Those orchids, formerly in the genus, Doritis, have now been reclassified by some botanical taxonomists as being Phalaenopsis, although in the trade, they are still frequently referred to as Doritis. Phalaenopsis, Doritis, whatever name is used for this group of orchids, they are characteristically small to medium sized orchids that closely resemble the foliage of other moth orchids. These monopodial plants have thick, oblong and stiff-textured leaves that are dark green on top and sometimes purple or burgundy on the underside. However, the flowers they bear differentiate them from other Phalaenopsis.
The flowers of Doritis have a very distinctive spear-shaped lip. In fact, botanist John Lindley may have alluded to this spear-like lip when he named this genus Doritis since the Greek word for spear is Dory. An alternate theory for the origin of the name is that it is a diminutive form of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, perhaps in reference to the charm of these flowers.
To further distinguish these species from the other Phalaenopsis, the lips of their flowers are three-lobed, where the middle lobes are larger with a slightly wavy margins. At the base of the lips and behind the two side lobes are two antennae. These species’ flowers also tend to be smaller than other Phalaenopsis blooms. They are usually no more than 1.5 inches (4 cm.) across, sometimes even smaller. The flowers frequently come in pastel colors and light to dark purple, and are borne in multiples along a bare, stiff spike emerging from a clump of leaves. Unlike other Phalaenopsis inflorescences that tend to gracefully arch, Doritis flower spikes are often stiff and erect as a result of their mostly terrestrial habitat. Note that most other Phalaenopsis are epiphytic.
These summer blooming orchids are natives of Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia, and Laos, and South Asia countries as well like Nepal, India and Sri Lanka. There are only a few species within this group, but they are frequently interbred with other Phalaenopsis species and hybrids to create thousands of hybrids frequently referred to as Doritaenopsis, a fabricated word that combines Doritis with Phalaenopis.