We demonstrate, through separate and combined phylogenetic analyses of morphological characters, nucleotide sequences, and coded gaps of two DNA regions (plastid rpl32-trnL and nrDNA-ITS) using parsimony and Bayesian inference, that Lophiarella (Orchidaceae), as originally circumscribed, is polyphyletic. We re-circumscribe the genus to exclude one of the two species included in the original description and include two others, which requires two new combinations: Lophiarella splendida and Lophiarella flavovirens. As newly circumscribed, Lophiarella is strongly supported as a monophyletic assemblage within the Trichocentrum-clade, where it is sister to the (Cohniella, (Trichocentrum, Lophiaris)) clade. Lophiarella is easily diagnosable within the Trichocentrum-clade, among other characters, by the conduplicate yet rigidly fleshy-coriaceous leaves and the rigidly erect inflorescences with peduncles coated with a conspicuous, waxy film. In the context of a phylogenetic analysis, we discuss the evolution of several taxonomically, ecologically and biogeographically relevant characters, such as rostellum shape, vegetative architecture, labellum, and column structure. We also present a key to the genera of the Trichocentrum-clade and a taxonomic revision of the species of Lophiarella with keys, descriptions, nomenclature, iconography, discussion of affinities, ecological and biogeographical information, a distribution map, and full exsiccata citations.
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Vol. 38 • No. 1