Pleione (plant)

Last updated

Pleione bulbocodioides 2.jpg
Pleione bulbocodioides
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Arethuseae
Subtribe: Coelogyninae
Genus: Pleione
Synonyms [1]

GomphostylisWall. ex Lindl.

Pleione hookeriana Pleione limprichtii .jpg
Pleione hookeriana

Pleione is a small genus of predominantly terrestrial but sometimes epiphytic or lithophytic, miniature orchids. [2] This genus is named after Pleione, mother of the Pleiades (in Greek mythology), and comprises about 20 species. Common names of this genus include peacock orchid, glory of the east, Himalayan crocus, Indian crocus and windowsill orchid. The genus Diploconchium Schauer is generally included here. Pleione is abbreviated to Pln in trade journals.



Pleione is named after the water-nymph Pleione of Greek mythology. [3]


Developing flower shoot Developing Pleione flower shoot.jpg
Developing flower shoot

The sympodial growth habit of terrestrial Pleione orchids is unusual. They have relatively large, spongy, almost globular or ampulliform pseudobulbs, narrowed at the apex. Every pseudobulb is only active for one year and carries one or two pleated parallel-veined leaves, with a length of 15–30 cm (6–12 in). These drop off before winter. The pseudobulb stays dormant, till a new one starts to develop. This one produces new roots and a short pedicel. This pseudobulb remains active till the end of the bloom. Then the whole cycle starts all over again.

The big, showy flowers originate from new shoots formed at the base of the pseudobulb. They are pink to purplish, white or yellow, while the fringed, tubular lip is often paler or white, with yellow, red or purple dots and stripes. The flowers of the mountain species start blooming in spring, while the new shoots develop. The flowers of the orchids, growing in warmer climates, bloom in autumn, when the leaves have dropped.

They are very closely related to the genus Coelogyne and were once considered part of it.

Distribution and habitat

Pleione is distributed in the mountains and foothills of the Himalayas, India, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Taiwan, and China. [1] [4] The species are well adapted to cold temperatures and even frost. A few, however, prefer warmer temperatures. They grow in well-drained habitats and on rocks covered with moss at altitudes of 600–4,200 m (1,969–13,780 ft).


Natural hybrids


It has been suggested that P. bulbocodioides, P. limprichtii and P. pleionoides could all be the same species.

Currently, there are two sections in the genus Pleione:


They are easily grown by the layman, easy to propagate and are among the most popular orchids. They are much in demand for hybridization. Numerous garden hybrids have been produced, of which the following have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:- [5]


Hybrids of Pleione with other genera are placed in the following nothogenera: [7]

Related Research Articles

<i>Vanda</i> Genus of orchids

Vanda, abbreviated in the horticultural trade as V., is a genus in the orchid family, Orchidaceae. There are about 87 species, and the genus is commonly cultivated for the marketplace. This genus and its allies are considered to be among the most specifically adapted of all orchids within the Orchidaceae. The genus is highly prized in horticulture for its showy, fragrant, long-lasting, and intensely colorful flowers. Vanda species are widespread across East Asia, Southeast Asia, and New Guinea, with a few species extending into Queensland and some of the islands of the western Pacific.

<i>Paphiopedilum</i> Genus of orchids

Paphiopedilum, often called the Venus slipper, is a genus of the lady slipper orchid subfamily Cypripedioideae of the flowering plant family Orchidaceae. The genus comprises some 80 accepted taxa including several natural hybrids. The genus is native to Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, southern China, New Guinea and the Solomon and Bismarck Islands. The type species of this genus is Paphiopedilum insigne.

<i>Aerides</i> Genus of orchids

Aerides, known commonly as cat's-tail orchids and fox brush orchids, is a genus belonging to the orchid family. It is a group of tropical epiphyte orchids that grow mainly in the warm lowlands of tropical Asia from India to southern China to New Guinea. They are valued in horticulture for their racemes of showy, fragrant, colorful flowers.

<i>Coelogyne</i> Genus of orchids

Coelogyne is a genus of over 200 sympodial epiphytes from the family Orchidaceae, distributed across India, China, Indonesia and the Fiji islands, with the main centers in Borneo, Sumatra and the Himalayas. They can be found from tropical lowland forests to montane rainforests. A few species grow as terrestrials or even as lithophytes in open, humid habitats. The genera BolborchisLindl., HologynePfitzer and PtychogynePfitzer are generally included here. The genus is abbreviated Coel. in trade journals.

<i>Tainia</i> Genus of orchids

Tainia, commonly known as ribbon orchids or 带唇兰属 is a genus of about thirty species of evergreen, terrestrial orchids in the distributed from India, China, Japan, Southeast Asia to New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Queensland.

<i>Codonopsis</i> Genus of flowering plants

Codonopsis is a genus of flowering plant in the family Campanulaceae. As currently recognized, Codonopsis includes two other groups sometimes separated as distinct genera, i.e. Campanumoea and Leptocodon. The enlarged genus Codonopsis is widespread across eastern, southern, central, and southeastern Asia, including China, Japan, the Russian Far East, Kazakhstan, the Indian Subcontinent, Iran, Indochina, Indonesia, etc.

