With 2mm thick roots that are often aerial, Aeranthes arachnites has virtually no stem. This plant has pale green leaves with a wavy rim 30 cm long. Its inflorescences reach 40 cm in length and are often covered with bracts. The flowers are small and pale green in colour, they measure 5 cm long and 3 cm wide.
This epiphyte orchid is endemic to the Mascarenes and grows in intermediate and upland forests at higher altitudes. It is usually found in windy and exposed places, on moss and rocks.
Classified as a species of ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, it is protected under forest restoration projects. Its population, however, is on the decline due to habitat loss and the invasion of exotic species.
Arachnites is a Greek word for spider.
This species has a curious vernacular name in Mauritius, ‘orchidee poule’ or ‘chicken orchid’ because of the yellowish-colored floral appearance and resembles a chicken carcass
This orchid was recorded in Mauritius in1822 by Petit-Thouars.