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Acanthephippium Carl Blume 1825 is a genus of orchid with twelve species (family Orchidaceae).

The name of this genus is derived from the Greek words 'acanthos' (spiny) and 'ephippion' (saddle). This refers to the shape and structure of the labellum (lip), which resembles a saddle.

This terrestrial and sometimes saprophytic genus of sympodial orchids is distributed from the tropical and subtropical Indian subcontinent to China and the southwest Pacific.The terrestrial species are up to 80 cm tall. They have short rhizomes. The oblong and fleshy pseudobulbs are up to 25 cm tall. They produce at their apex 2 to 3 large plicate, lanceolate, parallel-veined leaves, which can be up to 65 cm long. The erect inflorescence arises laterally from the pseudobulbs, with 3 to 6 flowers, subtended by large, glabrous bracts. The flowers are prominent, large, striated cup- or urn-shaped, fleshy, waxy, and about 4 cm long. They resemble a tulip, a most unusual shape for an orchid. The flowers have a wide range of colors, from dull yellow to red to shades of orange and pink, marked with stripes or spots. The blossoms are usually odiferous with a very strong fragrance.

This genus is allied to genera Calanthe, Phaius, and Spathoglottis.


Acanthephippium bicolor (S. India, Sri Lanka, New Guinea).
Acanthephippium chrysoglossum (W. Sumatra).
Acanthephippium curtisii (Borneo - Sarawak).
Acanthephippium eburneum (N. Sumatra, Borneo - Sarawak).
Acanthephippium gougahensis (Thailand, Vietnam).
Acanthephippium javanicum (W. Malaysia, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, New Guinea). (type species; commonly grown)
Acanthephippium lilacinum (N. Borneo).
Acanthephippium mantinianum (Philippines) (commonlu grown)
Acanthephippium parviflorum (Vietnam, S. Sumatra to Java).
Acanthephippium splendidum (Sulawesi to SW. Pacific, New Guinea).
Acanthephippium striatum (E. Himalaya to Java). (copmmonly grown)
Acanthephippium sylhetense (Sikkim to Philippines)
Thomas, S.A. 1997 - Taxonomic revision of the genus Acanthephippium (Orchidaceae). Orchid Monographs, Vol. 8, pp. 119-134, figures 56-66, plates 5c-6d. Rijksherbarium / Hortus Botanicus, Leiden, The Netherlands.