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Acanthephippium javanicum.jpg
Acanthephippium javanicum
1850 illustration[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Collabieae
Alliance: Calanthe
Genus: Acanthephippium
Blume, 1825

See Section Species

Acanthephippium is a genus of orchid with twelve species (family Orchidaceae). The name of this genus is derived from the Greek words acanthos ("spiny") and ephippion ("saddle"), referring to the saddle-like labellum of the plants.

This terrestrial and sometimes myco-heterotrophic genus of sympodial orchids is distributed from the Indian subcontinent to China, Japan, Southeast Asia, New Guinea and the southwest Pacific.[2]

The terrestrial species are up to 80 cm tall. They have short rhizomes. The oblong and fleshy pseudobulbs are up to 25 cm tall. They produce at their apex 2 to 3 large plicate, lanceolate, parallel-veined leaves, which can be up to 65 cm long.[3]

The erect inflorescence arises laterally from the pseudobulbs, with 3 to 6 flowers, subtended by large, glabrous bracts. The flowers are prominent, large, striated cup- or urn-shaped, fleshy, waxy, and about 4 cm long. They resemble a tulip, a most unusual shape for an orchid. The flowers have a wide range of colors, from dull yellow to red to shades of orange and pink, marked with stripes or spots. The blossoms are usually odiferous with a very strong fragrance.[3]

This genus is allied to genera Calanthe, Cephalantheropsis, Phaius, and Spathoglottis.


  1. Acanthephippium bicolor (S. India, Sri Lanka, New Guinea).
  2. Acanthephippium chrysoglossum (W. Sumatra).
  3. Acanthephippium curtisii (Borneo - Sarawak).
  4. Acanthephippium eburneum (N. Sumatra, Borneo - Sarawak).
  5. Acanthephippium gougahensis (Thailand, Vietnam).
  6. Acanthephippium javanicum (W. Malaysia, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, New Guinea). (type species; commonly grown)
  7. Acanthephippium lilacinum (N. Borneo).
  8. Acanthephippium mantinianum (Philippines) (commonly grown)
  9. Acanthephippium parviflorum (Vietnam, S. Sumatra to Java).
  10. Acanthephippium sinense (China)
  11. Acanthephippium splendidum (Sulawesi to SW. Pacific, New Guinea).
  12. Acanthephippium striatum (E. Himalaya to Java). (commonly grown)
  13. Acanthephippium sylhetense (Sikkim to Philippines)


  1. ^ Fitch del. et lith. (= Walter Hood Fitch, 1817-1892) William Jackson Hooker (1785—1865) ed. - "Curtis's botanical magazine" vol. 76 ser. 3 nr. 6 tab. 4492
  2. ^ Flora of China, v 25 p 309, 坛花兰属 tan hua lan shu, Acanthephippium Blume, Bijdr. 353. 1825.
  3. ^ a b Thomas, S.A. 1997 - Taxonomic revision of the genus Acanthephippium (Orchidaceae). Orchid Monographs, Vol. 8, pp. 119–134, 178-179, 236-246, figures 56-66, plates 5c-6d. Rijksherbarium / Hortus Botanicus, Leiden, The Netherlands.

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