Epiphytic or lithophytic, sympodial, caespitose to rhizomatous, erect herbs. Roots reddish or brown, rarely white, conspicuously velamentous, cylindrical and smooth, to several mm in diameter. Pseudobulb conical, bifoliate, conspicuously sulcate, subtended by scarious, nonfoliaceous bracts. Leaves distichous, conduplicate, articulate with the apex of the pseudobulb, sessile, often coriaceous, usually oblong or oblong-elliptic to broadly elliptic or obovoid, acute to obtuse. Inflorescence solitary-flowered, erect, originating from base of pseudobulbs, often several produced simultaneously; scape bearing several greenish to scarious bracts. Flowers usually showy, campanulate to spreading, resupinate, sometimes fragrant; floral bracts shorter than the ovary. Sepals and petals free, fleshy, sometimes fibrous, yellowish or creamy in colour with purplish dots, lines or spotting; spotting commonly more intense on the external surface of sepals. Sepals similar, lateral sepals oblique, forming a mentum. Petals similar to sepals but usually smaller and narrower, frequently subparallel to column. Labellum free and hinged at the base of the column, trilobed, lateral lobes obtuse, midlobe longer than lateral lobes, smooth; callus always present, usually ligulate, smooth. Column cylindrical to hemicylindrical, arcuate, often darkly pigmented; anther apical, operculate, incumbent, anther cap usually with a dorsal crest, pollinarium with four pollinia in two superposed, unequal pairs, tegular stipe usually absent, viscidium soft, semilunar; stigma concave, triangular. Ovary smooth, cylindrical. Capsule with six valves separating apically at dehiscence. Seeds Maxillaria-type. (RS, SK, GC).
Brasiliorchis is a primarily Brazilian genus of 13 species with a few species such as B. picta and B. chrysantha (Barb.Rodr.) R.Singer, S.Koehler & Carnevali reaching extreme northeastern Argentina (Correa 1996; Johnson 2001). Brasiliorchis marginata (Lindl.) R.Singer, S.Koehler & Carnevali has been reported for the Guyanas, Ecuador, and Colombia (Pabst and Dungs 1977; Sprunger et al. 1997), but the Ecuadorian records are based on misidentifi ed specimens of Maxillaria rotundilabia C.Schweinf. The distribution of most species coincides with the extent of the Atlantic Rain Forest Biome (Mata Atlântica), including extreme northeastern Argentina (Misiones) and eastern Brazil, from Rio Grande do Sul to Bahia. (RS, SK, GC).
Brasiliorchis species are particularly abundant and conspicuous at the Espinhaço, Mantiqueira, and Serra do Mar ranges in southeastern Brazil above 800 m. Brasiliorchis picta and B. chrysantha reach Misiones in Argentina (Johnson 2001). The plants may be either lithophytic or epiphytic in full sun or in more shady conditions. Lithophytic plants tend to have more robust, yellowish pseudobulbs with shorter and stiffer leaves. Conversely, plants growing in understorey conditions tend to have greener, soft pseudobulbs with longer leaves. Brasiliorchis species often form large clumps and may be locally common. Several species fl ower during the winter. The flowers may last for several days (Singer and Cocucci 1999). Brasiliorchis marginata is remarkable in producing flowers gradually from late winter until the end of the summer. (RS, SK, GC).
There are no recorded uses for any of the species of Brasiliorchis except as rarely cultivated ornamentals. (RS, SK, GC).
Species are easily cultivated under intermediate conditions in coarse epiphytic mix or on mounts. Because these plants are robust and tolerate a range of light intensities, they grow well in cultivation and may become large specimens in a few years. (RS, SK, GC).
Flowers of Brasiliorchis offer no reward to their pollinators and are pollinated by deceit. Worker bees of Trigona (Meliponini) are recorded as pollinators of B. picta, B. marginata, and B. porphyrostele. Trigona workers enter the floral cavity and dislodge the pollinarium when retreating. The pollinarium is attached by the semilunar, soft viscidium to the bee’s scutellum. The bees are likely able to perceive the absence of nectar after a few visits. As a consequence, pollinarium removal and pollination are limited to a few days after blooming. Vespidae wasps have been recorded as pollinators of B. gracilis (Singer and Koehler 2004). With the exception of B. chrysantha, all species studied so far are self-incompatible (Singer et al. 2007). (RS, SK, GC).