De Orchid. Eur., 21, 30, 38. 1817.

Etymology: Greek liparos, fat, greasy, or shining, referring to the almost oily feel and luster of the leaves typical of plants in this genus
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 624. Mentioned on page 496, 497, 498.

Herbs, perennial, terrestrial [lithophytic or epiphytic]. Roots slender, fibrous; pseudobulbs green, conic, ovoid, or ellipsoid, slightly compressed, soft (2 pseudobulbs typically present, parent pseudobulb enveloped in old leaf-bases, connected laterally by short rhizome to daughter pseudobulb, which gives rise to current year’s stem, parent pseudobulb often retaining dried stem of previous year). Stems somewhat angled, slender, glabrous; cauline bracts 2(–3), enclosing base of stem. Leaves 2 or 3–7, basal, sheathing pseudobulb and proximal part of stem, conduplicate or plicate, glabrous. Inflorescences terminal, 3–40-flowered racemes, lax; peduncle and rachis glabrous; floral bracts subulate to triangular-lanceolate. Flowers resupinate, maroon-purple, yellowish green, or green, pedicellate; dorsal sepal oblong-elliptic, linear-oblong, oblong-lanceolate, or lanceolate, margins revolute, apex obtuse to acute; lateral sepals oblong-lanceolate, lanceolate, ovate-oblong, or elliptic, falcate or not, margins revolute or involute, apex obtuse to acute; petals filiform, linear, linear-oblanceolate, or narrowly spatulate, tubular or strongly revolute; lip strongly arcuate-recurved, obcordate, oblong-flabellate, or suborbiculate, base broadly cuneate, slightly auriculate, apex emarginate or subtruncate, mucronate or not, apical margins erose-serrulate to crenulate-wavy; column arcuate, slender to stout, weakly to strongly winged at apex; anther apical, anther cap yellow or green; pollinia 2 pairs, yellow, waxy. Fruits capsules, erect, ellipsoid to ovoid, obscurely to prominently winged, glabrous.


Nearly worldwide.


Species 250 (3 in the flora).

Selected References



1 Leaves 3–7, membranaceous, plicate; anthers bright green; pedicels stout. Liparis nervosa
1 Leaves 2, succulent, conduplicate; anthers yellow; pedicels slender. > 2
2 Lip 8–12 mm, mauve purplish, rarely green; column 3–4 mm; pedicels of fruiting capsules 11–18 mm. Liparis liliifolia
2 Lip 4–5.5 mm, green or yellowish green to yellowish white; column 2–3 mm; pedicels of fruiting capsules 3–7 mm. Liparis loeselii