Genus Bulbophyllum

Bulbophyllum Thouars,
Hist. Orchid. (1822) Tabl. Esp. 3, t. 93-97

Sympodial epiphytic, or sometimes lithophytic or terrestrial plants with very short to very long rhizomes. Pseudobulbs consisting of one internode, sometimes very small, one- or two-leaved at the apex. Leaves not sheathing at the base, glabrous, dorso-ventrally flattened or rarely terete, deciduous, duplicate, leathery or sometimes rather thin-textured. Inflorescence arising from the base of the plant, a raceme or carrying a single flower. Flowers very small to very large, sometimes ephemeral, resupinate or not. Sepals connate or usually free, usually with the lateral sepals forming a mentum. Petals free, usually very different from the sepals, often in size and shape as well as in colour. Lip without spur, usually hinged with the column and then highly mobile, but in some groups of species the lip may be firmly adnate to the column. Column-foot present or absent. Pollinia 2 or 4, solid, caudicles absent, stipe very rarely present, viscidium absent.

World wide tropics, South Africa, Japan, New Zealand, in the Pacific east to the Society Islands; about 1500 species.

Distribution in the Philippines
Throughout the Philippines; about 140 species.

In almost all habitats where epiphytic orchids occur. Also on moss- and lichen-covered rocks, rarely terrestrial, especially at higher altitudes.

An extremely polymorphic genus, but as a rule easily recognised by a combination of characters, notably single-noded pseudobulbs, basal inflorescences and a mobile lip. Some species have very attractive flowers, but most are inconspicuous or bizarre rather than beautiful. Quite a few species have foul-smelling flowers, and are supposedly pollinated by carrion-flies. Although of limited horticultural value, Bulbophyllum is fairly popular with orchid amateurs.

Some authors recognise several additional genera among the species here included in Bulbophyllum, of which the best known is Cirrhopetalum. There is as yet no phylogenetic evidence that these genera should be excluded from Bulbophyllum. See also our notes under Dendrobium.

The Philippine species belong to the following sections: Altisceptrum, Anisopetalon (syn. Careyana), Cirrhopetalum (syn. Biflorae, Cirrhopetaloides, Medusa),
Desmosanthes (syn. Corymbosia), Ephippium, Epicrianthes, Globiceps, Hirtula, Hyalosema, Hybochilus, Intervallatae (syn. Lepidorhiza), Leptopus (syn. Megaloglossum), Monanthaparva, Monilibulbus, Nematorhizis, Oxysepalum, Pelma, and Sestochilus.