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This species is accepted, and its native range is Lesser Sunda Islands (Komodo).
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


Motes, M. & Roberts, D.L. 2013. Vanda perplexa (Orchidaceae): a new species from the Lesser Sunda Islands. Kew Bulletin 68: 337.

Data Deficient, although conserved in Komodo National Park where it is the most abundant orchid species (pers. comm.).
Indonesia: Rinac, Komodo National Park; Bima on Sumbawa, western Nusa Tenggara.
Morphology General Habit
Erect herb, 50 cm high
Morphology Leaves
Leaves ligulate, unequally apically acutely bilobed, praemorse, up to 230 mm long, 20 mm wide
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers russet, suffused white on the back of tepals; pedicel with ovary 24 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Lateral sepals, spathulate, 19 mm long, 13 mm wide Dorsal sepal spathulate, 16 mm long, 11 mm wide
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals spathulate, 18 mm long, 12 mm wide
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Labellum
Labellum pink to pale mauve, thickened, forward pointing, midlobe, rectangular, obscurely bilobed at apex, 22 mm long, 12 – 14 mm wide, lateral lobes oval-Column white, conical, entire, widening at base, 5 mm long, 8 mm wide; rostellum triangular; anther-cap cucullate, glabrous, 3 mm long, 2 mm broad; pollinia 2, hard; viscidia, <1.0 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule 65 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence erect, short, c. 14 cm long, up to 11-flowered; floral bracts sheathing, ovate, 3 mm long
The flower colour, brown sepals and petals and violet/pink lip intermediate in width between Vanda limbata and V. insignis might suggest the possibility that V. perplexa is a natural hybrid between those species. This possibility is precluded by the (a) lack of overlap in the range of these two established insular species, (b) erect inflorescence of V. perplexa in contrast to the lax inflorescence of the other two species, (c) smaller plant stature and (d) flower size (Table 1). The specific epithet perplexa refers to the confusion the identity this taxon has created over the past 300 years. The Vanda furva described by Linnaeus (1763) was based on the drawing in Rumphius’ AmboinscheKruidbook. The most salient part of Rumphius’ description of V. furva was its yellow lip (a feature not otherwise known in the genus in the early 19th century). When a plant from China described by Joseph Hooker (Bot. Mag. 1835: t. 3416) as V. roxburgii var. unicolor appeared, John Lindley jumped to the conclusion that this was Rumphius’ yellow-lipped species (Bot. Reg. 1844: misc. 42). Lindley was apparently in correspondence with Blume who pointed out his error. Lindley (1848), still sure from Rumphius’ description that V. furva was yellow-lipped, described another newly discovered Chinese species as V. furva. This species too proved to be different from Rumphius’ V. furva, and Lindley later described it as V. fuscoviridis. Lindley was therefore doubtless surprised to see the illustration in Blume’s (1848) Rumphia, which has a rosy violet lip. Lindley (1853) in Folia Orchidacea placed a question mark behind Blume’s Latin description of the lip “labellopatulopandurformiglabro (?)” (lip spreading fiddle-shaped glabrous(?)). Affinity to Vanda limbata Blume but lacking a white margin to the petals and sepals, lip rectangular 12 – 14 mm wide (vs lip narrowly pandurate to 10 mm wide), column cylindrical (vs distinct thickening at base), inflorescence erect and compact (vs long and lax) (Fig. 1).
Type: Cult., Motes s.n. (holotype K!; isotype SEL!).

Native to:

Lesser Sunda Is.

Vanda perplexa Motes & D.L.Roberts appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Motes, M. [s.n.] K000891501 holotype
Motes [s.n.] 74902.000 holotype

First published in Kew Bull. 68: 337 (2013)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R., Nic Lughadha, E., Black, N., Turner, R. & Paton, A. (2021). The World Checklist of Vascular Plants, a continuously updated resource for exploring global plant diversity. Scientific Data 8: 215.


Kew Bulletin

  • Blume, K. L. (1848). Rumphia: sive, Commentationesbotanicæimprimis de plantisIndiæOrientalis, tum penitusincognitis tum quæ in libris RheodiiRumphii, Roxburghii, Wallichiialiorumrecensentur. Vol. 4. Leiden.
  • De Wit, H. C. D. (1977). Orchids in Rumphius’ Herbarium Amboinense. In: J. Arditti (ed.), Orchid Biology: Reviews and Perspectives, 1: 47 – 94. Cornell University Press, Cornell.
  • Hooker, J. (1835). Bot. Mag. 1835: t. 3416.
  • Lindley, J. (1844). Vanda furva. Bot. Reg. 39 – 40, misc. 42.
  • Lindley, J. (1848). The Brown and Green Vanda (Vanda fuscoviridis, Lindl.). Gard. Chron. 351.
  • Lindley, J. (1853). Folia Orchidacea. Vol. 4. J. Matthews, London.
  • Linnaeus, C. von. (1763). Species plantarum, editiosecunda. LaurentiiSalvii, Stockholm.
  • Motes, M. & Roberts, D. L. (2008). Vanda furva: three centuries of confusion. Orchid Digest 72: 174 – 178.
  • O’Byrne, P. & Vermuelen, J. (2008). Vanda furva- Partly Resolved. Orchid Rev. 116: 9 – 11.
  • Rumphius, G. E. (2003). Rumphius’ Orchids. Yale University Press, New Haven & London.

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
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Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Kew Bulletin
Kew Bulletin

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.