Pleurothallis tribuloides (Sw.) Lindl. 1830 SUBGENUS Specklinia SECTION Tribulodes Luer 1986 TYPE for the SECTION

Photo by © Lourens Grobler

Plant and Flowers

Photo by © Ken Rossman and his Orchid Photo Homepage

Closeup of flowers

Photo by © Dale and Deni Borders.

Plant with flower and developing seed pod.

Photo by © Jay Pfahl

Plant with seed pods

Photo by © Noble Bashor.

Plant in situ Panama

Photo by © Wilfried Löderbusch.


Drawing by © Carl Luer

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Common Name The Thorny Pleurothallis [Refers to the spiny seed pods]

Flower Size .2 to .32" [5 to 8 mm]

Found in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica and Surinam in dense, wet, evergreen or deciduous forests growing on oaks in open fields at elevations of 300 to 1300 meters as a miniature sized, hot to cool growing, densly caespitose, unifoliate epiphyte subtended by a very short ramicaul enveloped basally by 2 to 3 tubular sheaths and carrying a single, apical, erect, subcoriaceous, elliptic-oblanceolate, apiculate, gradually narrowing below into the petiolate base leaf that blooms in the late summer and fall on an apical, short to .25" [.65 cm], racemose, 2 to 3 flowered inflorescence with thin, white, imbricating, as long as the pedicel floral bract and holds the flowers close to the base of the leaf.

"Easily recognized by the short racemes of brick red flowers produced at the bases of narrow, fleshy leaves. The ovaries and the interior of the acute sepals are verrucose. The tip of the dorsal sepal is in contact with the tip of the synsepal as seen in P alexii with lateral windows, but not connate as in species of Zootrophion. The pepetals are simple and obtuse and the lip is oblong and cellular-glandular with trnasverse, cellular [gill like] lamellae down the center. The ovary is short, broad and densely spiculate-papillose, which gives a burr-like appearance to the capsule." Luer 2006

The flower can have a cockleshell burr-like appendage at it's base, this being the forming seed pod. After the flower has disappeared the seed pod matures and turns dark blue-green.

Give this species hot to cool temperatures, mounted or potted in a well draining medium, year round water and moderate to heavy shade.

Synonyms Cryptophoranthus acaulis Krzl.; Cryptophoranthus tribuloides (Sw.) A. Dietr. 1984; Cymbidium tribuloides [Sw.] Spreng. 1826; Dendrobium tribuloides Sw 1806; *Epidendrum tribuloides Sw. 1788; Humboldtia tribulodes (Lindl.) Kuntze; Humboltia tribulodes (Sw.) Kuntze 1891; Pleurothallis fallax Rchb.f 1855; Pleurothallis spathulata A. Rich. & Gal. 1845; Specklinia tribuloides (Sw.) Pridgeon & M.W.Chase 2001; Tribulago tribuloides (Sw.) Luer 2004

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ;

* Prodr. 123. Sw. 1788 as Epidendrum tribuloides;

Nova Acta Regiae Soc. Sci. Upsal., ser. 2, 6: 83 Swartz 1799 as Dendrobium tribuloides;

Syst. Veg., ed. 16. 3: 721 Spreng 1826 as Cymbidium tribuloides;

Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl. 6. Lindl. 1830;

Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot., sér. 3, 3: 17 A Rich & Galeotti 1845 as P spathulata;

Bonplandia (Hannover) 3: 224 Rchb.f 1855 as P fallax;

Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 668. Kuntze 1891 as Humboldtia tribuloides;

Xenia Orchidaceae Vol 3:131 Reichenbach 1894 drawing fide;

Symbolae Antillanae Vol VI Orchidaceae Urban 1909;

Flora of Jamaica Fawcett & Rendle 1910;

Repert. Sp. Nov. Regni. Veg. Beih. 17: 24. Panama Schlechter 1922;

