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Terrestrial or epiphytic herbs with tuberous rhizomes, pseudostems up to 2 m tall. Leaves usually oblong-lanceolate. Inflorescence terminal spike, densely many-flowered. Bracts  imbricate or lax, 1 or more flowered, bracteoles tubular. Calyx tubular, split on one side. Corolla-tube subequal or exceeding bract, lobes rolled, drooping. Staminodes petaloid, usually subequal to corolla lobes, but wider. Labellum conspicuous, generally bilobed, base cuneate. Stamens  exserted, anther thecae free. Ovary trilocular, placentation axile, ovules many. Fruit capsule, globose or oblong, with lacerate aril, usually bright red.

Key to the species

Serial Key Reference
1a. Mature spike strobiliform; bracts more than 2 cm broad; labellum large, more than 4 cm broad H. coronarium
1b. Mature spike not strobiliform; bracts less than 2 cm broad; labellum small, less than 2.5 cm broad 2
2a. Spike very dense, rachis not visible H. thyrsiforme
2b. Spike moderately dense or lax, rachis visible 3
3a. Flowers red; labellum suborbicular, filament 4.1-4.7 mm long; leaves linear-lanceolate H. coccineum
3b. Flowers white or yellow; labellum other than suborbicular, filament 2.5-3.3 mm long; leaves narrowly lanceolate or lanceolate-oblong 4
4a. Leaves petiolate; glaucous beneath; corolla-tube c 20 mm long; staminodes lanceolate H. glaucum
4b. Leaves sessile or subsessile; glabrous or puberulous beneath; corolla-tube 22-37 mm long; staminodes linear H. gracile