(pronounced: peh-LEKS-ee-ah)


Cranichideae subtribe Spiranthinae. Pelexia is closely related to Sarcoglottis but differs by having an externally visible spur (the spur in Sarcoglottis is completely fused to the ovary).

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Rosulate terrestrials. Roots fleshy, fasciculate. Leaves few, erect, long-petiolate. Inflorescences erect, long-scapose, few to many-flowered, laxly to densely-flowered racemes. Flowers usually green to brownish green. Sepals and petals free, the dorsal sepal and petals appressed forming a hood, the lateral sepals often strongly reflexed. Lip three-lobed, auriculate, the lateral lobes erect-incurved, the base extended in a spur fused to the ovary. Column stout, with a foot fused to the ovary, the stigmas two, the rostellum linear-oblong to strap-shaped; pollinia 2, grooved, on a common viscidium.


A genus of 72 species found throughout the Neotropics.

Care and Culture Card

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Burns-Balogh, P. and H. Robinson 1983. Evolution and phylogeny of the Pelexia alliance (Orchidaceae: Spiranthinae). Syst. Bot. 8(3):263-268.

Greenwood, E. W. 1990. Pelexia scintillana, a new species from Oaxaca. Orquidea (Mex.) 12:47-53.

Singer, R. B. and M. Sazima 1999. The pollination mechanism in the “Pelexia alliance” (Orchidaceae: Spiranthinae). Bot. Journ. Linn. Soc. 131:249-262.