Genus Eria

Eria Lindl.,
Edwards's Bot. Reg. (1825) t. 904

Sympodial epiphytic or terrestrial plants with very short to long rhizomes, usually with thin, brown, hairy roots. Pseudobulbs present or not, consisting of one to many nodes, one- to several leaved, or, when absent, stems short to elongated, one- to many-leaved. Leaves sheathing at the base or not, distichous, sheath glabrous or hairy, blade glabrous, rarely with marginal hairs, plicate or duplicate, dorso-ventrally flattened, sometimes terete or [not in Thailand and Indochina] laterally flattened, deciduous, convolute or not, leathery, sometimes rather thin-textured. Inflorescence lateral or terminal, a raceme or carrying a single flower, very rarely a panicle, often hairy, usually arising from a small cavity in the stem. Flowers small to medium-sized, resupinate or not. Sepals free. Petals free, usually not very dissimilar to the dorsal sepal. Lip without spur, mobile or not. Column-foot present. Pollinia 8, solid, caudicles present or absent, stipe absent, viscidium present or absent.

Sri Lanka, tropical continental Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Pacific islands, east to Tahiti; about 375 species.

Distribution in the Philippines
Throughout the Philippines; about 60 species.

Epiphytes in lowland and montane forest; also terrestrial in open vegetation on poor soils.

An extremely diverse genus, in the Philippines surpassed in this respect only by Dendrobium, Dendrochilum and Bulbophyllum. In contrast to Dendrobium, very few erias possess showy flowers, while most are fairly unattractive. For this reason they are rather infrequently seen in cultivation. Nevertheless, Eria is an important genus, as it is in nature perhaps the most commonly encountered genus of epiphytic orchids in Southeast Asia. At least some clades currently included as sections are probably better regarded as separate genera, as they seem only distantly related to the type section of Eria (which includes e.g. Eria javanica (Sw.) Blume). This is confirmed by molecular studies (Yan Peng Ng, pers. comm.).

The Philippine species belong to the following sections: Aeridostachya, Aporodes, Cylindrolobus, Cymboglossum, Dendrolirium, Eria, Hymeneria, Mycaranthes, Polyura, and Urostachya.