(pronounced: ay-see-AN-thuss)


Diurideae subtribe Acianthinae


Diminutive terrestrials arising from small tubers. Leaves solitary, sessile, clasping, often lobed, net-veined. Inflorescences solitary, erect, pedunculate racemes. Flowers small, translucent. Sepals and petals free, spreading. Lip unlobed, variously adorned. Column arching, wingless or with the wings small; pollinia 4, in two pairs.


From the Greek akis, meaning barb or needle, and anthos, meaning flower, from the slender, acuminate sepals and petals.


A genus of 27 species found from New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand to New Caledonia and adjacent islands.

Care and Culture Card

See basic growing conditions and care information below.


Clements, M. A. 1983. Notes on the content of John Lindley’s orchid herbarium 1: Acianthus. Orchadian 7(10):241-242.

Jones, D. L. and M. A. Clements 1987. Reinstatement of the genus Cyrtostylis R. Br. and its relationships with Acianthus R. Br. (Orchidaceae). Lindleyana 2(3):156-160.

Kores, P. J. 1991. A revision of the genus Acianthus (Orchidaceae) in Papuasia. Lindleyana 6(3):162-173.

Kores, P. J. 1995. A systematic study of the genus Acianthus (Orchidaceae: Diurideae). Allertonia 7(3):1-133.

Schlechter, R. 1911. Die Gattung Townsonia Cheesem. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 9:249-250.

Schodde, R. 1967. Contributions to Papuasian Botany II. A new species of Acianthus (Orchidaceae) from Bougainville Island. Blumea 15(2):403-405.