Aa colombiana
Aa colombiana

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Cranichideae
SubTribe: Prescottiinae
Genus: Aa
Rchb.f. 1854
Type Species
Aa paleacea & Aa argyrolepis

Aa Rchb.f. 1854, is a genus of plants belonging to the family Orchidaceae.


Species in this genus can be found growing terrestrially in cold habitats near the snowline in the Andes and also in Costa Rica; they are usually found close to small streams.


The elongated inflorescence grows from a basal rosette of leaves, terminating in a small white upside down flower with the lip at the top. This lip is fringed and hood-shaped. The flower gives off a pungent smell that attracts flies. This genus has often been confused with the orchid genus Altensteinia.



The first scientific description of a species of this genus was made in 1815 by Karl Sigismund Kunth, naming it first Ophrys palacea Kunth (1806)., and later Altensteinia palacea. In 1854 Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach renamed the genus Alsteinia into Aa, including two species Aa argyrolepis and Aa palacea. The genus name apparently was rendered by the author to always appear first in alphabetical listings. Another - disputed - explanation, is that Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach named this genus after Pieter van der Aa; the printer of the Dutch botanist Paul Herman's "Paradisus Batavus" . A few years later, Reichenbach reviewed the name of the genus and named it again Altensteinia. Finally in 1912 Rudolf Schlechter switched the name again to Aa, as more species were being discovered making the new name more significant.


The genus was named by Reichenbach to be always first on the list

Species Edit


This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors). Smallwikipedialogo.png
  • W.E. Higgins (2006): Selby Vignette: The Aa's of Orchids. [1]
  • H.G. Reichenbach. 1854. Xenia Orchidaceae. 1:18.
  • R. Schlechter (1912): Repertorium specierum novarum regni vegetabilis. Bd. XI S. 147ff. [2]

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