Acriopsis liliifolia (J.Koenig) Seidenf., Opera Bot. 124: 58 (1995)

Latin for 'leaves like a lili'.

Acriopsis javanica var. nelsoniana (F.M.Bailey) J.J.Sm.
Epidendrum liliifolium J.Koenig

Epiphytic herb with ovoid and ridged pseudobulbs that are many-noded, growing closely together bearing two to three leaves at the tip. The leaves are thin with a rounded apex and gradually narrow to the base, although this varies with the growing conditions. Plants found growing in shady conditions usually possess long broad leaves while plants growing in exposed sites usually have short and narrow (almost terete) leaves. Inflorescences grow from the rhizome and is borne on a long scape and typically branches a few times, bearing up to 200 blooms. The flowers are sometimes pale green but more often spotted with purple. The dorsal sepal is linear concave up to 5 mm long and 1.6 mm wide. The petals are oblong and up to 5 mm long and 2¨C2.2 mm wide. The lateral sepals are fused to form a synsepalum up to 4 mm long and 2 mm wide. The labellum is threelobed, forming a tube with the base of the column. [NATURE IN SINGAPORE 2009 2: 481¨C485]

Growing in freshwater swamp forest, mangrove forest, lowland evergreen rain forest as well as beach vegetation, and occasionally on roadside trees. In its microhabitat, Acriopsis liliifolia usually grows close to the ground and typically develops a mass of aerial or ¡°catch roots¡± that are used to catch falling debris for nutrition. This species is also almost always found associated with ants such as Crematogaster species although other ants such as Camponotus species are known to live in the root mass. The Crematogaster species usually builds nest in the aerial root ball of the orchid, swarming around the plant when it is touched or disturbed. In this animal-plant association, the orchid seems to provide the ants with a lattice-like framework for nest-building, while the ants in return provide protection as well as nutrients (waste material from the ants) to the plants.


From Indochina to New Guinea, the west Pacific and northern Australia.

Local names