Papilionanthe subulata (Willd.) Garay 1974

Photo by © Nimal Kumar

Another Flower Photo by © P.S. Sivaprasad and The Flowers of India Website

YES Drawing by Wight YES

NOT!! Drawing From Curtis Botanical Magazine NOT


Common Name The Awl-Shaped Papilionanthe - The Butterfly Orchid

Flower Size 1.2" [3 cm]

Found in India and Sri Lanka in submontane and tropical wet evergreen forests at elvations around 1500 meters as a large sized, cool growing monopodial epiphyte with a terete, elongate stem carrying several, terete, obliquely truncate-acute, basally claspng leaves that blooms in the winter and spring on lateral, short, 1.12 to 1.4" [2.8 to 3.5 cm] long, cylindrical, spotted, with 2 sterile bracts, stout, 2 to 3 flowered inflorescence with triangular, emarginate, 3 to 5 veined floral bracts and carrying creamish white, fragrant flowers.

CAUTION There seems to be 2 distinct species that commonly represent this species, and there are good drawings of each. I have not been able to access the original description and drawing so please use with caution. I personally feel that the first photo by Kumar and the drawing by Wight are more likely correct although they are seldom seen with this name in the cultivated orchid world. The second drawing from Curtis Botanical Magazine represents what is more commonly seen cultivated as this species but I feel it is actually closer to P biswaiana or P vandarum.

Synonyms Aerides cylindrica Lindl.1833; Cymbidium cylindricum B.Heyne ex Wall. 1832; Epidendrum subulatum J. König 1791; *Limodorum subulatum Willd. 1805; Papilionanthe cylindrica (Lindl.) Seidenf. 1995

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Die Orchideen Schlechter 1915 as A cylindricum; Indian Orchids: A Guide to Identification and Culture Vol 2 Pradhan 1979 drawing inconclusive; A Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon Vol 2 Dassanayake & Fosberg 1981 drawing fide to Kumar and Wight; Orchids of Nilgiris Joseph 1987 drawing not; Rudolf Schlechter Die Orchideen Band 1B lieferung 19/20 1129 - 1264 Brieger 1988 drawing/photo good to Kumar and Wight; The Orchids of India A Glimpse Misra 2007 as P cylindrica drawing ok;