Order XVIII. Orchideae, R. Brown.—Orchids.
Orchides, Jussieu.—Orchidaceae, Lindley.
Characters.—Flowers irregular, gynandrous. Perianth adherent (superior), coloured, or rarely herbaceous; its parts arranged in 2 rows. Column consisting of the stamens and style consolidated into a central body. Stamens 3, the central only being perfect, except in Cypripedium, where the central is abortive and the two lateral perfect; pollen powdery, or cohering in waxy masses. Ovary adherent (inferior), 1-celled, composed of 6 carpels, of which 3 have parietal placentae; stigmas usually confluent in a mucous disk. Capsule membranous or coriaceous, rarely fleshy. Seeds innumerable, without albumen; embryo solid. Roots fasciculated and fibrous, sometimes with fleshy tubercles. Leaves never lobed; their veins usually parallel, very rarely somewhat reticulated. Stem sometimes swollen and jointed, forming pseudo-bulbs.