Phaius tankervilleae (Banks ex L'Hér.) Blume

Nun's Orchid

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Bletia tankervilleae, Limodorum spectabile

Phaius tankervilleae, commonly known as the Nun’s Orchid, is distributed throughout northeastern Australia, southeastern Asia, and the Pacific Islands. It is also naturalized in many places in the tropics, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Florida and Hawaii. This introduced orchid has 2-8 plicate leaves similar to palm leaves and blooms in March through May. The inflorescence has 10-35 spectacular flowers that are 4-5 cm in size with an exterior color of white and interior of brownish purple. The purple pink lip is suffused with maroon and has a yellow spur. This species is a popular orchid in cultivation and has naturalized in several habitats, including dense swamps, bayheads and hardwood hammocks.

The conservation status of Phaius tankervilleae has not been determined.



Ecosystem Type

Bogs, forests, swamps, woodlands


Leaf arrangement:
Number of leaves on stem:
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is lobed
Main color of labellum:
  • blue to purple
  • green to brown
  • pink to red
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
  • the labellum has a spur
  • the labellum is lobed
Labellum length:
50 mm
Sepal length:
40–55 mm
Show All Characteristics

Native to North America


North American Conservation Status & Distribution

Conservation Status

Select a location to view conservation status:

Conservation and Wetland Status
Global Rank N/A
US Status N/A
Canadian Status N/A

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data