Obs. Bot. 6:18 (1791); R.M. Sm., Notes R. Bot. Gard. Edinb. 42:289-295 (1985), part. rev.
Tall herbs; rhizome usually stout. Inflorescence congested, fusiform, terminal on a leafless shoot, short- to rarely long-pedunculate, entirely enclosed by an involucre of several rigid, sterile bracts; bracts subtending usually only one flower; bracteole open to the base, sometimes absent; flowers white, yellow, orange or red; calyx tubular, split down one side, 2- or 3-dentate; corolla tube more than twice as long as labellum, slender, sometimes lateral lobes connate to each other and to the center of the labellum in the lower third; lateral staminodes absent or reduced to minute teeth at base of labellum; labellum about the same length as petals, fleshy, concave, base auriculate; filament sometimes fleshy, or anther sessile, thecae sometimes villose, some times with adnate basal spurs, crest usually present; ovary 3-locular. Capsules globose or ellipsoid, irregularly dehiscent, sometimes united in a syncarp inside the persistent involucre; seeds with thin, cup-shaped aril. 2n = 48. (From Kubitsky, et al., p. 493)
Found mainly in Malaysia and tropical NE Australia, but also in Thailand, Indochina and China (Hainan, Tibet).
Comprises about 50 species.
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