Repert. Sp. Nov. Regni. Veg. Beih. 19: 196. Costa Rica Schlechter 1923;

The Orchids of Panama L.O. Williams & P Allen 1946;

Orchids of Guatemala and Belize Ames & Correll 1952;

Encyclopedia of Cultivated Orchids Hawkes 1965;

AOS Bulletin Vol 48 No 5 1979 as Cryptophoranthus acaulis;

Orquídea (Mexico City), n.s., 7[3]: 1979;

Icones Planetarum Tropicarum plate 1128 Dodson 1984 drawing fide;

Revista Jard. Bot. Nac. Univ. Habana 5: 48 H Dietr. 1984 as Cryptophoranthus tribuloides;

Icones Pleurothallidinarum Vol III Systematics of Pleurothallis Luer 1986 drawing fide;

An Introdution to the Orchids of Mexico Wiard 1987 photo fide;

Catologo Descriptivo de Las Orquideas Cubanas Acuna 1987;

Orchids Travel By Air A Pictoral Safari Mulder, Mulder-Roelfsema and Schuiteman 1990 photo fide;

Icones Planetarum Tropicarum plate 1484 Atwood 1992 drawing fide;

AOS Bulletin Vol 62 No 11 1993 photo fide;

AOS Bulletin Vol 64 No 12 1995 photo fide;

Orchids of Jamaica Gloudon & Tobisch 1995 photo fide;

Guatemala Y Sus Orquideas Behar & Tinschert 1998 as Zootrophion tribuloides photo fide;

Orchidaceae Antillanae Nir 2000;

Lindleyana Vol 16 No 4:259 Pridgeon & M.W.Chase 2001 as Specklinia tribuloides;

Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica Vol 3 Hammel, Grayum, Herrera and Zamora 2003;

Systematics and evolution of the genus Pleurothallis R. Br. (Orchidaceae) in the Greater Antilles Hagen Stenzel 2004 as P tribuloides drawing fide;

Icones Pleurothallidinarum Vol XXVI Pleurothallis subgenus Acianthera and Three Allied subgenera, A Second Century of new Species of Stelis of Ecuador, Epibator, Ophidion and Zootrophion Luer 2004 as Tribulago tribuloides;

The Orchids of Cuba Llamacho & Larramendi 2005 as Tribulago tribuloides photo fide;

Orchids of Mexico Hagsater, Soto, Salazar, Jimenez Lopez & Dressler 2005 as Specklinia tribulariodes photo fide;

Icones Pleurothallidinarum Vol XXVIII A Reconsideration of Masdevallia Systematics of Specklinia Luer 2006 as Tribulago tribuloides

Icones Pleurothallidinarum Vol XXVIII A Reconsideration of Masdevallia Systematics of Specklinia Luer 2006 as Tribulago tribuloides drawing fide;

AOS Bulletin Vol 77 No 11 2008;

Orchids of Costa Rica Vol 5 Morales 2009 photo fide;

Mille et Une Mini Orchideees Roguenant 2009 as Specklinia tribuloides photo fide;

Orchid Flora of the Greater Antilles Ackerman 2014 drawing fide;

Guia de Orquideas de Chiapas Carlos Rommel Beutelspacher Baigts 2013 as Specklinia tribuloides photo fide;

AOS Bulletin Vol 85 #7 2016 photo fide;

AOS Bulletin Vol 85 #8 2016 photo ok;

Diversity of Pleurothallidinae in Guatemala: An Endangered Orchid Subtribe with High Economic and Horticultural Potentials Edgar Mo Mo, Cetzal, Basu and Vega 2017 as Specklinia tribuloides photo fide;

Orchid Genera and Species in Guatemala Archila, Szlachchetko, Chiron, Lipinska, Mystkowska and Bertolini 2018 as Specklinia tribularioides;

Pleurothallids Neotropical Jewels Vol 1 Karremans & Viera 2020 as Specklnia tribuloides photo fide