From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Swamp orchids
Phaius rosellus
1847 illustration
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Collabieae
Genus: Phaius

Phaius, commonly known as swamp orchids[2] or in Chinese as 鶴頂蘭屬/鹤顶兰属 (he ding lan shu),[3] is a genus of forty-five species of flowering plants in the orchid family, Orchidaceae. They are evergreen, terrestrial herbs which form clumps with crowded, sometimes stem-like pseudobulbs, large, pleated leaves and relatively large, often colourful flowers. Species in this genus are found in the tropical parts of Africa, Asia, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Australia, and various islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.[1] One species is also naturalized in Hawaii, Florida, and the Caribbean.[4]


Orchids in the genus Phaius are evergreen, terrestrial, sympodial herbs with thin underground rhizomes and crowded above ground, sometimes stem-like pseudobulbs. There are several pleated, stalked leaves emerging from the pseudobulb. The flower stalk is unbranched and bears a few to many moderately large, resupinate, often colourful flowers. The sepals and petals are similar in size and shape and the labellum has three lobes and a shallow pouch near its base.[2][3][5][6][7]

Taxonomy and naming[edit]

The genus Phaius was first formally described in 1790 by João de Loureiro and the description was published in his book Flora Cochinchinensis.[8][9] The specific epithet (Phaius) is derived from the Ancient Greek word phaios meaning "dusky" or "brown",[10] referring to the brownish colour of the flowers of many species in this genus.[5]

List of species[edit]

The following is a list of Phaius species recognised by Plants of the World Online as of September 2023:[11]


Orchids in the genus Phaius are found in tropical Africa, India, tropical and subtropical China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Polynesia and Australia. Nine species, four of which are endemic, occur in China and three species including two endemics are found in Australia. The Australian species are found in Queensland, the Northern Territory and New South Wales.[3][5]


  1. ^ a b c "Phaius". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  2. ^ a b Jones, David L. (2006). A complete guide to native orchids of Australia including the island territories. Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: New Holland. p. 361. ISBN 1877069124.
  3. ^ a b c Chen, Xinqi; Cribb, Phillip J.; Bell, Alexandra. "Phaius". Flora of China. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  4. ^ Biota of North America Program, county distribution map
  5. ^ a b c D.L.Jones; T.Hopley; S.M.Duffy (2010). "Phaius". Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids. Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research (CANBR), Australian Government. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  6. ^ Weston, Peter H. "Phaius". Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Genus Phaius". Orchids of New Guinea. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Phaius". APNI. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  9. ^ de Loureiro, João (1790). Flora Cochinchinensis. Vol. 2. Lisbon. p. 517. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  10. ^ Brown, Roland Wilbur (1956). The Composition of Scientific Words. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 168.
  11. ^ "Phaius". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  12. ^ "Phaius pictus". Australian Plant Name Index, IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Phaius at Wikimedia Commons
  • Data related to Phaius at Wikispecies