Genus Malaxis

Malaxis Sol. ex Sw.,
Prodr. Veg. Ind. Occ. (1778) 119

Sympodial epiphytic or terrestrial plants with very short to very long rhizomes. Stem elongated, few to many-leaved. Pseudobulbs present or not, consisting of one to several internodes, or, when absent, stem short to much elongated (then often creeping). Leaves sheathing at the base, glabrous, plicate (or not plicate in other regions), persistent, duplicate, green, light brown, or purple, sometimes with paler longitudinal bands or darker spots, thin-textured. Inflorescence terminal, a many-flowered raceme. Flowers small to very small, not resupinate, often greenish or dark purple. Sepals free. Petals free, usually much narrower than the sepals. Lip without spur, not mobile, at the base usually with 2 lobes that clasp the column. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 4, solid, caudicles absent, stipe absent, viscidium absent.

Cosmopolitan (absent from New Zealand); about 300 species.

Distribution in the Philippines
Luzon (Abra, Kalinga-Apayao, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Zambales, Bataan, Rizal, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Tayabas, Camarines, Sorsogon), Polillo, Mindoro, Sibuyan, Palawan, Balabac, Panay, Negros, Cebu, Leyte, Camiguin, Mindanao (Zamboanga, Lanao, Misamis, Bukidnon, Surigao, Agusan, Davao, Cotabato), Sibutu, Jolo, Tawi-Tawi; about 33 species.

Mainly terrestrial in lowland and montane forest, occasionally epiphytic on mossy tree trunks.

Small plants, usually terrestrial in forests, with sometimes attractive foliage and usually quite inconspicuous greenish or purplish flowers. Malaxis is one of the few orchid genera where the flowers are not resupinate. In recent years Szlachetko and others have proposed to split up Malaxis into many smaller genera, often based on obscure or dubious characters. So far these proposals have not been supported by molecular phylogenetic studies, therefore we see no need to follow them.