Pholidota (plant)

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Pholidota chinensis.jpg
Pholidota chinensis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Arethuseae
Subtribe: Coelogyninae
Genus: Pholidota
  • Acanthoglossum Blume
  • Chelonanthera Blume
  • Crinonia Blume
  • Ptilocnema D.Don
  • Camelostalix Pfitzer in H.G.A.Engler

Pholidota, commonly known as rattlesnake orchids,[2] is a genus of flowering plants from the orchid family, Orchidaceae. Plants in this genus are clump-forming epiphytes or lithophytes with pseudobulbs, each with a single large leaf and a large number of small, whitish flowers arranged in two ranks along a thin, wiry flowering stem that emerges from the top of the pseudobulb. There are about thirty five species native to areas from tropical and subtropical Asia to the southwestern Pacific.


Orchids in the genus Pholidota are sympodial epiphytic, lithophytic or, rarely, terrestrial herbs with pseudobulbs, each with one or two large, stalked leathery leaves. A large number of small flowers are arranged in two ranks along a thin, wiry flowering stem that emerges from the top of the pseudobulb. There is a large, papery bract at the base of each flower. The flowers are white, cream-coloured, yellowish or pinkish with a concave dorsal sepal and smaller petals. The labellum is rigidly fixed to the base of the column and there is a deep sac-like structure at its base.[2][3][4][5]


Orchids in the genus Pholidota are found in China, Taiwan, the Indian Subcontinent, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Nicobar Islands, Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo, Java, the Lesser Sunda Islands, Peninsular Malaysia, the Maluku Islands, the Philippines, Sulawesi, Sumatra, the Bismarck Archipelago, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Queensland (Australia), Fiji, New Caledonia, the Santa Cruz Islands and Vanuatu.[1][4]

Taxonomy and naming[edit]

The genus Pholidota was first formally described in 1825 by John Lindley who published the description in Hooker's Exotic Flora, Containing Figures and Descriptions of New, Rare or Otherwise Interesting Exotic Plants.[1][6][7] The name Pholidota is derived from the Ancient Greek word pholidotos meaning "clad in scales",[8] referring to the large bracts at the base of the flower in some species.[3]

Species list[edit]

The following is a list of Pholidota species accepted by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families as at January 2019:[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Pholidota". 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. 472. ISBN 1877069124.
  3. ^ a b D.L.Jones; T.Hopley; S.M.Duffy (2010). "Pholidota". Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids. Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research (CANBR), Australian Government. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Pholidota". Flora of China. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Genus Pholidota". Orchids of New Guinea. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Pholidota". APNI. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  7. ^ Lindley, John; Hooker, William Jackson (1825). Exotic Flora (Volume 2). Edinburgh: William Blackwood. p. 138. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  8. ^ Brown, Roland Wilbur (1956). The Composition of Scientific Words. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 604.

External links[edit]