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Epidendroideae

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Epidendroideae
Hadrolaelia pumila
Hadrolaelia pumila
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Lindl. 1821
Type genus
Epidendrum L. 1753
Tribi
Synonyms
  • Arethusoideae
  • Kerosphaeroideae
  • Limodoroideae
  • Malaxidoideae
  • Neottioideae
  • Tropidoideae
  • Vandoideae

Epidendroideae is the largest subfamily of Orchidaceae, with three quarters of all known species, split into several tribes and subtribes, encompassing more than five hundred genera and about twenty thousand species distributed almost all over the world, except in the dryer deserts and polar areas. They are known for being orchids with coherent pollen forming pollinia and with one incumbent anther only, or with the anther bent back, but then with clearly plicate leaves and roots hardly ever fleshy.

Except for Vanilla species which belong to subfamily Vanilloideae, the species of Cypripedioideae and a few others cultivated by specialists and by botanic gardens, almost the totality of cultivated orchids belong to Epidendroideae.

Epidendroideae is divided in two groups of tribes, one is more primitive (the basal Epidendroideae) and subordinates the genera which diverged in early degrees of its evolution, still sharing some characteristics with Orchidoideae; the other group (High Epidendroideae) has very few in common with the said subfamily. The relationships amongst all tribes are not well established thus these cladograms are only provisional:

Orchidaceae

Apostasioideae




Cypripedioideae




Vanilloideae




Orchidoideae



Basal Epidendroideae

Nervilieae




Triphoreae




Tropidieae




Neottieae




Sobralieae



High Epidendroideae













Orchidaceae

Apostasioideae




Cypripedioideae




Vanilloideae




Orchidoideae




Basal Epidendroideae



High Epidendroideae

Arethuseae



Collabieae




Podochileae





Malaxideae



Dendrobieae









Calypsoeae



Epidendreae






Vandeae



Cymbidieae (incl. Maxillarieae)