, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 253-266

First online:

A reconsideration of Encyclia (orchidaceae)

  • Robert L. DresslerAffiliated withMissouri Botanical Garden

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The status of the genusEncyclia is reviewed, and this genus is compared withEpidendrum. As currently used,Epidendrum is a very heterogeneous assortment of species, resulting largely from the over-emphasis on certain “key characters.” If a greater emphasis is given to the internal coherence of the species groups within theEpidendrum alliance, about thirty genera can be recognized, with Envyclia and Epide~drum in different sectors of the alliance. The limited data on inter-speelfic crossability suggests that the entire alliance is a comparinm in genecologica] terms. The only alternative to the recognition ofEpidendrum andEncyclia as distinct genera is the union of all thirty genera into one, which is considered to be impractical.