Solander ex Swartz

Prodr., 8, 119. 1788.

Common names: Adder’s-mouth
Etymology: Greek malaxis, softening, in reference to soft and tender texture of leaves
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 627. Mentioned on page 497, 498.

Herbs, terrestrial to semiepiphytic, glabrous. Roots few, fibrous, 0.3–1 mm wide. Stems swollen at base into pseudobulb, ± globose, glabrous. Leaves 1–3(–5), with sheathing base; blade elliptic, ovate, or lanceolate. Inflorescences terminal, racemes, spicate racemes, corymbose racemes, or subumbellate racemes; floral bracts inconspicuous, lanceolate, subulate, or triangular-acuminate. Flowers 2–160, resupinate or not, erect or spreading, sessile or minutely to strongly pedicellate; sepals spreading, distinct or lateral sepals basally connate, ovate, elliptic, or lanceolate, 1–6 mm, margins revolute or not; petals spreading or recurved, filiform to linear, lanceolate, or triangular, usually much narrower than sepals; lip ovate or lanceolate, cordate, unlobed to 3-lobed, concave or saccate, widest proximal to middle, base auriculate or truncate; column free; anther terminal; pollinaria 4, waxy; 1 pollinarium or 2 separate hemipollinaria; viscidia yellow or orange. Fruits capsules; previous year’s fruiting stem and capsules frequently present during current year’s anthesis. x = 14, 15, 18, ca. 20, ca. 21, 22.


Widespread, mostly in Asia and East Indies.


Species ca. 250 (10 in the flora).


1 Leaves 2–3(–5). > 2
1 Leaves 1(–2, rarely). > 4
2 Lip 2.5–2.9(–4) mm, base prominently cordate-auriculate. Malaxis spicata
2 Lip 1.2–2.5 mm, base truncate or cuneate. > 3
3 Leaves basal; base of lip cuneate; flowers not resupinate. Malaxis paludosa
3 Leaves cauline; base of lip truncate, 3-lobed, lateral lobes auriculate; flowers resupinate. Malaxis monophyllos var. brachypoda
4 Lip 3-dentate at apex, middle tooth smallest, sometimes so inconspicuous that apex appears 2-dentate. > 5
4 Lip unlobed (with or without single point) at apex. > 7
5 Flowers apparently sessile, pedicels 1.3–1.7 mm; flowers not resupinate. Malaxis soulei
5 Flowers clearly pedicellate, pedicels 3.4–10(–13) mm; flowers resupinate. > 6
6 Lip with auricles 0.6 or more times as long as distance from base of lip to apex of middle lobe. Malaxis bayardii
6 Lip with auricles less than 0.6 times as long as distance from base of lip to apex of middle lobe. Malaxis unifolia
7 Lip base truncate with prominent, forward-directed auricles; flowers not resupinate. Malaxis monophyllos var. monophyllos
7 Lip base cordate or hastate-auriculate; flowers resupinate. > 8
8 Inflorescences 1.5–3 cm; pedicels crowded. Malaxis corymbosa
8 Inflorescence 2.6–25 cm; pedicels not crowded. > 9
9 Sepals 4–6 mm. Malaxis abieticola
9 Sepals 1.8–2.4 mm. > 10
10 Sepals glabrous, not papillose; apex of lip broadly acuminate, auricles at base narrow and parallel. Malaxis porphyrea
10 Sepals papillose, not glabrous; apex of lip narrowly acuminate, auricles at base broad and diverging. Malaxis wendtii
... more about "Malaxis"
Paul M. Catling +  and Lawrence K. Magrath +
Solander ex Swartz +
Adder’s-mouth +
Widespread +  and mostly in Asia and East Indies. +
Greek malaxis, softening, in reference to soft and tender texture of leaves +
ames1935a +  and catling1991a +
Malaxis +
Orchidaceae tribe Malaxideae +