Tribe Cymbidieae Pfitz. Entw. Nat. Anord. Orchid.: 105. 1887.


Epiphytic, terrestrial or lithophytic, predominantly sympodial or, less frequently, monopodial herbs, rarely terrestrial leafless mycotrophs.

Roots glabrous. Rhizome creeping. Stems erect, simple, flexible to stiff, terete to laterally compressed, not swollen or swollen and pseudobulbous, one- to several-noded.

Leaves one to several, rarely absent or reduced to scales, plicate or conduplicate, often distichous, alternate, articulate, stiffl y herbaceous to hard- coriaceous, blade dorsiventrally flattened, rarely bilaterally fl attened or semiterete, articulation present or absent, linear, lanceolate, ovate, obovate or elliptic; sheaths present or absent, rarely tubular, clasping the stem, imbricate.

Inflorescence basal, lateral or rarely subapical, racemose or paniculate; floral bracts often imbricate, sometimes alternating in two rows, usually persistent.

Flowers one to many, usually resupinate, opening in succession or simultaneously, sometimes gregarious, long-lived to ephemeral, bisexual or unisexual (Catasetinae), bilaterally symmetrical or asymmetrical (Mormodes). Sepals free, thin textured to fleshy, lateral sepals asymmetrical, carinate or not. Petals free, elliptic or oblong to linear-lanceolate or lanceolate, asymmetrical, usually thinner textured than sepals. Labellum firmly attached or hinged to the column or column foot, simple, trilobed or bi- or tripartite, rarely twisted (Mormodes), usually lacking a spur, sometimes shortly spurred or saccate, lateral lobes variable in size, pronounced in front; in Coryanthes hypochile with two nectariferous glands, mesochile tubular and sometimes fluted, and epichile bucket-shaped; when present, callus ligulate, more pronounced at the top, composed of ridges, keels or hairs.

Column curved, rarely twisted (Mormodes), sometimes with winglike lateral auricles or wings, rarely with basal sensitive antennae (Catasetum); anther cap hinged at base, pollinia two or four of unequal sizes, porate or cleft, fl at, lanceolate-ovoid to triangularovoid; stipes (tegula) usually one, rarely two, sometimes elastic, viscidium present; stigma cupulate; rostellum 1–3-lobed.

Capsule with six longitudinal ribs, perianth persistent.


Tribe Cymbidieae comprises 11 subtribes, predominantly tropical American but also well represented in the Old World tropics and subtropics.