<i>Hemipilia</i> Genus of flowering plants

Hemipilia is a genus of plants in the family Orchidaceae. It is native to China, the Himalayas and Southeast Asia.

<i>Herminium</i> Genus of flowering plants

Herminium is a genus of plants in family Orchidaceae, widespread across much of Europe and Asia.

<i>Panisea</i> Genus of orchids

Panisea is a genus of plant in family Orchidaceae. It is native to China, the Indian Subcontinent, and Indochina.

<i>Neottia</i> Genus of orchids

Neottia is a genus of orchids. The genus now includes the former genus Listera, commonly known as twayblades referring to the single pair of opposite leaves at the base of the flowering stem. The genus is native to temperate, subarctic and arctic regions across most of Europe, northern Asia, and North America, with a few species extending into subtropical regions in the Mediterranean, Indochina, the southeastern United States, etc.

This page lists orchid species according to their respective distribution range.

<i>Ponerorchis</i> Species of plant

Ponerorchis is a genus of Asian terrestrial tuberous orchids. It is native to temperate Eurasia, from Poland to Japan, to the north of the Indian subcontinent and to northern Indochina.

<i>Pholidota</i> (plant) Genus of orchids

Pholidota, commonly known as rattlesnake orchids, is a genus of flowering plants from the orchid family, Orchidaceae. Plants in this genus are clump-forming epiphytes or lithophytes with pseudobulbs, each with a single large leaf and a large number of small, whitish flowers arranged in two ranks along a thin, wiry flowering stem that emerges from the top of the pseudobulb. There are about thirty five species native to areas from tropical and subtropical Asia to the southwestern Pacific.

<i>Coelogyne flaccida</i> Species of orchid

Coelogyne flaccida is a species of orchid that is native to southeast Asia and northeastern South Asia. Cultivated as an ornamental plant, it is also known as the bearded Coelogyne and the loose Coelogyne.

<i>Pleione limprichtii</i> Species of orchid

Pleione limprichtii, the hardy Chinese orchid, is a species of flowering plant in the family Orchidaceae, endemic to China, and also possibly grows in northern Burma. It is an epiphytic or lithophytic orchid growing to 15 cm (6 in) tall by 30 cm (12 in) broad, with a pear-shaped pseudobulb that produces a single folded leaf. Deep pink flowers with rose red spotted lips are borne in spring.

<i>Pleione praecox</i> Species of orchid

Pleione praecox is a species of orchid found from the west-central Himalaya to China. It is the type species of the genus Pleione.

<i>Geodorum</i> Genus of orchids

Geodorum, commonly known as shepherds' crooks or 地宝兰属 , is a genus of eight species of flowering plants in the orchid family, Orchidaceae. They are deciduous, terrestrial herbs with underground pseudobulbs, broad, pleated leaves and small to medium-sized, tube-shaped or bell-shaped flowers on a flowering stem with a drooping end. Species in this genus are found in southern Japan, tropical Asia, Australia and islands of the southwest Pacific Ocean.

<i>Thelasis</i> Genus of orchids

Thelasis, commonly known as fly orchids, is a genus of flowering plants from the orchid family, Orchidaceae. Plants in this genus are usually epiphytes, sometimes lithophytes or rarely terrestrials. Some species have pseudobulbs with up to three leaves, whilst others have several leaves in two ranks. A large number of small, white or greenish yellow flowers are borne on a thin, arching flowering stem. There are about thirty species, distributed from tropical and subtropical Asia to the southwest Pacific.

<i>Papilionanthe</i> Genus of orchids

Papilionanthe is a genus of flowering plants from the orchid family, Orchidaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia, southern China, and the Indian Subcontinent.

<i>Microlepia</i> Genus of ferns

Microlepia is a genus of ferns in the family Dennstaedtiaceae described as a genus in 1836. Most of the species are native to Asia, with many endemic to China, although a few species occur also in Australia, Africa, the West Indies, Latin America, and various oceanic islands.


  1. 1 2 Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. Pridgeon, A.M., Cribb, P.J., Chase, M.C. & Rasmussen, F.N. (2006). Epidendroideae (Part One). Genera Orchidacearum 4: 1-672. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford.
  3. Coombes, Allen J. (2012). The A - Z of plant names . United States: Timber Press Inc. ISBN   9781604691962.
  4. Flora of China v 25 p 325, 独蒜兰属 du suan lan shu, Pleione D. Don, Prodr. Fl. Nepal. 36. 1825.
  5. "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 80. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  6. "RHS Plant Selector - Pleione Shantung gx. 'Muriel Harberd'" . Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  7. Alphabetical One-Table List of Genera and Intergeneric Hybrids, Royal Horticultural Society, 2017.