(pronounced: ble-TILL-ah)


Arethuseae subtribe Bletiinae

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Terrestrials arising from cormose tubers. Stems short, erect, leafy. Leaves alternate, distichous, plicate, linear-lanceolate. Inflorescecnes terminal pedunculate racemes. Flowers cupped, lightly nodding, membranous. Sepals and petals free, spreading, subsimilar, subequal. Lip three-lobed, sessile, with longitudinal parallel callus keels. Column elongate, arching, without wings or foot; pollinia 8, joined in pairs by caudicles.


Diminutive of the orchid genus Bletia which it resembles.


A genus of nine species in China and Japan. The corms of Bletilla are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Care and Culture Card

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Bowden, W. M. 1980. Bletilla striata, a hardy, Asiatic orchid. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 49(2):139-143.

Cribb, P. and S. Robbins 1991. The genus Bletilla in cultivation. Orchid Rev. 99(1178):406-409.

Cribb, P. and S. Thomas 1998. Bletillas of western Sichuan. Orchid Rev. 106(1220):83-86.

Evenden, R. 1991. Bletilla culture. Orchid Rev. 99(1178):409-412.

Netherby, B. 1991. The golden Bletilla, Bletilla ochracea. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 60(1):15-18.

Schlechter, R. 1911. Die Gattung Bletilla Rchb.f. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 10:254-256.

Sheehan, T. and M. Sheehan 1978. Orchid Genera Illustrated, 61: Bletilla. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bull. 47(3):2240-225.

Tan, K. W. 1969. The systematic position of the genus Bletilla (Orchidaceae). Brittonia 21(3):202-214.