Pteroceras Hasselt ex Hassk.

This genus is accepted, and its native range is India to S. Central China and Malesia.


Pteroceras presently comprises 27 species distributed from India and Sri Lanka to Maluku. The centre of distribution is Borneo.


Pedersen (1993) noted that most species of Pteroceras seem to be lowland plants with an upper elevational limit of 1000 m. Pteroceras species are typically found in evergreen rain forests (lowland, hill, and upper montane) but are also recorded from mangrove swamps, scrub, rocky seashores, and isolated trees in open fields.

General Description

Epiphytic or rarely lithophytic herbs. Stem producing leaves from apex while gradually dying from its base, terete, glabrous, erect to pendent, usually unbranched. Leaves sessile, articulate, up to c. 17 per flowering shoot, distichously arranged, spreading, conduplicate, coriaceous, rarely semi-terete, linear to narrowly elliptic, unequally bilobed to acute. Inflorescence racemose, rarely oneflowered with the only flower being terminal, up to 30 per shoot; peduncle sub-terete, glabrous to prickly; rachis (if present) (sub) terete or laterally compressed, glabrous to prickly, sometimes dilated at floral nodes into semi-lanceolate wings or keels; floral bracts persistent, shorter than ovary. Flowers to about 1.5 cm across, variously coloured, usually sweetly scented, up to c. 190 per rachis, spirally or distichously arranged, usually resupinate, usually developing successively. Sepals and petals free, spreading, often concave and/or carinate, truncate to acute, sometimes prickly on exterior; lateral sepals adnate to column foot for at least some distance. Labellum sessile or nearly so, continuing the line of the column foot to which it is movably hinged, trilobed, central part of blade developed into a porrect spur, side lobes erect, sometimes partly embracing column, midlobe strongly modified, appearing as a ridge-, crest-, cone-, or saddle-shaped callus, a tiny tooth, or simply a slight thickening of upper wall; up to three small calli (or a high transverse wall) present above spur entrance, between bases of side lobes and midlobe; spur sac-like to elongate, outer surface smooth to pustulate, glabrous to hairy, inner surface never developed into calli but sometimes hairy; surface of all parts of labellum finely rugose-papillose in some species. Column continuing the line of ovary, subterete to clavate, column foot distinct, sometimes finely rugose-papillose; anther terminal, strongly incumbent, pollinia two, sulcate (very rarely four, entire, closely appressed in two pairs), stipe longer than viscidium, viscidium variously shaped; stigmatic cavity deep; rostellum deeply bifid after removal of pollinarium. Ovary glabrous to prickly. Capsule cylindric to winged-triangular, often with a short beak.


No uses have been reported for Pteroceras; some species are sometimes cultivated.

Native to:

Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, China South-Central, East Himalaya, India, Jawa, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Maluku, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicobar Is., Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Thailand, Vietnam, West Himalaya

Pteroceras Hasselt ex Hassk. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Feb 1, 1998 Yong, R. [106], Malaysia 70787.000
Dressler, R.L., Malaysia 48732.000
Dickson, M. [MD 106], Indonesia 60972.000

First published in Flora 25(2 Beibl.): 6 (1842)

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:

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    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.