Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition

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Key to epiphytic orchids: Key to Orchidaceae

1 Plant a vine, the main stems long and climbing up the trunks or stems of other woody plants; stems succulent
1 Plant not a vine, instead a cespitose, trailing, rhizomatous, or hanging herb; stems not succulent.
..2 Leaves equitant in a fan-like array; plants growing as a twig-epiphyte primarily on Ceratiola ericoides and perhaps occasionally scrub oaks; [limited to xeric scrub habitat in Martin and Palm Beach counties, FL].
....3 Flowers primarily white with yellow, brown, and purple coloration; without dark streaks extending down the middle lobe of the lip.
....3 Flowers bright pink to dark purple; with 5 darker purple streaks (the middle partially yellow) extending down the middle lobe of the lip.
..2 Leaves not equitant or fan-like; plants not twig epiphytes in xeric scrub; [in a wide variety of cypress swamps, mesic hardwood hammocks, sloughs, strands, or otherwise non-xeric, swampy habitats throughout; occasionally in crevices of grit outcrops (e.g. Epidendrum conopseum)].
......4 Plant without pseudobulbs or basally thickened stems, instead only with fleshy, glabrous, fibrous, or chlorophyllous roots
........5 Plants with fleshy, glabrous, or fibrous roots, not evidently photosynthetic or velamentous; plants with 1 to many leaves.
..........6 Stems with numerous alternate, cauline leaves; leaf blades ovate to elliptic or lanceolate, fleshy-leathery
..........6 Stems with a single leaf, erect and sessile or subsessile; leaf blades elliptic to oblanceolate, leathery.
............ 7 Inflorescences few flowered racemes (occasionally several-flowered), 0.8-2 cm long; flowers dark red-purple, glabrous, typically congested near apex of inflorescence; stems 1.5-5 (-8) cm long with 4-8 closely appressed, ciliate sheaths; leaf blades < 2.5 cm long.
............ 7 Inflorescences many-flowered racemes, (6-)10-25 (-28) cm long; flowers pubescent, translucent yellow, often spaced throughout the inflorescence; stems 10-25 cm long with 2-3 loose, inflated sheaths; leaf blades > 10 cm.
........5 Plants with chlorophyllous roots, evidently photosynthetic, velamentous (with thick spongy root epidermis); plants with leaves absent, early deciduous, or otherwise inconspicuous.
............ ..8 Inflorescence a densely arranged, 2-ranked, erect or pendent spike with more than 12 flowers; flowers sessile at the node; floral bracts cordate; spur sacccate
............ ..8 Inflorescence a moderate to loosely flowered raceme with 1-10 flowers (less than 12), floral bracts lanceolate; spur arcuate or scrotiform.
............ ....9 Chlorophyllous roots with prominent white marks; perianth segments (sepals/petals) > 20 mm, white to cream-colored; middle lobe of lip with subquadrangular isthmus, between 2 twisting caudate lobes 45-70 mm long; arcuate spurs to 17 cm long; roots 3-5 mm wide.
............ ....9 Chlorophyllous roots without white marks; perianth segments (sepals/petals) < 4 mm long; lip ovate, lacking long caudate lobes, pale yellow; scrotiform spurs to 4 mm long; roots < 1 mm wide
......4 Plant with pseudobulbs (thickened stems), pseudobulbs sometimes inconspicuous, reduced, or appearing as basally thickened stems.
............ ......10 Pseudobulbs inconspicuous or not prominent (stems appearing basally thickened or pseudobulb reduced); reduced pseudobulbs often concealed by longer, scarious, leafy bracts.
............ ........11 Plants with a single, solitary, thick (coriaceous) elliptic leaf; flowers with prominent blotches
............ ........11 Plants with multiple leaves per stem (2-6); leaves linear-lanceolate or oblong-elliptic; flowers without prominent blotches.
............ ..........12 Inflorescence erect-arching, not strongly secund and not curved upward at apex; flowers lavender or violet to white with dark rose/purple veins extending to distal portions of lip; typically flowering from Mar-Apr, towards the end of the s. FL dry season; leaves 3-13 cm long
............ ..........12 Inflorescence a strongly secund terminal panicle (a simple raceme in smaller plants), often curved upward apically; flowers yellow-pale green; typically flowering from Aug-Dec., towards the end of the wet season and beginning of the s. FL dry season; leaves 3.5-20 cm long
............ ......10 Pseudobulbs conspicuous or prominent, strongly to slightly compressed; ovoid, sub-orbicular, ellipsoid, or fusiform (bilaterally flattened).
............ ............ 13 Pseudobulbs (on mature plants) > 30 (-50) cm long
............ ............ 13 Pseudobulbs (on mature plants) < 30 cm long (typically < 15 cm long).
............ ............ ..14 Inflorescence terminal (arising from the apex of the pseudobulb).
............ ............ ....15 Capsules prominently 3-winged
............ ............ ....15 Capsules not prominently 3-winged.
............ ............ ......16 Pseudobulbs ovoid-pyriform; 1-3 linear-lanceolate leaves per stem
............ ............ ......16 Pseudobulbs ovoid; 1 (rarely 2) oblong-ovate leaf per stem
............ ............ ..14 Inflorescence basal (arising from the base of the pseudobulb).
............ ............ ........17 Inflorescence a spike with 12-28 sessile flowers
............ ............ ........17 Inflorescence a raceme or panicle, not a spike (flowers pedicellate).
............ ............ ..........18 Inflorescence > 100 (-250) cm in length
............ ............ ..........18 Inflorescence < 50 cm in length.
............ ............ ............ 19 Pseudobulb completely enveloped by 6-7 conduplicate distichous leaf sheaths; flowers borne singly on short pedicels arising from leaf axil, without brown blotches; flowers self-pollinating
............ ............ ............ 19 Pseudobulb not enveloped by leaves; pedicels originating from inflorescence; flowers yellow to white, with or without brownish blotches, not self-pollinating.
............ ............ ............ ..20 Plants conspicuously rhizomatous; inflorescence < 1 cm long; pseudobulbs cylindric to ovoid
............ ............ ............ ..20 Plants not rhizomatous; inflorescence > 1 cm in length; pseudobulbs cylindric or elliptic.
............ ............ ............ ....21 Perianth segments long caudate; sepals 3-20 cm long
............ ............ ............ ....21 Perianth segments not long caudate (instead, oblong-elliptic); sepals 2.2-12 cm long.
............ ............ ............ ......22 Perianth segments white to cream-yellow colored with maroon stripes; pollinia not borne on long slender stipe
............ ............ ............ ......22 Perianth segments cream colored to pale orange with condensed red-purple spots; pollinia borne on a long slender stipe