Terrestrial orchids

Terrestrial orchids are orchids that grow and producing flowers on the ground. They are a relatively small group of orchids in tropical lowland cultivation. They may be rhizomatous, or form corms or tubers, with smooth and white root caps. These orchids grow best in well-drained soil or peat-based potting mixtures.


A genus comprising 243 species of small to medium-sized orchids with underground tubers.

Caladenia is a genus of orchids in the family Orchidaceae, comprising about 243 species. Distribution of species occur in Australia with some extending to New Caledonia, Indonesia and Malaysia. Caladenia is abbreviated as Calad. in the horticultural trade. Caladenia is derived from the Greek words calos (meaning beautiful), and aden (meaning glands), referring to the glistening glands at the base of the column and the colorful labellum.

Caladenia species are small to medium-sized terrestrial orchids. Underground tubers produce a single, hairy, lanceolate to oblong, basal leaf through sympodial growth. Its leaves are entire, flat, elongated, parallel-veined, and with hairs on the surface. The terminal inflorescence is a raceme with 1-8 flowers, with a fringed or dentate margin. Some species produce fragrant flowers.


A genus of terrestrial orchids comprising some 170 species.

Calanthe is a genus of terrestrial orchids in the family Orchidaceae, comprising about 170 species. It is abbreviated as Cal in horticultural trade. Calanthe is derived from Greek words Kalos (meaning beautiful) and anthos (showy), in referring to the beautiful and showy flowers of Calanthe.

Calanthe species are found in tropical regions around theworld, but mostly concentrated in Asia.

There are two types of Calanthe, the evergreen and deciduous. The evergreen Calanthes produce flowers from the centre of the new growth, while the deciduous type bears flowers from the base of the pseudobulb. Calanthe discolor is a deciduous species.


Lady’s Slipper Orchid comprising 47 species.

Cypripedium is a genus of lady’s slipper orchids in the family Orchidaceae, comprising about 47 species. It is native to the colder regions of Northern Hemisphere. Cypripedium is abbreviated as Cyp. in horticultural trade. It is commonly known as lady’s slipper, mocassin flower, camel’s foot, squirrel foot, slipper orchid, steeple cap, Venus’s shoe, and whippoorwill shoe.

Most Cypripedium species are terrestrial orchids with short and robust rhizomes. The rhizome grows annually with a growth bud at one end and dies off at the other end. An elongate erect stem grows from the bud at the tip of the rhizome, with leaves growing along its length. The leaves are lanceolate, ovate to elliptical, most often hairy and folded along their length.

Cypripedium’s inflorescence is racemose, and produces 1-12 flowers, with 1-3 flowers in most species. The flowers has three sepals and three acute petals, with the third and lowermost petal a striking slipper-shaped lip. The sepals and petals are usually in same color and the lip in different color.


Terrestrial orchids comprising 75 species and hundreds of hybrids.


A genus of terrestrial orchies comprising 800 species.

Habenaria is a genus of terrestrial orchids in the family Orchidaceae, comprising about 800 species. It is distributed in both tropical and temperate zones, from Central and South America, tropical Africa, Asia to Australasia. It is also known as Bog Orchids and False Rein Orchid.

Habenaria species are deciduous perennial, with above-ground parts dying down each year. They have underground root tubers and erect stems. Lanceolate or ovate leaves are borne along the stem or at the base. They bear green, white, green and yellow, white and green, with some species have brilliant red flowers.

Hebenaria grows well in partial shades and well-drained soil. Aphids are known to attack the plant.


A genus of creeping terrestrial orchids found in the rainforests of Southeast Asia.

Macodes is a genus of creeping terrestrial orchids in the family Orchidaceae, comprising about 7 species. Macodes species grow on the rainforest floor of Southeast Asia, from Malaysia to New Guinea and Vanuatu. It is also known as Jewel orchids.

Macodes is grown more for the beautiful foliage and not for its flowers. The plants have creeping rhizomes and erect stems that bear leaves near the base. The leaves are dark green or brownish green and are attractively veined. The inflorescence produces many small white flowers during spring and summer.

Macodes grows well in orchid potting mix, high humidity and low light, and avoid hot sun. After flowering, cut off the stalk, and the plant will produce new side shoots both below and above ground. Water sparingly all year to avoid drying out completely, and misting is necessary once or twice a day. Propagation is by rhizome cuttings.


A genus of tuberous terrestrial orchids distributed from Australia to the Philippines.

Thelymitra is a genus of terrestrial tuberous plants in the family Orchidaceae, comprising about 80 species. It is distributed throughout Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Timor, Java and the Philippines. Thelymitra is also known as Sun Orchid because the flowers of most species only open fully on warm and sunny day. The genus name is derived from Greek words thely (meaning woman) and mitra ( meaning mitre hat), in referring to the elaborate shape of the staminodal structure at the top of the column. Species are identified by their color and their column.

Thelymitra is only above ground during spring and early summer. A single leaf grows from two underground tubers. The leaf is elongated or linear-lanceolate and glabrous. The bluish-green flowering stem usually carries 4-20 flowers that open all at once in bright sunlight. The flower’s diameter vary from 1-6 cm. The flowers will close at night and during cold or cloudy weather.

The lip of sun orchid usually has the same shape, size, color and color pattern as the sepals and petals. Thelymitra comes in a range of striking colors, from white, pink, yellow, maroon, magenta, red, purple, deep blue. Most flowers are single color or have spots. Some species are multi-colored. About 75% of sun orchids come in deep blue color, a rare color for orchid.


A genus of orchids found in Southeast Asia that could be terrestrial as well as lithophytic.

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