Ponthieva racemosa plate
Ponthieva racemosa from Curtis's Botanical Magazine

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Cranichideae
SubTribe: Cranihidinae
Genus: Ponthieva
R. Br. 1813
Type Species
Ponthieva glandulosa

Ponthieva , is a genus of plants belonging to the family Orchidaceae.


This genus occurs from the southern states of the USA to Mexico, the Caribbean and tropical America. They are mainly terrestrial plants with sympodial growth, but some are epiphytes.


Their fibrous root show long and soft hairs. Some of the branches are thickened. The simple stem grows from rhizomes and carries thin, basal leaves with a slight to a somewhat longer stalk. The few to many, erect flowers grow on bracteate peduncles in a terminal raceme. Their dorsal sepal is slightly joined to the petals at the apex. The petals are free or sometimes fused to lower flanks of the column. The lateral sepals are distinct or joined.

The clawed lip is fused to the base of the short column. This is semiterete, i.e in the form of a cylinder, rounded on one side and flat on the other. It is slightly winged towards the pointed apex.

There are four, yellow, club-shaped pollinia that are joined in pairs.


Grow under shade. Plant grows in cool to cold temperatures and should be water regularly year round and reduced after flowering. Keep potting media moist. Pot with 70% fine to medium grade perlite or clay and 30% soil or peat, or in fine bark with leaf litter.


The genus was named Henri de Ponthieu, a French merchant who sent West Indian plant collections to Sir Joseph Banks in 1778. It is also commonly called the Shadow Witch.

Species Edit


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