Phalaenopsis , commonly known as moth orchids, is a genus of about seventy species of plants in the family Orchidaceae.Orchids in this genus are monopodial epiphytes or lithophytes with long, coarse roots, short, leafy stems and long-lasting, flat flowers arranged in a flowering stem that often branches near the end. Orchids in this genus are native to India, Taiwan, China, Southeast Asia, New Guinea and Australia with the majority in Indonesia and the Philippines.
What is a Phalaenopsis ?
Orchids in the genus Phalaenopsis are monopodial epiphytic, sometimes lithophytic herbs with long, coarse roots and short leafy stems hidden by overlapping leaf bases. The leaves are usually arranged in two rows, relatively large and leathery, oblong to elliptic and sometimes succulent. A few to many, small to large, long-lasting, flat, often fragrant flowers are arranged on erect to hanging racemes or panicles. The sepals and petals are free from and spread widely apart from each other. The lateral sepals are usually larger than the dorsal sepal and the petals much wider than the sepals. The labellum is joined stiffly to the column and has three lobes. The side lobes are erect and more or less parallel to each other and the middle lobe sometimes has a pair of appendages or antennae.
Taxonomy and naming
The genus Phalaenopsis was first formally described in 1825 by Carl Ludwig Blume and the description was published in Bijdragen tot de flora van Nederlandsch Indië. The name Phalaenopsis is derived from the Ancient Greek word phalaina (φαλαινα) meaning “a kind of moth”:535 with the suffix -opsis meaning “having the appearance of” or “like”.:483
The genus name is abbreviated Phal. horticulturally.
Species of Phalaenopsis are found from India to southern China, Indochina, Malaysiaand from Indonesia to the Philippines and New Guinea. There is a single species endemic to Queensland. The greatest disversity of phalaenopsis occurs in Indonesia and the Philippines.