Latin maxilla – jaw; an apparent allusion to the resemblance of the column and labellum to the jaws of an insect in some species.
Epiphytic, epilithic or rarely terrestrial herbs, sympodial, with long or short, creeping or ascending rhizomes. Stems thickened into large or small pseudobulbs, enclosed by papery bracts, green. Leaves apical, 1 or 2, thin to leathery. Inflorescences basal or from axils of sheaths along rhizome, 1 to several, erect. Flowers resupinate, solitary, small to large, variously coloured. Sepals similar, dorsal free, laterals fused to column foot forming a pouch. Petals usually smaller than sepals, free. Labellum entire or 3- lobed, hinged or base joined to column foot. Column long, erect, with a short foot. Pollinia 4, waxy.
About 300 species from Mexico to Brazil, 1 species in Florida.
Flowers solitary from base of pseudobulbs; petals smaller than sepals.
Source: (2005). Orchidaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.