Tribe Malaxideae Lindl. Coll. Bot., App. 1826.


Herbs, terrestrial or rarely epiphytic, occasionally holomycotrophic. Roots hairy. Stem cylindric to pseudobulbous, fleshy, often creeping and rooting in basal part. Leaves, if present, thinly textured to fleshy, usually plicate, petiole sheathing at base. Inflorescences erect, racemose, unbranched; floral bracts persistent, lanceolate or setose.

Flowers not resupinate or resupinate, green, brown, yellow, pink, or purple. Dorsal sepal spreading, free; lateral sepals free or fused, spreading. Petals often narrower than sepals, free, spreading; lip erect, flat but sometimes concave at base, entire to lobed, auriculate at base or lacking auricles, apical margin entire or toothed, lacking a spur, callus absent or present and cushionlike or obscurely transversely ridged.

Column lacking a foot; anther cap dorsal, attached by a slender filament, locules opening ventrally; pollinia 4, waxy, lacking appendages or rarely with 1 or 2 tiny viscidia; stigma semicircular or ovate; rostellum often obtuse or emarginate at apex.


About 300 species: cosmopolitan, mainly in tropics and subtropics of Old and New World