Encyclopedia > Pleurothallis

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The Pleurothallis genus contains a huge number of species and is in fact the second largest in the Orchidaceae after Bulbophyllum. It is a completely New World group and occurs from the southeast United States down into the tropics of South America, with most species in the high Andes chain of cloud forest in Colombia.

As a group they show a huge range in vegetative form and can be found as tall cane-like plants a metre or so high, trailing, climbing, creeping, tufted and tiny moss like species that can grow on the thinnest of twigs. They have reduced their pseudobulbs and instead, some species have thick succulent leaves. Their flowers are amongst the most diverse and unusual, although often very small, and specialise in using tiny insects such as gnats or Chalcid wasps for pollination.

Other allied genera include:

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