Oeceoclades maculata (Lindl) Lindl. is a species that always attracts the attention of the researchers, may be because of its big area of dispersion, the biggest of all species of Orchidaceae family.
Since its description by Lindley, in l821, as Angraecum maculatum Lindl. its name has been modified many times.
Considered as a plant which doesn't present many varieties, the orchidist Nelson Luiz Bittencourt came across, in Niterói, state of Rio de Janeiro, to a colony of an alba
  Photo: Jose Alberto Sena
variety,surround by plants-type. It has been found at 110m altitude in a sub-wood quite shade, growing on the surface soil (layer of dead leaves), superficially installed, spreading its roots without penetrating the soil.
This plant presents some characteristics in the point of view of the vegetative aspect although it is, in the essence, very similar to the plant-type.
It is more vigorous than the most part of the plants-type found in the same place and its pseudobulbs are from 3 to 4 cm long with 2 cm diameter. The leaves have 24 cm long by 6 cm wide and the color is much light green than in the plant-type. The inflorescence is long, at about 44 cm and has a curiosity: it is branched and light green. The petals and sepals are translucent and the lip is entirely white. It self-pollinates as easy as the plant-type.

  Photo: Jose Alberto Sena Photo: Jose Alberto Sena
Photo: Jose Alberto Sena


Photo: Jose Alberto Sena

The genus Oeceoclades Lindl. has at about 31 species and is distributed through South and Central America as well in the south of North America, tropical Africa, Madagascar, Mascarene and Seychelles islands. It is terrestrial and rarely occurs as epiphyte.
The species Oeceoclades maculata (Lindl) Lindl, also known as Eulophidium maculatum (Lindl.) Pfitz, is the only species occurring in Brazil.
As terrestrial, it grows, in general, in a layer of dead leaves, humus or in sand-banks, since the sea-level until 300m altitude and often found in any dense wood.
It has been found at 580m in Comoros, Mayotte, by O. Pascal, in March l966 (Resource: New York Botanical Garden).
The leaves are variegate (mottled) and looks like the leaves of Sansevieria. They can reach 22 cm or even 32 cm length and are coriaceous. The pseudobulbs are aggregated and vary from 2 ½ cm to 4 cm length and have from 1 to 2 cm across.

Its small flowers are light pink and have, at about, 1,5 cm diameter.
The petals have from 9 to 10 mm length by 3 mm width .
The sepals have from 9 to 10 mm length by 2 - 2 ½ mm width.
The lip has 7-8 mm length by 6-7 width.
It is white with 2 dark red strips. The inflorescence can reach 40 cm length and arises from the the base of the pseudobulb. It can bear 12 flowers or even more.
It blooms in fall and often the flowers don't last because they wither just after the pollination and as it has the characteristic of autogamy (self pollination), it occurs very early.
The origin of this plant is a mystery, it is supposed that it first appears in Madagascar.
In fact, this is the orchid with the greater area of dispersion, distributed
by tropical Africa tropical, from Senegal
Photo: Sergio Araujo
until Angola, Zimbabwe and Tanzania , Florida, Caribbean Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentine, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Guyana. Also in Brazil, it has a big area of dispersion and occurs, practically in every Brazilian state, mainly at the sea side however it also spreads into to the interior: AL, AM, AP, BA, CE, DF, ES, GO, MA, MG, MS, MT, PA, PE, PB, PR, RJ, RN, RR, RS, SC.
The fact of being self pollinate propitiates that dispersion.

Angraecum maculatum Lindl.

- First described in l821 and published in Collectanea Botanica No. 3: t. 15. under the name of Angraecum maculatum Lindl.
- In 1821, Link & Otto described the species as Geodorum pictum Link & Otto and published in Icon. Pl. Hort. Reg. Berol. 3: 35, t. 14. 1821 July.
- In 1822, Loddigesi proposed the transference to the genus Limodorum and described it as Limodorum maculatum (Lindl.) Lodd. publishing its work in Botanical Cabinet.
- In 1826, Spreng proposed the transference to the genus Aerobion and described it as Aerobion maculatum (Lindl.) Spreng. Publishing its work in Systema Vegetabilium, editio decima sexta 3: 718.
- In 1831, Frei Velloso described the same plant as Epidendrum connivens Vell publishing it in Florae Fluminensis 9: t. 44.
- In l833, Lindley has transferred it to the genus Oeceoclades describing as Oeceoclades maculata (Lindl) Lindl in The Genera and Species of Orchidaceous Plants 237-238.
- In 1863, Reichenbach F. proposed the transference to the genus Eulophia describing it as Eulophia maculata (Lindl.) Rchb. f and published his work in the Annales Botanices Systematicae 6: 647
- In 1887, Pfitzer proposed the transference to the genus Eulophidium under the denomination Eulophidium maculatum (Lindl.) Pfitzer, publishing his work in Entwurf einer naturlichen Anordnung der Orchideen 88.
- In 1877, S. Moore established the species Eulophia monophylla S. Moore which was, later, considered as a synonym of Oeceoclades maculata Lindl. [Resource: Sarah A. Thomas, Lindleyana 13(3):170-202.1998]
- In 1889, N.E. Br established the species Eulophia ledienii N.E. Br. which was, later, considered as synonym of Oeceoclades maculata Lindl.[Resource: Sarah A. Thomas, Lindleyana 13(3):170-202.1998]
- In 1891, Kuntze proposed the transference to the genus Graphorchis describing it as Graphorchis maculata (Lindl.) Kuntze and published his work in Revision Generum Plantarum 2: 662.
- In 1976, L. A. Garay, & P. Taylor, in "The genus Oeceoclades Lindl. ", published in Botanical Museum Leaflets, 24(9): 249-274 considered Oeceoclades maculata (Lindl) Lindl. As the valid name for this species.
Later, another researchers have reaffirmed this assertion:
- In 1980, C. H Dodson & P. M. Dodson Orchids of Ecuador Icones Plantarum Tropicarum 2: 101-200
In 1989, C. H Dodson & D. E. Bennett, Jr. Orchids of Peru (Icones Plantarum Tropicarum) Series II. Fascicle 1-2: 1-200
In 1991, E. A. Christenson, Mesoamerican orchid studies I: Orchids of Panama Lindleyana 6(1): 42--48
In 1993 - L. Brako, & J. L. Zarucchi , Catalogue of the Flowering Plants and Gymnosperms of Peru Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 45: i-xl, 1-1286



Aerobion maculatum (Lindl.) Spreng.
Angraecum maculatum Lindl.

Eulophia ledienii N.E. Br.
Eulophia maculata (Lindl.) Rchb. f.
Eulophidium maculatum (Lindl.) Pfitz.
Eulophia monophylla S. Moore
Epidendrum connivens Vell.
Geodorum pictum Link & Otto
Graphorchis maculata (Lindl.) Kuntze.
Limodorum maculatum (Lindl.) Lodd.


1) Orquídeas da Guanabara - Guido Pabst
2) Nossas Orquídeas Menores - O gênero Eulophidium      Pfitz. Orquidário 5(1) 21.23.1991. Augusto      Fernandes Neves.
3) Missouri Botanical Garden - http://mobot.mobot.org

Photo: Sergio Araujo

  4) The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Orchids. edited by Alec Pridgeon. 1992.
5) Flora Brasiliensis, Martius, Vol. III, Pars VI.
6) A Preliminary Checklist of the Genus Eulophia Sarah A. Thomas, Lindleyana 13(3):170.202.1998

Photos: José Alberto Senna and Sergio Araujo

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