral along the stem, unifacial, rarely bifacial, non-articulated, erect or spreading, rarely arching, coriaceous or rarely soft and slightly fleshy, usually somewhat falcate and ensiform to linear subulate, usually somewhat twisted and asymmetric, often varying in cross-section in the same specimen and the same leaf, semi-terete, subterete, oval, semi oval to 3-angled in cross-section, rarely dorsiventrally flattened, slightly sheathing and shortly decurrent at base, acute or acuminate, pale-green
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers few to many, small, usually resupinate, with spreading segments or not opening widely, usually white with a green centre
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals free, subsimilar, variable in shape, membranaceous, acute to obtuse, carinate abaxially, with entire margins; the dorsal sepal usually slightly concave; lateral sepals usually falcate and oblique, spreading, porrect, reflexed or curved upwards
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Column
Column short, somewhat clavate, usually sigmoid, incurved or geniculate, wingless or auriculate and usually recurved near the often strongly sigmoid apex; the auricles rarely reduced to small flaps on each side of the column near the level of the rostellum; stigmatic cavity usually small, ovate to elliptic, located at base of the column, rarely large and occupying almost a third of the column; rostellum entire or 3-lobed, very short or conspicuous, curved or projecting forward, rarely recurved and somewhat hooked; base of the column extended into an usually thick, swollen, and variously shaped tabula infrastigmatica (absent in one species), which is often flanked at the base, near the stigmatic cavity, by two fleshy auricles or arm-like appendages; clinandrium ventral or dorsal; anther terminal, ventral or somewhat dorsal, operculate or hooded, ovate, narrowly ovate, slightly clavate to somewhat panduriform in outline, usually distinctly beaked, acute to obtuse, usually very shortly recurved and emarginate at apex; pollinia 4, arranged in two superposed unequal or slightly unequal pairs, usually globose, pyriform, obovoid or clavate, each pair attached to stipe apex by cupulate or lanceolate flange-shaped caudices; viscidium ventral, small, concave, ovate to elliptic. Fruits pedicellate, capsular, subglobose, weakly ridged, somewhat carinate to markedly winged, often with persistent perianth.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals free, variable in shape, usually slightly oblique, spreading, erect, arching upwards, inflexed or recurved, acute to obtuse; the margins entire, rarely waved or sinuate, often slightly convex, abaxially slightly carinate Lip free, usually deflexed and convex, variable in shape when spread, sessile or broadly unguiculate with a cordiform, rarely rhombic blade, acute to distinctly acuminate, base provided adaxially with a fleshy, concave, usually somewhat ligulate callus which is glandular within; margins usually denticulate or erose near the middle, rarely entire
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary pedicellate, slightly angular to slightly 3-keeled
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Pedicel
Pedicel somewhat twisted and angular, often bent near the apex
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences 1 to many, few- to many-flowered, racemose, laxly flowered, axillary, occasionally producing flowering plantlets; peduncle usually angular to somewhat elliptic in cross section, usually finely papillose on the angles, somewhat flexuous to slightly zig-zag, often somewhat twisted, covered by few to several widely spaced, usually subulate sterile bracts; rachis usually angular, flexuous to zig-zag; floral bracts similar to the sterile ones
Morphology Roots
Roots few to many, terete, flexuous, glabrous or papillose, usually thick, somewhat flexuous, occasionally quite long and forming a cluster of several adnate roots or an intricate clump of several roots, usually scattered along the stem and arising from the base of the leaf-sheath
Morphology Stem
Stem very short, inconspicuous or rarely elongated, terete, ascending, usually proliferous, often irregularly branched, each branch usually producing roots and flowers
The generic name derives from the Greek phyma, a tumour or swelling, plus the Greek diminutive suffix idium, probably in reference to the often thick and swollen tabula infrastigmatica.
Lectotype: Phymatidium delicatum Lindl. (designated by Toscano de Brito 2001).
Vegetative Multiplication Pseudobulbs
Pseudobulbs absent

Native to:

Argentina Northeast, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Paraguay

Phymatidium Lindl. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 209 (1833)

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. (2009). Epidendroideae (Part two) Genera Orchidacearum 5: 1-585. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford.
  • Toscano de Brito, A.L.V. (2007). A taxonomic revision of the genus Phymatidium (Orchidaceae: Oncidiinae) Kew Bulletin 62: 529-560.


Kew Bulletin

  • Cogniaux, A. (1904 - 1906). Orchidaceae. In: C. F. P. Martius, A. G. Eichler & I. Urban, Flora Brasiliensis, Vol. 3, Part 6. Munich & Leipzig.
  • Cogniaux, A. (1907). Notes sur les orchidées du Brésil et des régions voisines. Bull. Soc. Roy. Bot. Belgique 43: 266 - 356.
  • Lindley, J. (1830 - 1840). The Genera and Species of Orchidaceous Plants. Ridgways, London.
  • Pabst, G. F. J. & Dungs, F. (1977). Orchidaceae Brasilienses, Vol. 2. Brucke-Verlag Kurt Schmersow, Hildesheim.
  • Pfitzer, E. (1889). Orchidaceae. In: A. Engler & K. Prantl, Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien 11 (6): 52 - 224. Wilhelm Engelmann, Leipzig.
  • Senghas, K. (1995). Tribus Oncidieae. subtribus Telipogoninae and subtribus Ornithocephalinae. In: F. G. Brieger, R. Maatsch & K. Senghas (eds.), Schlechtere Die Orchideen 3: 1863 - 1913.
  • Toscano de Brito, A. L. V. (2001). Systematic review of the Ornithocephalus Group (Oncidiinaer, Orchidaceae) with comments on Hofmeisterella. Lindleyana 16: 157 - 217.

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