Genus Grammatophyllum

Grammatophyllum Blume,
Bijdr. (1825) 377

Often very large sympodial epiphytes with very short rhizomes. Pseudobulbs large, consisting of more than one internode, few- to many-leaved. Leaves sheathing, glabrous, deciduous, duplicate, leathery. Inflorescence arising from the base of the plant, a many-flowered raceme. Flowers large, resupinate, usually greenish or yellowish with brown to purple spots. Sepals free. Petals similar to or fairly different from the sepals. Lip without spur, not mobile. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 2, solid, cleft, caudicles absent, stipe present, U-shaped, viscidium present.

Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, east to Fiji; about 7 species.

Distribution in the Philippines
Luzon (Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Tayabas, Camarines, Albay, Sorsogon), Catanduanes, Biliran, Palawan, Mindoro, Negros, Leyte, Samar, Lumbucan, Mindanao (Surigao, Davao); about 6 species.

Epiphytes in lowland forest.

This is a genus of robust, even massive, plants with relatively showy, often spotted flowers. The well known Grammatophyllum speciosum is generally considered to be the largest orchid in the world - a fine specimen may be more than 3 m tall and 5 m across. In most species there are always a few abnormal flowers at the base of the inflorescence that have only 2 sepals and 2 petals, no lip, and a reduced, non-functional column. Members of this genus are widely cultivated in botanical gardens in Southeast Asia.

In the past such eminent students of the Philippine orchid flora as Oakes Ames and Quisumbing recognised only two species of Grammatophyllum in the Philippines: G. speciosum and G. scriptum. The very distinctive G. stapeliiflorum was later found to occur in the Philippines as well. More recent authors, such as Cootes and Ormerod (pers. comm.), divide G. speciosum s.l. into G. speciosum and G. wallisii, and G. scriptum s.l. into G. elegans, G. marthae, G. measuresianum, G. multiflorum, and G. scriptum. According to Ormerod the 'real' G. scriptum does not occur in the Philippines.