Phreatia Lindl.
  • Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 63 (1830)

This is a synonym of Thelasiinae Pfitzer

General Description

Epiphytic or lithophytic herbs. Stem pseudobulbous or slender, the former 1–3-leaved, the latter erect to pendent, with up to 12 leaves. Leaves distichous in a fan, erect to spreading, sometimes fleshy, articulated on basal sheaths. Inflorescence lateral, axillary from upper leaf axils or arising from near base of pseudobulb when present, racemose. Flowers resupinate, pale green or white, often cleistogamous. Sepals and petals similar, spreading, dorsal sepal sometimes reflexed. Lateral sepals adnate to column foot to form a rounded mentum. Petals usually smaller than sepals. Labellum usually clawed, sometimes with base of claw adnate to face of column foot, forming an obtuse, porrect spur, entire or obscurely trilobed, oblong, ovate, triangular or cordate, concave, sometimes pilose within. Column with a distinct foot; pollinia eight, stipes long; viscidium solitary, ovate. (JW).


Species occur from sea level to 3200 m in several forest types: lowland and hill dipterocarp, lower and upper montane, kerangas, coastal, and mossy ridge forest with Pandanus (Pandanaceae) on a schistose substrate. They also are known from mossy upper montane ridge scrub including Ericaceae, Myrtaceae, and Podocarpus (Podocarpaceae) and Araucaria (Araucariaceae) forests. (JW).


Approximately 190 species distributed from India and Sri Lanka through Malesia to northern Australia and New Zealand, eastward to the Society Islands. The majority of species occur in Indonesia and New Guinea. (JW).


Lawler (1984) reported that leaves of unidentified species are used for dress in the Chimbu area of Papua New Guinea and that the Nimai adorn the roofs of their houses with plants from the forests in the eastern highlands there. Species are occasionally seen in the horticultural trade as curiosities. (AP).

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Asia-Temperate China China South-Central
  • Eastern Asia Taiwan
  • Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent Assam
  • East Himalaya
  • India
  • Sri Lanka
  • Indo-China Andaman Is.
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Malesia Borneo
  • Christmas I.
  • Jawa
  • Lesser Sunda Is.
  • Malaya
  • Maluku
  • Philippines
  • Sulawesi
  • Sumatera
  • Papuasia Bismarck Archipelago
  • New Guinea
  • Solomon Is.
  • Australasia Australia Norfolk Is.
  • Queensland
  • Pacific Northwestern Pacific Caroline Is.
  • Marianas
  • South-Central Pacific Society Is.
  • Southwestern Pacific Fiji
  • New Caledonia
  • Niue
  • Samoa
  • Santa Cruz Is.
  • Tonga
  • Vanuatu
  • Wallis-Futuna Is.

Included Species


 Information From

WCS higher taxonomy
  • A All Rights Reserved
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
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