With more than 2,000 species, it is also one of the largest families of flowering plants, only surpassed by astragalus. This genus is abbreviated in trade journals as Bulb.
The type species is Bulbophyllum nutans.
The general characteristics of this generation are singular pseudobulbs, basal inflorescence and mobile lip.
This genus contains an incredible range of vegetative types, from tall plants with reed-like stems to climbers that wind or creep around tree trunks. Other members are hanging epiphytes, a large number have developed succulent leaves. Some species are lithofytic. A species is nearly leafless and uses the pseudobulbs for photosynthesis.
The flowers of many species of Bulbophyllum have a smell of rotting flesh to attract flies for pollination.
The upright or drooping inflorescence arises laterally from the base of the pseudobulb. The flowers can be very diverse: compound or simple, with few to many flowers, etc. .. The sepals and petals are also varied: straight or turned down, without handle or with a long claw at the base. There are two to four hard and waxy pollinia, with or without stipes. The fruits are capsules.
The scientific name is derived from the Latin word bulbus (bulb-like) and the Greek word phyllon (leaf), referring to the leaves that grow from the top of the pseudobulbs.
The center of diversity of this species is found in the forests of Papua New Guinea (more than 600 species), although the family is distributed around the globe in tropical regions.