Trichoglottis rigida Blanco2.348.png
Illustration of T. rigida by Francisco Manuel Blanco[3]
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Vandeae
Subtribe: Aeridinae
Genus: Trichoglottis
Type species
Trichoglottis retusa
Illustration of T. australiensis by Lewis Roberts

Trichoglottis, commonly known as cherub orchids[4] or 毛舌兰属 (mao she lan shu),[5] is a genus of flowering plants in the family Orchidaceae. Orchids in this genus are epiphytic plants with thick roots, relatively thick, fibrous stems and many large, thick, leathery leaves arranged in two ranks. The flowers are usually small and yellowish with light brown or purple markings. The flowers have broad sepals, narrower petals and a labellum which has three lobes and is often hairy. There are about 85 species distributed from tropical and subtropical Asia to the north-western Pacific. Most species grow in rainforest.


Orchids in the genus Trichoglottis are epiphytic or climbing herbs with a monopodial habit, thick roots and straggly or pendulous stems. There are many large, leathery linear to elliptic leaves arranged in two ranks with their bases sheathing the stems. From one to a few relatively small flowers are arranged on flowering stems arising from leaf axils. The flowers are resupinate and commonly yellowish with light brown or purple markings. They tend to be produced sporadically throughout the year and last for about a week. The sepals are free and subsimilar. The petals are also free from each other and slightly shorter than the sepals. The labellum is fixed rigidly to the column, fleshy, pubescent or hairy, formed by three lobes and features a sac or spur.[4][5][6]

Taxonomy and naming

The genus Trichoglottis was first formally described in 1825 by Carl Ludwig Blume and the description was published in Bijdragen tot de flora van Nederlandsch Indië.[1][7]

The name Trichoglottis means "hair tongue", and refers to the type species' pubescent labellum.[6]


In 2014, Kocyan and Schuiteman moved the former monotypic genus Ceratochilus into Trichoglottis. The sole species of Ceratochilus, C. biglandulosus, is endemic to the island of Java in Indonesia. Though Ceratochilus was never considered to be closely related to Trichoglottis, molecular anlysis strongly supported its position as sister to T. pusilla. Rather than excluding T. pusilla, the authors merged Ceratochilus with Trichoglottis.[8]

Species list

The following is a list of species of Trichoglottis accepted by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families as at January 9019:

Distribution and habitat

Orchids in the genus Trichoglottis are found in China, Taiwan, Assam, Bangladesh, the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, the Andaman Islands, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Nicobar Islands, Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo, Java, the Lesser Sunda Islands, Malaysia, the Maluku Islands, the Philippines, Sulawesi, Sumatra, the Bismarck Archipelago, New Guinea the Solomon Islands, Queensland (Australia), the Caroline Islands and Palau. Most species grow in rainforest.[1][4]



  1. ^ a b c d "Trichoglottis". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  2. ^ "Trichoglottis retusa". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  3. ^ Blanco, Francisco Manuel (1883). Flora de Filipinas. p. 348. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Jones, David L. (2006). A complete guide to native orchids of Australia including the island territories. Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: New Holland. p. 458. ISBN 1877069124.
  5. ^ a b Chen, Xinqi; Wood, Jeffrey J. "Thrixspermum". Flora of China. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Trichoglottis". Taxonomy Research and Information Network (TRIN). Australian National Botanic Gardens. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  7. ^ Blume, Carl Ludwig (1825). Bijdragen tot de flora van Nederlandsch Indië (Part 7). Batavia. pp. 359–360. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  8. ^ Kocyan, Alexander & Schuiteman, André. "New combinations in Aeridinae" (Orchidaceae). Phytotaxa 161: 77 (2014).

External links