Apostasia Blume
  • Bijdr.: 423 (1825) 

This taxon is accepted by eMonocot
Notes: Distribution: Trop. & Subtrop. Asia to N. Australia

General Description

The generic name Apostasia is a Greek word meaning separation or divorce and refers to the unique floral structure which some earlier authors have used to separate it from the Orchidaceae.


Species of Apostasia are found in similar habitats to Neuwiedia, from around sea level up to an elevation of about 1700 m. Habitats include mixed evergreen forest on granite, and secondary forest in Thailand. In Borneo collections have been made from a wide range of habitats including mixed dipterocarp forest on shale; hill dipterocarp forest; mixed dipterocarp forest with a kerangas element, on sandstone and shales, particularly on steep-sided ridges; dipterocarp, Fagaceae, Gymnostoma sumatranum, Agathis borneensis forest on ultramafic substrate; mixed forest with Gymnostoma sumatmnum and an understorey of climb­ing bamboo on ultramafic substrate; lower montane dipterocarp to oak-laurel transitional forest; kerangas forest developed over podsolic soils; swamp forest; river banks; and secondary forest. In Queensland Apostasia has been found in littoral forest at or near sea level, and in Papua New Guinea collections have been made in lower montane Castanopsis forest. (JW)


The seven species of Apostasia are distributed in south-west China (Yunnan), Sri Lanka, north-east India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma), southern Japan (Ryukyu Islands), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, and the Philippines, east to northern Australia (Queensland) and Papua New Guinea. Section Adactylus is less widespread and does not occur east of Borneo. The richest centre of diversity is again Borneo from where five species have been recorded, one of which, A. parvula, is endemic. Apostasia wallichii is the most widespread species, occurring from Sri Lanka east to Papua New Guinea. Apostasia latifolia is endemic to Peninsular Malaysia and A. nipponica to the southern Japanese Ryukyu Islands, at the northernmost limit of the range. (JW)


De Vogel (1969) recorded that A. wallichii is used an an antidiabetic in Peninsular Malaysia. Here, too, the roots of A. nuda are boiled and used as a treatment for diarrhoea and sore eyes. It is also a favourite remedy for dog bites. (JW)

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Asia-Temperate China China South-Central
  • China Southeast
  • Hainan
  • Eastern Asia Japan
  • Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent Assam
  • Bangladesh
  • East Himalaya
  • Nepal
  • Sri Lanka
  • Indo-China Andaman Is.
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Malesia Borneo
  • Jawa
  • Malaya
  • Maluku
  • Philippines
  • Sulawesi
  • Sumatera
  • Papuasia New Guinea
  • Australasia Australia Queensland


  • 1 Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Monocotyledons Database in ACCESS: 1-71827. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 2 Govaerts, R. (1995). World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 1-529. MIM, Deurne.
  • 3 Pridgeon, A.M. Genera Orchidacearum. Introduction, Apostasioideae, Cypripedioideae 1, 230 (1999).
  • 4 von Blume, C.(K.) L. Original publication of Apostasia. Bijdr., (1825).

 Information From

eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from http://e-monocot.org.
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World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
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