Genus Thecostele

Thecostele Rchb.f.,
Bonplandia 5 (1857) 37

Sympodial epiphytes with very short rhizomes. Pseudobulbs consisting of one internode, 1-leaved. Leaves not sheathing at the base, glabrous, deciduous, duplicate. Inflorescence arising from the base of the pseudobulb, a many-flowered pendulous raceme, with the flowers appearing in succession, a few at a time, over a very long period. Flowers small, cream-coloured with purple spots. Lateral sepals free. Petals free, about as long as the sepals but narrower. Lip hinged to the apex of the tube-shaped column-foot, without spur. Apex of the column hood-shaped, with two stelids. Pollinia 2, cleft, solid, caudicles absent, stipe present, viscidium present.

India, continental Southeast Asia, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Philippines. 1 species [Thecostele alata (Roxb.) Parish & Rchb.f.].

Distribution in the Philippines
Palawan, Leyte.

Epiphyte in lowland forest.

Thecostele is clearly related to Thecopus, a genus not known from the Philippines, and more distantly allied to Acriopsis. In habit Thecostele resembles Bulbophyllum, but the structure of the flowers is quite different. The tubular column-foot in particular is distinctive. Thecostele alata is sometimes seen in collections, but not as often as one would expect from such a widespread and interesting (but not showy) orchid.